About 75% better than everyone said it was. As “Tank Girl” (her friends call her Rebecca), Lori Petty makes the most appealing and gutsy movie heroine in years. We’re in the 21st century, when the evil Water and Power conglomerate seeks to control what little water remains on Earth. With the help of partner Jet Girl (a pre-stardom Naomi Watts) and some kangaroo-human hybrids known as Rippers, Tank Girl faces off against WP bigwig Malcolm McDowell (who seems to have resigned himself to playing villains in sci-fi movies). The movie is hyperactive and generally a lot of fun, with a kick-ass soundtrack supervised by Courtney Love and imaginatively cluttered production design by Catherine Hardwicke (who later directed Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown and Twilight). Its failure at the box office has been attributed to the common wisdom that guys (who constitute a majority of ticket buyers) won’t go see movies with strong heroines. If that’s true, it’s a depressing sign; Tank Girl was more enjoyable than nine out of ten of its summer-of-’95 contemporaries, and it didn’t deserve its quick death. Apparently Tank Girl’s most formidable adversaries aren’t Water and Power but closed-minded guys in the 15-25 demographic. By all means, give it a shot on DVD. Based on the British comic book by Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett.