Film critic Susan Granger reviews the new movie, "Mad Max: Fury Road."

Wow! Director/writer/producer George Miller's post-apocalyptic action adventure is a blast!

While wearily haunted ex-cop Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) is the titular hero, hunted in the toxic, dystopian Wasteland, Charlize Theron delivers a powerhouse performance as Imperator Furiosa, the most exciting sci-fi protagonist since Ellen Ripley ("Alien").

As George Miller explains, "What looks like testosterone-fueled summer escape is actually a badass feminist action flick. The men do the damage, but the women restore humanity."

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Furiosa is a War Rig operator who's determined to wreak revenge for her past suffering by smuggling the prized Five Wives (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keogh, Zoe Kravitz, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton) of the tyrannical warlord, Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), to safety in the Green Place.

They've been enslaved in the Citadel to breed and provide breast milk to the white-painted, tattooed troops, aka War Boys (including Nicolas Hoult), who dream of an idyllic afterlife in Valhalla.

Since both Max and Furiosa are pursued by Immortan Joe and his crazed son, Corpus Colossus (Quentin Kenihan), they reluctantly team up for mutual survival, battling the Gas Town thugs and Bullet Farmer gang, along with the underground Buzzard tribe and the stealthy Rock Riders.

British actor Hardy ("The Dark Knight Rises," "Locke") and Theron (Oscar-winner for "Monster," "Prometheus") are dynamite together, wreaking spectacular vehicular vengeance.

Back in 1979, Miller created iconic Mad Max, catapulting Mel Gibson to stardom as the righteous, leather-jacketed nomad. But its allegorical antecedents go back to classic Greek mythology (Odysseus), Westerns ("The Man With No Name"), even "Star Wars' " Han Solo.

"One of the ideas that drove `Mad Max,' and drives `Fury Road,' was Alfred Hitchcock's notion about making films that can be watched anywhere in the world without subtitles," Miller says, explaining how his production team used music to viscerally propel the plot. Miller also recruited playwright Eve Ensler ("Vagina Diaries") to authenticate the depiction of vulnerable, abused women.

FYI: With her bright red hair, it's easy to spot Riley Keough, who is Elvis Presley's granddaughter.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Mad Max: Fury Road" is an assaultive, intense 8, delivering an outrageously relentless adrenaline rush.

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