Life in the post-Twilight world is a bitch. Is this what we have to look forward to? Between the pathetic simpering lip-quivering of Bella Swan and the pathetic “I just need a man” idiocy of Valentine’s Day and He’s Just Not That Into You, we are seriously lacking in women for our young girls to emulate. I don’t have a daughter (thank fucking God), but if I did, I’d honestly never take her to the movies. She’ll end up either whimpering about finding a man to complete her, or flashing her cans in front of Joe Francis. That’s what it feels like.
No, I want a woman who kicks ass … literally. I want a daughter who’ll punch a guy in the wontons if he even contemplates treating her wrong. I want a woman like my wife — someone who is smart, acerbic as hell, funny, and takes no shit. And you’re just not getting that in movies very often (although I have high hopes for Hit Girl in the upcoming Kickass). Action movies have historically been pretty embarrassing in their portrayal of women — they whine, they stumble, they inevitably get captured. It’s completely unbalanced and pretty stupid, really. Is it so much to ask for an honest-to-goodness action heroine? No, you gotta go back a few years to find that. I’m not trying to make a statement about feminism or gender politics in films — I just like to see a woman kick a little ass now and then, same as the fellas do. The pickins have been slim these last few years, and when movies have tried it, it frequently fails… *cough*Underworld*cough*.
So with that said, I bring you some of the kick assiest, knock-your-shit-out women to be captured on film in the last few decades. This is film only, which is why Starbuck and Buffy don’t make the cut. Here are The Best Female Action Heroes:
(Honorable Mentions: Princess Leia — Star Wars, Wilma — Big Bad Mama, Yu Shu Lien — Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Bonnie Parker — Bonnie and Clyde, Fox — Wanted)
11. Elastigirl, The Incredibles: Do yourself a favor and don’t mess with her family. She’s got a wicked right cross, and she can hit you with it from around the corner and down the stairs. She can fly a plane, fight crime, and show up her super-strong husband. She doesn’t take crap from her kids, so she sure as hell isn’t gonna take it from anyone else. Plus, she’s got Holly Hunter’s accent which… whoo, boy.
10. Alabama Worley, True Romance: She stands by her man to the end. She’s got a voice like sugar, is absolutely adorable, and is not Florida white trash. ‘Bama is a little bit vulnerable, but as James Gandolfini’s hitman learned, don’t mistake her for some weaksauce country girl, or else you’ll find yourself with a toilet tank lid where your face should be. She likes roller coasters, walks on the beach, and shooting people if they threaten her and hers.
9. Zoe Bell, Death Proof: The case can be made for any of the trio that Stuntman Mike takes a homicidal shine to in Death Proof (not to mention Cherry Darling from Planet Terror), but Zoe Bell gets points for portraying herself, playing Ship’s Mast on the hood of of a 1970 Dodge Challenger, beating hell out of the bad guy, and pretty much looking like she could beat the hell out of all comers.
8. Trinity, The Matrix: Before the Wachowskis got drunk on their own brainjuice and botched the series, The Matrix was pretty damn impressive. Much of that was due to relative newcomer Carrie Ann Moss bullet-timing and kung-fu-ing her way through hordes of bad guys. She loves her man, but she was cracking virtual heads long before he came along. Really, it can all be summed up in two words:
7. Alice, Resident Evil: Let’s pretend the second two movies never happened, OK? The first Resident Evil is campy, ballsy fun, and Milla’s portrayal of the seemingly-delicate, but really dangerous Alice is a big part of it. She starts off seeming all confused and fragile, and the next thing you know she’s ripping up zombie hordes with relentless efficiency. She’s good with a gun, she will bust up a zombie Doberman without blinking, and she’ll look good doing it.
6. Zoë Washburne, Serenity: Wash is a good man, but he’s a lover not a fighter. Zoe, his lovely bride, is a lover and a fighter. In fact, she might be the best in the ‘verse. Guns, fists, whatever, she will knock you on your ass. She’s a soldier to the core — even after the unthinkable happens, she marches on, busting up Reavers like there were prizes inside their heads.
5. Nikita, La Femme Nikita: Forget about Point of No Return. Nikita is the real deal. Bridget Fonda managed to make the character seem like a misplaced lovesick romcom character. Anne Parillaud made her iconic, a brilliant, dangerous woman with nothing to lose and no fear. Is there anything scarier than an ex-junkie with a bad attitude, pinpoint accuracy and a hair trigger? I say no.
4. Samantha Caine, The Long Kiss Goodnight: Samantha, aka Charlie, is one screwed up woman. She can’t remember who she is, she doesn’t know how she got to where she is, and apparently she can kill a room full of people with her bare hands. She’s a loving mom, a loyal wife, and a borderline sociopath. I’m not the only one who finds that immensely appealing, right?
3. The Bride, Kill Bill Vol. I & II: The Bride don’t need no silly gun. She just needs a good blade and she’ll cut you something wicked. She’s got a thirst for vengeance the likes of which we’d never really seen before, cutting down everything and everyone in her path. Sure, she dresses like the Charlie Brown track team, but she also dispatched an entire army of ninja killers and a bunch of badasses dressed as snakes. What have you done?
2. Sarah Connor, Terminator 2: Judgment Day: She’s good with a nightstick or a gun. She’s faced her fears of Austrian super-robots and melty really super ones, and sure, it made her a little crazy. But she saved the goddamn world, and then when that got screwed up, she taught her kid to do it. Linda Hamilton was one of the baddest chicks we’ve ever seen on film, except of course for…
1. Ellen Ripley, Alien: Ripley. What’s left to say that hasn’t already been said? Ripley taught us all a valuable lesson — when rampaging through an burning space colony filled with murderous space aliens in order to find their gigantic and terrifying queen, it never hurts to bring two guns. In fact — fuck it, tape two together. In all seriousness, you want women like Ripley in your life. She’s smart and brave and she’ll destroy everything in her path to protect you. Even nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.