This week's Total Recall sees the coupling of two of Hollywood's biggest female badasses: Jessica Biel and Kate Beckinsale. The former has clocked plenty of time roughing up bad guys in movies like Blade Trinity and A-Team, while Beckinsale has made a career out of her vampire hunting franchise Underworld. Recruiting them both — and pitting them against each other — for one big sci-fi showdown is an action fan's dream come true. As if women don't get enough time to shine in the action genre, suddenly we get two buttkickers for the price of one.
To bide some time before Total Recall's fight of the leading ladies, Hollywood.com has compiled some of the biggest female ass kickers in movies. The only distress these damsels are experiencing is the sweat they breaking after taking down their enemies:
Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) from Haywire
Getting physically close to Channing Tatum and Michael Fassbender is something most woman can only dream of. Of course, in those dreams, we're probably not kicking their asses into oblivion. In 2011s action thriller, mixed martial arts fighter turned actress Gina Carano played Mallory Kane (man, even her name was badass) a highly trained, lethal operative who must go up against those who have betrayed her. And man, did those fellas (which also included the likes of Ewan McGregor and Antonio Banderas) pay the price dearly. Not only did Carano's background make the thrilling fight sequences look authentic (and damn painful) but she managed to look stunning doing it. Eat your heart out, guys. The only disappointing thing about Carano and Haywire? The box office disappointment likely won't get the multiple-sequel lady Bourne franchise it so richly deserves.
The Bride (Uma Thurman) from Kill Bill
Unnamed (until the denouement), unforgettable, and seemingly unkillable, Uma Thurman's The Bride in Kill Bill Volumes 1&2 is the definition of badass. While she is directly responsible for the deaths of dozens of gangsters and assassins, it is The Bride's will to survive that makes her so truly kick-ass. She survives a shot to the head, a coma, rape, multiple instances of hand-to-hand combat, and — in one of cinema's most claustrophobic scenes — being buried alive. The Bride's ability to rise up, brush the dirt off her shoulders (literally), and fulfill her mission to avenge her daughter is about as close to superhuman, and superawesome, a girl without superpowers can get.
Diana Guzman (Michelle Rodriguez) from Girlfight
Some kick ass ladies save the world, some just beat the poo out of their enemies for revenge. A select few, like Diana in Girlfight, punch the living daylights out of their adversaries just to earn a buck. An aggressive teen still dealing with her mother's death, Diana focuses her aggression towards the world of boxing — much to her father's dismay. There she takes down boxers of both genders while learning a thing or two about life. The good kind of fighting!
Miss Scarlet (Lesley Ann Warren) from Clue
Sure, she gets arrested in the end for committing six murders in the space of an evening, but there is something seriously kick ass about Clue's killer-in-chief Miss Scarlet. First of all, she runs an espionage ring out of her brothel which, if the world had relaxed morals, would be pretty much the coolest job of all time. And then she manages to off all of her accomplices in a creepy old house without anyone knowing for hours which takes the guile of a genius and the quietness of a cat. Let's not forget that, like most butt kicking ladies in the movies, she really has a way with a revolver. ("I am your singing telegram." Bang!) If only she wasn't taken down by her truly terrible math skills. After all who could figure out two plus one plus two plus one plus one....CRASH!
Ridley (Sigourney Weaver) from the Alien films
It takes a good amount of poise, knowhow, and agility to defeat a carnivorous killing machine that has wiped out every last one of your coworkers. In Ridley Scott’s original masterpiece Alien, Sigourney Weaver played Lt. Ripley with an exceptional degree of heroism. Alone, she faced and defeated the titular beast who was out to destroy her (and her cat) after having taken down the rest of her crew. But the talented Miss Ripley was too smart, too skilled, too monumentally badass to let some narrow-minded (and -faced) extraterrestrial take her down.
Who else earns their place in the pantheon of female ass-kickers?
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[Photo Credit: Sony Pictures, Relativity, Miramax, Screen Gems, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox]
Female Ass Kickers
Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.