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?
Jessica Biel on 'Total Recall': 'It Is F**king Huge'
The Best Female Action Movies
'Total Recall': Hollywood.com Resurfaces Memories of a Visit to the Set
[Photo Credit: Sony Pictures, Relativity, Miramax, Screen Gems, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox]
Female Ass Kickers
If no one kills themselves while watching Little Fockers this weekend it will be a Christmas miracle. Sure there have been some bad films so far this year but none will make you long for the merciful touch of the Grim Reaper upon your shoulder like the latest entrant in the Meet the Parents saga. And this is coming from someone who actually enjoys the original film (and reluctantly tolerates the second).
Looking on the sunny side of things however at least Little Fockers is the best alien invasion film of 2010. I mean that is the narrative here right? Pod people have taken over the lives of the Fockers and the Byrnes replacing their once moderately charming attempts at bumbling-based comedy with some kind of extra-terrestrial anti-comedy designed to test the patience of normal human beings. That's the only rational defense of the film I can think of. Surely no one who actually lives on planet Earth thinks that you can fashion a complete motion picture — particularly one starring Robert De Niro Ben Stiller Teri Polo Blythe Danner Owen Wilson Harvey Keitel Laura Dern and yes even Jessica Alba — out of nothing but a chain that interlinks the most face-palming no-one-acts-like-that misunderstandings possible with repeated fart barf and penis humor.
Grandpa Jack (De Niro) is getting to be an old man so he tells son-in-law Gaylord Focker that he needs to take over as the Godfocker. This piece of information is the alien code word that turns the previously-normal Gaylord into Pod Person Gaylord. He instantly begins to act out of character deciding for no clear reason that his twin five-year olds who have a fast-approaching birthday must now attend a prestigious private school that is way out of the family's budget. Pod Gaylord then decides to give in to pharmaceutical representative Jessica Alba's flirting and become a spokesperson for an erectile dysfunction drug.
Meanwhile Owen Wilson has re-entered the lives of the Fockers as Pod Kevin a world-travelling philosophically-confused twit whom everyone worships for no apparent reason. Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman are back as well as Roz and Bernie Focker with the former now being the host of a talk show about sex toys and the latter suffering from a bout of "manopause" that finds him in Spain learning to be a World Class flamenco dancer. How does the re-integration of these three characters pay off exactly? Well Grandpa Jack wants to convince his daughter and happily married mother of his two grandchildren to divorce Pod Gaylord and marry Pod Kevin. Pod Roz's free-spirited theories about sex result in Pod Grandpa Jack getting an erection for five-and-a-half hours (and don't think for a second you'll be spared the image of an erect penis in Robert De Niro's pants). As for Bernie Focker ... well that one's tricky. As near as I can tell the only reason his character is conceived as being obsessed with the flamenco is so he can later inexplicably dance with a jiggly bra-clad Jessica Alba for approximately six seconds.
I'd apologize for that being a poor summary of the premise of Little Fockers but it's sadly an incredibly accurate one. There's no plot here. It's just a collection of scenes that ineptly fit together solely because they have the same people in them. And if this material is what passes for a feature film I cannot even fathom what the deleted scenes on the DVD will look like.
The crime here isn't even the bad (and often childish) jokes it's that all of the adults involved appear to have suddenly forgotten how to tell jokes at all. Words just tumble out of the actors' mouths never ever finding purchase with the audience. But that's okay because as soon as one gag arrives stillborn director Paul Weitz (who is taking over for previous series auteur Jay Roach) and screenwriters John Hamburg and Larry Stuckey will break their necks trying to turn their attention to the next bit of hilarity. And the most astounding thing — the clincher that will make you want to stick a gun in your mouth — is that despite running from scene-to-scene as fast as possible Little Fockers feels like it's never going to end. You may think that it'll be passable light entertainment at just 98 minutes but you dangerously forget that these are 98 minutes of alien anti-comedy which equate to over 9000 minutes of human failure.
Attractive college co-ed Casey (Odette Yustman) finds herself the target of the diabolical Dybbuk a spirit which has bided its time since her birth to make its nefarious presence known. Is it perhaps a manifestation of her twin brother who died in the womb all those years ago? Since dear old Dad (James Remar) is away on business -- seemingly for the entire length of the movie -- concerned Casey seeks answers from Sofi Kozma (Jane Alexander) a survivor of the Holocaust who may hold the key to Casey’s past. Needless to say those to whom Casey confides her fears often find themselves in danger of being offed in gruesome fashion. (Misery may love company but the Dybbuk doesn’t.) In a last-ditch effort to rid herself of the evil spirit Casey turns to Rabbi Sendak (Gary Oldman) who finally agrees to perform an exorcism after he too sees the signs. Aside from acting terrified (and looking good doing it) Yustman (Cloverfield) is totally at the mercy of the story which shows little mercy when it comes to providing any concrete (or even shaky) answers to the questions it raises. She’s attractive but there’s not much else to the character. As Casey’s respective boyfriend and best friend Cam Gigandet (Twilight) and Meagan Good (Saw V) are merely functionaries offering the typical mixture of skepticism and support before learning for themselves -- too late of course! -- that maybe Casey’s suspicions have validity. Adding a (misplaced?) touch of class to the proceedings are Oldman who doesn’t embarrass himself and Alexander who isn’t so fortunate. It’s also a wonder why Carla Gugino seen occasionally in flashback as Casey’s deceased mother even bothered. It’s a nothing role which might explain why the actress has no billing other than in the end credits. There’s no question that writer/director David S. Goyer has a deep love and appreciation for horror and science-fiction given his previous credits which include the scripts for Dark City Blade and The Dark Knight but as a director his work (which includes Blade: Trinity and last year’s The Invisible) leaves much to be desired. There are some good ideas here and some individual scenes are reasonably effective but the parts don’t add up to a satisfactory whole. The Unborn suffers from a botched delivery.