Toward the end of Geena Davis’ (and writer Shane Black’s) heyday, she kicked ass and, uh, forgot names as an amnesiac named Samantha … and Charly. Davis turns in essentially two superb performances and – surprisingly at the time – makes quite the action heroine, especially considering that she performed most of her own stunts.
Leave it to Quentin Tarantino to make a modern East-meets-West revenge masterpiece wherein the Hattori Hanzo sword-wielding GIRL is dishing revenge to the GUY. Kill Bill Vols. 1 & 2 are a welcome “f**k you” to the established rules of today that insist only males are capable of carrying an action movie. Also …
Resident Evil Franchise
There’s no denying that this videogame-turned-movie franchise has been hit-or-miss (and seems to get “misser” with each new installment), but if nothing else, they’ve been a lot of fun – thanks largely to our amnesia-suffering, gun-toting, martial arts-adept, zombie-killing heroine, Alice (Milla Jovovich). Oh, and the special effects.
The whole franchise (not including its recent reboot, but hopefully including Prometheus) is perhaps a little more sci-fi than straightforward action, but there’s no way to exclude Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley from a list like this. In fact, it’s fair to say that a lot of subsequent female-action roles might not exist – or be the same – without the integral alien-slaying character.
Angelina Jolie ushered in a new breed of female action movies (and her own superstardom) with Lara Croft: the videogame, or videogame-like, action heroine … with curves. It wasn’t perfect, by any stretch, but Tomb Raider was innocuous fun for the casual action fan and a wet dream come true for gamers and puberty-stricken boys (yes, we know that’s somewhat redundant).
Luc Besson knows a thing or two about crafting strong female characters with a proclivity for action, and this 1990 film – which has spawned subpar American TV-series/miniseries versions, the decent theatrical attempt Point of No Return, and more – is probably the best example.
We all know by now that Tarantino has a penchant for ass-kickin’ ladies (and their feet) – as was the case with his half of this underrated homage to grindhouse cinema in which Rosario Dawson, Tracie Thoms and, especially, stuntwoman Zoe Bell outrace a sadistic Kurt Russell and then proceed to beat the life out of him. But Robert Rodriguez’s offering, Planet Terror, features an undead-killing Rose McGowan, who has one of those machine-gun legs. ‘Nuff said.
Speak of the devil! Kate Beckinsale has only appeared in two of the three Underworld films thus far – she’s back for the fourth, as most people know – but the ones she has headlined have been more than passable vampire-action films. Of course, Beckinsale’s beauty, coupled with her character ’s penchant for all-leather attire, hasn’t hurt.