The espionage thriller Salt starring Angelina Jolie opened this weekend, and like so many other women out there, I was holding my breath that this time Jolie would show that when it comes to action, it doesn't matter if it's a man or woman, it only matters that they can kick some serious a**. So judging by some of the reviews (you can see Eric's take here), the movie may not be a surefire hit, but sisters, we may be able to stop holding our breath because Jolie could still do the impossible: she could be the head of the first female-led action franchise.
There is nothing more satisfying to me as a female moviegoer than to watch a fellow sister clean house. If movies are wish fulfillment, then growing up in a culture where I've been told I'm not as strong or as my male counterparts, the image of a woman who is smart and resourceful, and doing a little physical damage is a dream come true.
Recently, Wired Magazine put together a list of the 'Female Ass Kickers' that are near and dear to the heart of any geek, and it's a pretty comprehensive list of ladies. But I started to think about some of the other kinds of movies that contain some pretty cool chicks that don't reside (solely) in the 'geek ghetto'. So even though every big-screen tough girl owes a debt to Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley, I looked a little further to find the women who have wowed me by being some of the biggest bad-a**es around -- so let's get started...
Carrie Anne Moss as Trinity in The Matrix
Within the first 15 minutes of The Matrix I was in love. Not with Keanu, although I'll always have a soft spot for Mr. Reeves, no I had a full blown girl-crush on the Kung-fu hacker by the name of Trinity. In the story of A.I. gone mad and bullet-time, Trinity was much more than just a hot chick in latex, she was Neo's equal (and maybe even a little cooler). So I don't care what anyone says, when it comes to The Wachowskis sci-fi trilogy, Neo may have been 'The One' but Trinity was 'The Man'.
Mélanie Laurent as Shosanna in Inglourious Basterds
Very rarely in film do you see a woman partake in what I call 'going down in a blaze of glory'. Whether this is because that ''die with your boots on" mentality doesn't come naturally to women, or it's because we've been told that good girls don't do that kind of thing, I'm not entirely sure. But in Inglourious Basterds the 'rules' about women went right out the window and Shosanna's cinematic revenge was just about the best things in that entire movie -- although a close second was the makeup/warpaint routine on Shosanna's big night.
Ellen Page as Hayley Stark in Hard Candy
Who would have thought that Ellen Page would become the sweet and lovable pregnant teen Juno after we saw her torture a grown man (psychologically and physically) in David Slade's 2005 thriller, Hard Candy? Sure, she may not spend the movie smacking Patrick Wilson around, but that doesn't matter, because sometimes it's not about the muscles. Instead, Page's turn as the avenging Haley earned her a spot because she's the only gal on this list who manages to be kind of adorable and terrifying at the same time.
Uma Thurman as The Bride in Kill Bill Vol. 1
Quentin Tarantino has always been credited with creating strong women in his movies -- after all, he's the only writer/director to earn two spots on my list. But one of his finest creations (along with Miss Laurent) was the avenging Samurai/Cowboy, The Bride, in Kill Bill. Call me a uncivilized if you want to, but I love a good revenge flick. There is just something so satisfying about watching the bad guys get what they deserve, and when Beatrix Kiddo (aka The Bride) walks in to take on O-Ren Ishii and The Crazy 88, that's exactly what they get.
Michelle Yeoh as Yu Shu Lien in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
If it's possible to be a lady and still kick major a** at the same time; Michelle Yeoh is by far the patron saint of this quality. The former beauty queen and professional dancer made her name in martial arts films like Tai Chi Master and The Heroic Trio before showing up James Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies, and according to movie legend is the only person that Jackie Chan thinks could clean his clock.
Leave your favorite ladies who kick big-screen butt in the comments below...