As the reviews for Zack Snyder's 'Sucker Punch' come rolling in (you can read Todd Gilchrist's take on it over here) the movie about a young girl who creates a fantasy world to escape from her dark reality got us thinking. Babydoll, played by Emily Browning, is the lead player whose sanity is in question. She empowers herself with a team of ass-kicking friends to help her find her way through things. Girl gangs who buck the system and take control aren't a new phenomenon, but as Moviefone's Gary Susman asked the other day, "Why aren't there more movies like this?"
It'd be an easy task to come up with a list of male-dominated movies where groups of guys bond through a shared experience -- some through the trauma and exhilaration of violence, and some that actually manage to be meaningful. The female spectrum of films like this does exist -- and while some revolve around a romantic plotline, others are just about a bunch of woman trying to find themselves and beating incredible odds to do it. Whether the gang arrives at that juncture through an exploitation, comedy, or documentary lens isn't as important as the journey. Here are seven films that take a variety of approaches and kick some serious ass along the way.
Before Angelina Jolie became part of the crypto-Hollywood nightmare known as Brangelina, she was the leader of the pack in 1996's 'Foxfire' based on the Joyce Carol Oates novel. Jolie plays Legs, a drifter who gets under the skin of a group of high school girls, some who are facing drug problems, abuse and bullying. The girls form a bond when they take the reigns after Legs encourages them to stand up to a teacher that's been sexually harassing them. They get suspended from school for several weeks after threatening to "snip his little nuts off with toenail clippers," and run wild in the woods, setting up a clubhouse in an abandoned cottage. Their bravado earns them a serious rep and helps other girls empower themselves too. It's a pretty over-wrought affair -- the part erotic, part ridiculous topless tattoo scene helps confirm that -- but the film presents some important girl-centric issues with lots of spirit and a healthy dose of romanticism (there are lots of candles, even).
On a less serious, but fun note there's Andrew Fleming's 'The Craft,' which follows four high school girls who transform their self-hatred, insecurity and conflict into something sexy-bitchy-cool by way of witchcraft. The racist popular girl, the jerky jock and the abusive dad all get what's coming to them when new girl Sarah rolls into town and hooks up with three awkward Catholic school students who claim to be witches. They need a fourth to summon the powers of Mother Nature and Sarah happens to be a "natural witch." The mojo is so strong that the girls get everything they ask for, x1000. Of course, things get a little loco. Also, there's nothing more kickass than watching Fairuza Balk's mouth open up like the Alien Queen during a feeding frenzy while she enacts her revenge. Jealous!
'Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!'
"Take away all the jokes, the elaborate camera angles, the violence, the action and the sex, and what remains is the quintessential Russ Meyer image: a towering woman with enormous breasts, who dominates all the men around her, demands sexual satisfaction and casts off men in the same way that, in mainstream sexual fantasies, men cast aside women."
'The Heroic Trio'
'Nine to Five'
'Hell on Wheels'