Women are generally referred to as the fairer sex to be associated with beauty, while the men are the stronger sex(apparently). With the plots of recent movie releases, it has been ingrained into the heads of the audiences that it is the hero who does all the action, while the heroine smiles prettily batting her eyelashes. Typically sexist isn’t it? Women have excelled in physical strength tests and performed well in endurance tests just as well as men, so why not as action heroes? With visionaries and coming of age stories, several scripts have shown the capacity of female characters to be the saviors, instead of the princess in distress. From beating up bad guys, to handling guns, female action heroes have made their mark and some of the best female action movie characters are.
10. Angels- Charlie s angels
Released in 2000, this action- comedy film was an adaptation of a television series of the same name. A huge box office hit, a sequel was made in 2003 called Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. Starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu as the movie is about three women called angels who work as private detectives for an investigation agency, owned by a person named Charlie who is a millionaire and communicates with the grls via a speaker in his office and his assistant Bosley. Beautiful and talented they have fighting skills to take on an army together. Each of the character has their own strengths and together they solve cases which come to them. Disguises, gadgets, plot twists and spy skills apart their fight sequences are a treat to watch.
9. Katniss Everdeen- Hunger Games
The movie that pushed Jennifer Lawrence into the limelight, Hunger Games was released in 2012 as a movie adaptation of the first of the best selling trilogy novels of the same name, written by Suzanne Collins. She received international recognition for her role as Katniss Everdeen and became one of the greatest action heroines of all time. Set in the future, the story talks of a society where there are twelve poor districts and a wealthy capitol who derive their entertainment from hosting the televised hunger games each year. 2 tributes are chosen from each district between the ages of 12 and 18, by a lottery ,who are then made to fight to the death in an arena till one survives to be the winner. Katniss protects her younger sister,who was chosen, by taking her place and becomes popular among the raters because of her excellent marksmanship and daring. Smart and likeable she uses the opportunities for public viewing during interviews to win over audiences. The arena is designed to be a forest and she uses her survival skills to escape from the members of district 1 who win each time. Using her brains as well as her skills, she outwits the other members and inspite of several unfavouring elments, she wins the game, alongside the other member from her district, Peeta in a rule changing event. She wins against all odds to not only win, but also forced the wealthy class to change the rule for her, proving that mettle and grit wins above all else.
With several versions of this iconic female hero, catwoman was was an enigma. A recurring character in the Batman DC comics , catwoman is shown to be an orphan who learns martial arts and trained to develop her skills in cat burglary. A grey character, she steals but only from gangsters and mobsters and is a love interest of Batman. The first movie starring catwoman came out in 1992 starring Michelle Pfeiffer as Selena Kyle aka catwoman in the movie batman returns. Set in gotham city, Selena here is shown to work as a secretary to shreck, the villain who kills her by throwing her from the window when she discovers his plot to take the city in his control. she is mysteriously brought to life by alley cats and develops special powers, and becomes a vigilante calling herself catwoman. Initially working against batman, they soon become allies and the movie follows their fight against the villain, penguin. In the movie catwoman starring halle berry, she suffers a similar fate getting killed by her employer and revived by a cat. In the movie franchise the dark knight rises, catwoman’srole is reprised by anne Hathaway and has the same background story as the one in the comic. though represented by different actors the character was the same – smart, lithe and an excellent fighter making her a great female hero.
7. Evelyn Salt- Salt
Who can ever forget this movie? The female version of James bond, Angelina Jolie’s character plays a spy with aplomb and it is not till the end that you realize whether she is a bad guy or a good guy. Working as an American spy in the CIA, she is outed during an interrogation she herself does,by a Russian defector to be a Russian spy in disguise who will assassinate Russian president Boris Mayveyev. She escapes, after being detained, to search for her husband, while pleading innocent to the cops on her tail. She goes to her Russian hideout where the Russian defector, her head tells her to complete the mission. With several twists and turns she plays the perfect spy, and in one of the scenes she actually disguises herself like a man for which she reputedly went on a liquid only diet to look convincing enough. The stunts are earth-defying and keep you biting your nails and it doesn’t lack in action throughout. Jumping off bridges, and climbing up roofs, Lots of gun toting violence, plot suspenses and schemes, Angelina Jolie makes for a formidable spy as Evelyn salt.
6. Alice- Resident Evil
A successful franchise, Resident evil spawned 5 movies, all on the shoulders of Alice, played by Milla Jovovich who showed her prowess as a fabulous fighter and killer. All movies went in a set order start off with an accident in a an experimental facility called the umbrella corporation which releases a virus called the t virus developed to make dead tissues alive thus turning people into zombies who can only respond to food hence hunting healthy people. It shows her war against the Umbrella corporation as they attempt to cover up this accident, first by destroying the facility, and then an entire city when it begins to spread eventually engulfing the entire world. She is experimented upon but the upside is the virus bonds with her to make her stronger and powerful, and the result is superb action and lots of zombie killing. With Guns, advanced weapons and zombies, who eventually evolve into more loathsome hybrids, Alice stands out as a force to behold, in one of the best action movie series.
5. Lara Croft- Tomb raiders
The movie that made Angelina Jolie not only an action hero, but also a sex symbol due to her ample curves and killer attitude, Tomb raider was made in two parts and derived it’s inspiration from the video game franchise. Angelina plays the character of Lara croft, a rich orphan having lost her father as a young child on one of his archaeological exploits. This smart tomb raider is shown to have achieved a reputation for her out of the box thinking and having immense knowledge about historical facts and events. The first movie is about a device developed 3000 years ago which was believed to stop and manipulate time, being pursued by the Illuminati, from which she protects the world. In the second movie her mission is to find the legendary Pandora’s Box before it is found by the bad guys to unleash a plague upon the world. Both movies show Lara’s amazing physical form. One on One combats, knife and gun fights, escaping traps while exploring caves, forts and mountains Indiana Jones style; she does it all with aplomb. The movies received a negative response but Jolie received praise for her performance.
4. Selene- Underworld
Long before twilight came up with the vampires vs. werewolves’ saga, Underworld showed this legend war with gory action sequences and amazing fights, thankfully without all the romantic drama. Kate Beckinsale plays a vampire named Selene in a world where vampires rule and werewolves called lycans, are wild in the forests. The undead have a monarchy system and she is pitted to be betrothed to one of the powerful vampires, till she learns of his association with a werewolf sect. She revives a vampire elder, Victor her mentor, only to learn that he was responsible for killing her family and turning her into a vampire. Hungry for revenge, she fights along with Michael, a human who is pitted to be a direct descendent of the father of all 3 races-werewolves, vampires and humans i.e. the Corvin family to go against the vampires and the lycans. The vampire world is dominated by men, yet Selene stands out at the strong, no-nonsense woman. She breaks the rules and goes against the powerful to do what’s right. Several powerful action scenes, usually shot in the dark make for an excellent watch and Selene steals the limelight with her lithe moves and action packed punches, establishing herself as an action hero.
4. Hit Girl- Kick Ass
A personal favourite this movie turns out to be completely different from what you expect. an adaptation of the comic book of the same name, it was released in 2010. The beginning of the movie makes it look like any run of the mill teenage story about an ordinary boy named Dave wanting to be a real life superhero which he attempts to accomplish by being a vigilante. He sets out by making a costume and calling himself Kick- Ass. Needless to say he gets beaten up but his efforts, which go viral, making him an online sensation, starting a masked vigilante trend. The real action starts with the entry of the character ‘Hit girl’ played by Chloë Grace Moretz. Ruthless and daring, she is absolutely smashing. And the surprise factor: she is only eleven! Mindy who takes on the identity of Hit girl is shown to be the daughter of ‘Big daddy’ an ex-cop, who trains her to become a killer to avenge his wife’s murder from the drug lord Frank D’Amico. With jaw dropping Action scenes, Hit girl definitely is he star of the movie and takes it to a whole new level. Practical and too old for her age, she shoots guns like she was born with them. Not even in her teens, this dangerous fighter brings down the entire drug proving herself to be an actual heroine.The sequel was released in 2013, amidst much anticipation and fanfare, and now 15 years old, she is all the more a Kick ass hero!
2. Beatrix Kiddo- Kill Bill
Made in two installments, this kick ass movie showed what a woman can do when challenged. With Uma Thurman as the lead protagonist, the movie revolves around her character referred to as “the Bride” named Beatrix kiddo whose one and only aim is to kill bill; her ex lover who killed her fiancé and left her for dead at her own wedding ceremony. With several flash backs to show her training in martial arts and her work as a part of an assassination team called the deadly viper assassination squad, her amazing skills are shown. Her team members included Bill, the leader and her ex-lover, Elle driver, a one eyed killer, Budd, bill’s younger brother, Verita Green and O-Ren Ishii. The first movie shows her waking up from a four year coma and tracking the other members of her gang to get to Bill. Her first mission becomes finding O-Ren who had by then become the queen of the Tokyo underworld. After a bloody fight sequence in a restaurant where Beatrix single handedly massacres her entire crime clan, she emerges victorious in a classic swordfight in the snow. She then tracks down the next member Verita and a great combat fight later she is killed too. In the second installment she kills the rest of the members and finally kills Bill in the end securing her vengeance. Never wavering from her mission and capable of fighting an entire army she was the best assasin and proves that they shouldn’t have messed with her.
1. Nikita-La femme Nikita
Played by Anne Parilaud, Nikita is the story of a teenage girl who robs a pharmacy, which turns into a gun fight with the local police. She is put in jail for having killed a police officer, after a trial sentencing her to imprisonment for life. Taken by the French intelligence agency after a faked death, she is trained to become an assassin and begins her life as a sleeper agent in Paris. One of the first female centric action movies, Nikita set a pretty high bar as a crazy, dramatic spy with excellent action sequences, and violent fights. The fact that it became a phenomenon can be gauged by the remake and two series that were made on Nikita.