[Pickainment] The action hero genre is the stuff male fantasies are made of; skilled brute force, rewarded heroism and loads of damsels in distress. Suddenly the ungrateful damsels decided to stand up and save the clichéd male heroes.
Females showed they could be self-reliant, kick butt and look good doing it. Whatever did they need men for?
The female action hero was an emasculating nightmare some men needed time to swallow. The tide slowly turned negating the abnormality of females as film action heroes and rewarding audiences with some of the most iconic and unique action heroines of all time. These ladies broke beyond female empowerment and into the realm of action hero legends.
10. Aeon Flux
Played by Charlize Theron in Aeon Flux (2005)
For the film version, this scantily clad double agent from the future opts for more conservative attire. Gone are the criss-crossed strips of leather she donned in the original 1991 MTV animated series and more functional, full-length spandex suites are introduced for the film. Even though there is far less skin showing, Charlize Theron does no less justice to this agile, acrobatic heroine. Flux is one of the most beguiling, imaginative and limber female heroines to date. She expertly maneuvers through death-defying mazes like no other. Plus, the love-hate relationship with Trevor Goodchild creates an added spark to an already tantalizing heroine.
Played by Kate Beckinsale in Underworld (2003)
Selene is a latex and leather clad, death-dealing vampire whose hobbies include exterminating lycan and expertly flipping off of high ledges. This vamp goddess, with luminescent ice blue eyes and perfectly pale skin, has an inquisitive nature which gets her into several high-stakes situations her adroit warrior skills always get her out of. Her enemies can suck on that.
Played by Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)
This heroine was born of a video game and became an immediate fan favorite spawning several sequels. A genetically enhanced victim of the Umbrella Corporation, Alice wakes to finds Raccoon City populated by flesh-eating zombies and flashbacks of what has come to pass. Alice’s tenacious pursuit of killing zombies, while unmasking the evil corporation pulling the puppet strings, is a testament to her mass appeal. Besides, who else could make hospital gowns, head stitches and a wrecked, choppy, half-shaven head of hair look so good?
Played by Anne Parillaud in La Femme Nikita (1990)
The appeal of Nikita as an epic action heroine isn’t simply because she’s a law-breaking tough-girl turned stealth, government killing machine. The real appeal lies in her romantic hopefulness and emotional vulnerability. Although riddled with emotional turmoil, she still holds out for a sense of normalcy. La Femme Nikita inspired a plethora of creative projects in its wake, including a remake for U.S. audiences starring Bridget Fonda, Alias, the TV hit starring Jennifer Garner, and two TV series named after the original film.
6. Ellen Ripley
Played by Sigourney Weaver in Aliens (1986)
Before Will Smith came along in Independence Day, Ellen Ripley had become a pro at battling disagreeable aliens. In this sequel to Alien, Ripley masters the art of flame throwers, automatic weapons and destroying slimy aliens. Meanwhile, she maintains her motherly instincts in the course of her career shift from astronaut to alien assassin. Ripley proves that being tender, intelligent and tough are not mutually exclusive attributes.
5. The Bride
Played by Uma Thurman in Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)
The Bride, betrayed by her former lover Bill and her assassin squad, wakes from a coma and goes on a revenge-fueled killing spree. In one savage battle after the next, The Bride embodies William Congreve’s immortal words that “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned / Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.” One might wonder if the uniform for a woman scorned is a bumble bee inspired ensemble.