With the latest action movie from Luc Besson and EuropaCorp, ‘Enter The Warrior Gate’ coming soon, and as it features Ni Ni, a kick-ass woman with amazing skills in action, we thought we’d have a look at some of the most awesome women in action cinema. Women who are known for a wide variety of film roles, but who at least have that one big kick-ass action movie lead. So without further delay…
10. Maggie Q
Perhaps best known for starring in TV’s action-packed ‘Nikita’, Maggie Q is a woman of pure action. And not only does she prove it with ‘Nikita’, but also on the big screen. With ‘Mission: Impossible III’, she’s beautiful, smart and well able to defend herself when needed. But it’s ‘Live Free Or Die Hard’ where she gets to showcase her lethal fighting skills, as she hand John McLane’s ass to him. I’d never seen a woman beat the hell out of Bruce Willis before this movie. And what makes it so much badder is that she did it for real. She actually left Bruce with a brutal injury above his eye, due to a high kick in a high heel. Sexy, cool and extremely violent, Maggie Q is a true action star.
9. Demi Moore
My second-favorite woman in movies (Nicole Kidman takes first), Demi Moore has been setting audiences’ pulses racing for decades. From 80s classics like ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’ to starring alongside icons Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson in the perfect ‘A Few Good Men’, Demi herself has become an icon. In 1996, Demi would deliver two movies that sadly brought a somewhat halt to her career as a huge movie star… The sexy crime thriller ‘Striptease’ and the Ridley Scott feminist action movie ‘G.I. Jane’. However, not everyone was harsh upon both movies. While ‘Striptease’ ruled my teenage boy years and to this day means the world to me (I’ll review it soon), ‘G.I. Jane’ lands Demi a place on this list, alongside ‘Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. In ‘G.I. Jane’, Demi takes on a sexist platoon who deem her unworthy of being among their crew in the fields of war. So what does she do? Shaves her head, tells her abusive chief to suck her d*ick and then saves the men in her platoon from certain death. Pure girl power! Stunning action, great humor and real feminism. Demi delivers it all here. And then with ‘Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle’, she gets to play a dazzling ex-Angel determined to exact revenge against Charlie by killing his new team. Many women have the ability to showcase sex appeal and kick-ass brutality, but Demi is the Queen of it here, with that dark brooding voice, her perfect looks, and that spectacular finale. I wish she had done more action movies, but Demi is still one of my greatest screen loves, and she has proven she can more than handle herself in a fight.
8. Halle Berry
Although known to appear in many thrillers and action movies, Halle, the kick-ass superwoman, is unleashed in Jame Bond’s ‘Die Another Day’ and the ‘X-Men’ movies. While in ‘X-Men’, she is a lot of fun, and she certainly steals the show in the fantastic ‘Swordfish’, she has never kicked more butt than she does in ‘Die Another Day’. Her character Jinx is wonderful. Again, super-sexy and extremely funny, but with skills that even rival Pierce Brosnan’s Bond on screen, Halle is near unstoppable in the movie’s several action scenes, and delivers much of the excitement, thanks to her total awesomeness. Her fight with Rosamund Pike is sexy and vicious, one of the best fights between women in movies. Honorable mention goes to Rosamund too, for her awesome fighting skills in this movie, and for being wonderful alongside Tom Cruise in ‘Jack Reacher’.
7. Geena Davis
Anyone who lived through the 80s and 90s surely must have loved Geena Davis. ‘Beetlejuice’, ‘The Fly’, ‘A League Of Their Own’, ‘Stuart Little’ (All 3, but providing voice for animated 3rd movie) and the goofball cult classic ‘Earth Girls Are Easy’. And perhaps most loved for the iconic Ridley Scott smash hit ‘Thelma And Louise’. Geena has been a fabulous and exciting movie star through her wonderful career in cinema. It was 1995/1996 when this awesome woman finally got to show off her amazing action skills. First for the critically slammed but very brilliant ‘Cutthroat Island’ (Directed by her then husband Renny Harlin, one of the greatest directors in action movie history, with classics like ‘Die Hard 2’ and ‘Cliffhanger’ under his belt), where she plays a beautiful pirate hellbent on rescuing her father from her dastardly pirate uncle. Although the movie bombed at the box office, and from well known stories was a troubled shoot, the finished product in my opinion is a joy. Filled with action, excitement and Geena on top ass-kicking form, ‘Cutthroat Island’ is an absolute blockbuster to behold. But things only got better for Geena when she once again teamed up with her then-husband Harlin for the magnifcent ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight’, co-starring Samuel L. Jackson. Geena stars as Charly an assassin with amnesia who is suddenly thrown back into her old life after a car accident. Now protecting her daughter, Charly, has become her new assignment, and she won’t go down with one hell of a fight. Geena Davis is a great movie star, no doubt, but ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight’ is her at her very best. And that movie easily earns her a spot in this list.
6. Milla Jovovich
Known for many movies, including ‘The Fifth Element’ and ‘Joan Of Arc’, Milla Jovovich was already invloved in action cinema. But it was ‘Resident Evil’ that proved to be her masterpiece. Lethal, sexy and very cool, Milla kicked zombie ass like there was no tomorrow in the first movie. And she carried on kicking ass for five sequels. Although quality varies in the Resident Evil franchise, both the first two movies are magnifcent action horror movies, and remain Milla at her best. And after a decline in the series with the third and fourth entry, the fifth returned the series to a great standard of fun. I’m looking forward to checking out six very soon.
5. Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie is a big name in female action cinema, thanks to her many roles in epic action movies like ‘Gone In Sixty Seconds’ and ‘Wanted’. But her performance as Lara Croft in ‘Lara Croft: Tomb Raider’ and its sequel made her an action icon, showcasing her beauty and fighting skills in equal measure, as she explodes through a series of dazzling action scenes. Although ‘The Cradle Of Life’ didn’t quite capture her the way the first did, Angelina is wonderful in both movies, and they serve her very well to this day. It’s a great shame there was a third movie. Also to her credit is one of the finest thrillers ever made, ‘The Bone Collector’, where she stars alongside Denzel Washington. Angelina Jolie is a bona fide movie star.
4. Sigourney Weaver
With an array of classic movies under her belt, such as ‘Ghostbusters’ 1 and 2. ‘Gorillas In The Mist’, the cult classic ‘Galaxy Quest’ and of course ‘Avatar’. But it’s her role as Ellen Ripley in ‘Alien’ that will define her forever. Although ass-kicking is kept to a bare minimum in the first movie, it’s ‘Aliens’ where Sigourney Weaver delivers her most incredible and iconic performance. Starring with a wonderful cast including the late great Bill Paxton (We’ll miss you forever, Bill, thanks for the great memories!), Michael Biehn and Lance Henriksen, Sigourney delivers a level of action rarely seen by a woman on screen up to that time, taking on a hoard of acid-filled aliens with a grenade rifle, a power lifter and the immortal “Get away from her you BITCH!”. With a franchise now spawning six movies (Sigourney stars in the first four) and two spin-offs (The disappointing ‘Alien Vs. Predator’, and the absolutely glorious ‘Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem’ which was directly inspired by ‘Aliens’), the Alien saga has been a cornerstone in sci-fi cinema for decades, and there’s no greater reason than ‘Aliens’, which not only delivers powerful James Cameron action and excitement, but also a treasured performance from one of cinema’s greatest women.
3. Kate Beckinsale
Kate Beckinsale is tall, British and extremely beautiful. And those qualities have made her a go-to star in Hollywood. Who doesn’t love a tall, British, extremely beautiful woman? And while Kate has had a stunning career, starring in the magnificent ‘Pearl Harbor’ (Directed by Michael Bay), the cracking horror thriller ‘Vacancy’, the Oscar-winning Martin Scorsese epic ‘The Aviator’ and the fantastic Adam Sandler movie ‘Click’, it’s her love of beating up the bad guys (And sometimes the good) that has made her the wonderful star that she is. Starring as super sexy vampire and vampire slayer Selene in ‘Underworld’ made Kate Beckinsale a household name and an icon in female-centric action cinema. Starring in four movies as Selene, Kate has served up some of the most awesome fighting scenes and death-defying stunts in recent years, handing vampires their eviction notices by way of ass-whupping. The first two movies are stunning, absolutely stunning. Showcasing Kate as thrilling, super cool and sexy as hell, it was no surprise that after a short break (In which ‘Rise Of The Lycans’ was made, and another honorable mention must go to Rhona Mitra, for being awesome in that, and far more awesome in the bloody spectacular British action horror ‘Doomsday’, which I’ll review soon!), she would return for two more movies in the series. I’ve yet to see the fourth, but ‘Underworld: Awakening’ lives on in my memory as some of the best fun I’ve had at the cinema. Kate Beckinsale’s kick-ass skills don’t end there though. She slayed even more vampire ass alongside Hugh Jackman in the criminally underrated ‘Van Helsing’. I think I love her even more in ‘Van Helsing’ that I do in ‘Underworld’. That fantastic Transylvanian accent, that costume, and of course those dazzling fighting skills once again coming to save the day. What a woman! And if that wasn’t enough, she then plays a leading villain in the fantastic new version of ‘Total Recall’, where she hunts Colin Farrell endlessly through a series of incredible and urgent action sequences, spitting venom as she goes. She is easily the true star of that movie. And then to cap off this portion, the wonderful ‘Whiteout’, a scary action thriller set in Antarctica, with Kate playing a U.S. Marshal who investigates a brutal murder in the uninhabitable land, only to find herself running from the mysterious killer. Kate Beckinsale is wonderful. I’m a huge fan.
2. Pam Grier
The queen of blaxploitation cinema, Pam Grier has been an important name in black cinema for almost five decades. Known for starring in many fun sexy action movies like ‘Foxy Brown’ and ‘Coffy’, Pam has always been a terrific movie star. For me, she came to my notice for the perfect Quentin Tarantino classic ‘Jackie Brown’. Sassy, cool and very funny, Pam made ‘Jackie Brown’ the wonderful movie that it is. And in my opinion, it remains Tarantino’s finest movie, being perfectly told, without use of gimmicks or any of the unusual editing or storytelling that fill his other movies. ‘Jackie Brown’ is a straight-through gem. And my favorite performance from Pam Grier. She also brings a lot of fun to Tim Burton’s insane and joyous ‘Mars Attacks!’.
1. Kristanna Loken
Although the numbers on this list are primarily to keep track of entries, rather than signify any order of preference, I have kept Kristanna Loken for last due to one very important fact… She kicked Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ass. The greatest man in action cinema has his ass handed to him more than once in the very wonderful ‘Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines’ (One of my all-time favorite movies, and favorite of the Terminator franchise) by the Terminatrix (T-X for short). The mighty Arnie is no stranger to being beaten up on screen by a woman… Sharon Stone did a decent job of it in ‘Total Recall’ (The role Kate Beckinsale plays in the remake). But no one does it like Kristanna. So I’ve kept her for last. With a great stake in action cinema, starring in several action movies, this awesome woman is the perfect example of a kick-ass action star. And while she lays the world to waste in Rise Of The Machines as the deadly and awesome T-X, she’s also spectacular in ‘Bloodrayne’, a movie based on the video game of the same name. Intensely sexy and cool, ‘Bloodrayne’ is a perfect vehicle for Kristanna, giving her the same edge that Kate Beckinsale had in ‘Van Helsing’, with stunning costumes, a great backstory and plenty of fantastic fight sequences. As a man with a deep love of action cinema and awesome beautiful women, Kristanna Loken means more to me than I could sum up in one paragraph. For not only T-X and Bloodrayne (And also appearing in the TV series of ‘Mortal Kombat’, where she kicked even MORE ass!), and her fantastic appearance in the brilliant TV show ‘The L Word’, and her action TV series ‘Painkiller Jane’. among many other brilliant projects, but also her beautiful personality and the way she treats her fans. Kristanna is a queen of action cinema, and she remains a major reason why ‘Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines’ is among my most treasured movies.
Don’t forget to check out ‘Enter The Warriors Gate’ to see even more awesome women kicking ass.