The genre of action in movies is almost as old as the art form itself. Over the years, moviegoers have enjoyed fighting, rescuing, and chasing their favorite heroes. The glaring absence of women in such roles stems from Hollywood’s persistent tendency to relegate women to “traditional roles”.
They are rarely in charge of their own destiny or play a major role in the story. But there were exceptions. Over the years, a few female heroines on the big screen have been strong and armed with agency.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, we have listed 8 action heroines of this type.
1. Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley (Extraterrestrial)
Ridley Scott’s landmark in sci-fi horror movie Extraterrestrial (1979) is known as one of the best films of its genre. He’s pushed several boundaries, but his greatest achievement has to be to portray Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley. Unlike most of the main female characters of the 1970s, Ripley was smart, practical and ruthless, who knew what to do to counter the alien threat that was loose on the space tug Nostromo.
2. Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor (Terminator 2: Judgment Day)
Linda Hamilton is not the Hollywood idea of a traditionally attractive woman Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). In fact, it is far from delicate. But she fits the role of a mother struggling to save her son from a murderous and nearly indestructible robot from the future.
3. Milla Jovovich as Alice (Resident Evil franchise)
While most resident Evil movies can be unsatisfying, few can fault Milla Jovovich. Her work as the main protagonist Alice in the franchise is compelling. A character specially created for the movies (resident Evil the films are based on the video game franchise of the same name), Alice has guts and is relentless in her pursuit of goals.
4. Angelina Jolie (Tomb Raider and Salt)
Although not active as an actress like she used to be, Jolie is still one of Hollywood’s best 21st century action heroines. His work in the tomb Raider as Lara Croft or a fleeing sleeper agent in Salt speaks volumes about her ability to handle physically demanding roles. She will return to the genre with Marvel’s Eternals, which is slated for release next year.
5. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman (Wonder woman)
Long before Marvel Studios felt confident enough to let an actress title an MCU movie, Warner Bros. and DC delivered Wonder woman in 2017. In a dream cast, athletic Israeli actor Gal Gadot was recruited to play the lead role and, by extension, the world’s most popular and influential female superhero.
6. Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow (Marvel Cinematic Universe)
The only female among the OG Avengers, and also only one of the non-superpowered two, Scarlett Johansson left a lasting impression on audiences with her performance. And much can be attributed to his hand-to-hand combat and espionage abilities. Her performance was so well received that Natasha Romanoff or Black Widow became a staple of the Avengers.
7. Uma Thurman as The Bride (Kill Bill)
The bride is not only an iconic female character, but also one of the best action characters of all time. She is an incredibly lethal assassin with a whole range of abilities at her disposal. But what makes her such a classic character is her ability to be kind despite it. She is extremely human although she is almost superhuman. Thurman tried this role in both volumes of Kill Bill in 2003 and 2004.
8. Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Charlize Theron’s Furiosa is the very definition of strength with a tough disposition, rebellious streak and a caring heart. As a testament to George Miller’s direction and understated but brilliant writing, Furiosa is one of the few action movie heroines not written for the male gaze. Mad Max: Fury Road released in 2015 with rave reviews.
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