When you think of great Action Movie Heroines, Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley (Aliens) immediately comes to mind. Or Linda Hamilton in Terminator and T2. Angelina Jolie has had quite a few moments of action-movie kickassery, herself: Wanted, Mr. and Mrs. Smith and even Tomb Raider, if you want to count those. Anybody see Salt? I thought at one point she was going to break off her damn arm and beat someone with it. You also think of Michelle Yeaoh in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or maybe Milla Jovovich in the Resident Evil movies. She knew how to wield a gun. If you want to go the under-appreciated route, remind yourself of Geena Davis in A Long Kiss Goodnight. Now, that’s a woman who could f*ck you up.
Indeed, the above women knew how to take care of themselves, use a weapon when needed, and dispatch of the enemy with bloody aplomb. On the other hand, the five action heroines in the slide show below? They were completely useless, a disgrace to the action-movie heroine movement.
Daredevil’s Elektra: Hey, great job, Elektra! Not only do you try to kill your boyfriend because you are under the mistaken belief that he killed your father, but when you actually do get a chance to kill the man who killed your father, Bullseye, you botch that up, too, and get yourself killed in the process. So, not only do you leave Daredevil without a girlfriend, now he has to fend off Bullseye all by himself, which is not exactly an easy feat for a blind g*ddamn lawyer. Way to leave the guy in a lurch. But hey! A+ for incompetence.
Catwoman: How pointless were you, Catwoman? You start out as a timid doormat, and then you find these mystical powers and barely do anything with them? How many people did you actually save with your so-called vigilante justice? Does Catwoman try to make change on a grand scale? No. Does she try to stop someone from world domination? No. What does she do? She goes after a woman who killed her husband. Big effin’ deal. That’s ambition, for you. And then, when she finally does confront the lead villain, Laurel Hedare, does she actually kill her? No. Not really. Did she save Laurel’s life, at least? No. Basically, Catwoman let her Laurel kill herself over vanity. Some savior you are, Cat lady. You can’t even properly save the woman you were trying to kill.
June Havens, Knight and Day: Have you seen this movie? June Havens is like the anti-action heroine. All she does is get in the g*ddamn way. From the beginning of the movie — when she gets on a plane she had no business being on — to the half a dozen moments where she nearly gets Roy Miller (Tom Cruise) killed because she screams at inappropriate times, uses her cell phone while they’re in hiding, reveals their whereabouts to half a dozen villains, squeals when she shoots a gun, screams when he shoots a gun, refuses to listen to directions, and — in the end — even turns Roy Miller over to the bad guy because she thought she saw him making the moves on another woman. Pathetic. Way to take charge there, lady. If it weren’t for Roy being forced to rescue June from her own stupidity time and time again, Knight and Day would’ve been a 12-minute movie. It would’ve been considerably better, too.
Ultraviolet’s Violet: OK, let me get this straight. There’s a worldwide epidemic of vampire-like creatures, all of whom die within 12 years of being infected. What does Violet do? Does she kill the people responsible for the epidemic? No. She runs around for an hour and a half trying to protect a kid who may or may not hold the key to the cure.
Does she actually save the kid? No, not even. The kid dies. She let the damn kid die. Oh sure, Violet brought him back to life — with her $%#($# tears — but a more useful action-movie heroine wouldn’t have let him die in the first place, amiright? And besides, we don’t even know if the kid does end up holding the key to curing the epidemic. It’s just theorized that he might. Big deal. I might solve world peace someday, but I sure as hell hope that Violet is not put in charge of my protection because I don’t want to risk finding out that her tears won’t work to bring me back to life after she allows me to die in the first place. No thanks.
Mona Sax in Max Payne: Natasha Sax is supposed to be some dangerous Russian assassin or something. I mean, I guess. But first of all, she lets her twin sister, Natasha, be killed. Second of all, she ends up wrongly blaming Max for her sister’s death. Third, when Max finally convinces her it wasn’t him, does Mona go out and avenge her sister’s death by herself like a proper action heroine? Hell no. The Russian assassin drags along Max Payne and makes him do all the heavy lifting while she “assists” (i.e., stands around in thigh-high leather boots and pouts). What did Max even owe Mona, anyway? Hell, Natasha talked sh*t about Max’s wife before she died; Max didn’t own anything to anybody. And yet, here he is taking the lead on the murder of another woman’s sister.
Next time, Mona? Put those assassin skills to better use than standing around and waiting for someone else do do your revengin’. Did Uma Thurman ask some dude to do all the nasty killing in Kill Bill? No ‘effin way. Did you ever see Ellen Ripley ask some guy to save her from the bad aliens? Absolutely not. Ellen Ripley took care of her own damn business, like a good action hero — male or female — ought to do.
Take note, ladies.
- Geek & Sci-Fi