While she’s transitioned to more dramatic roles in front of and behind the camera, Angelina Jolie cemented herself on the A-list by becoming one of Hollywood’s most sought after action stars. With the combination of her fearlessness and sexuality, Jolie was (and is) a force to be reckoned with whenever she exploded onto the screen. She always had an air of mystery and maybe more than a hint of scariness, but that combination has always been part of her allure. Sure, she’ll rock your world, but she will probably kick your ass, too. She looks as natural behind the wheel of a sports car as she does with a gun in her hand, a feat that many actors have trouble pulling off. With that in mind, let’s revisit some of the high-octane roles that made Angelina Jolie a star.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
The live-action adaptation of the popular video game doesn’t work on every level, but it sure is fun. Jolie easily straps on the iconic gun holsters, believably bringing the badass to life on screen. In this early sequence, Lara Croft has to defend her home from armed commandos that are working for a shadowy, Illuminati-like organization. Sure, the plot is a bit nonsensical, but the bungee ballet is cool as hell.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider — The Cradle of Life
In this sequel, the ridiculousness is ramped up to the next level. For example, Croft punches a shark in the face. Like its predecessor, The Cradle of Life was criticized for being too much like the video game it was based on. However, Jolie still manages to roundhouse kick everyone in the face in a crowd-pleasing way. Sure, the effects are a little rough, but Jolie absolutely sells it. If the rumored reboot does happen, the new Lara Croft will definitely have a tough act to follow.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
While this movie is usually remembered more for the shenanigans that happened off-screen between its stars, Mr. and Mrs. Smith is actually an enjoyable action flick. As the embattled spouses, Brad Pitt and Jolie have excellent chemistry, whether they are slugging it out as spies or making out as lovers. This scene sets the tone right away and establishes Jolie as the badass that we know and love. If you told me that this was how Jolie always hails a cab, I would probably believe you.
While this is technically James McAvoy’s starring vehicle, Jolie deftly steals the show as Fox, a master assassin. When she shows up in the grocery store to whisk McAvoy’s Wesley away from his life of monotony and into the backseat of a Viper, you can’t help but think he would have gone willingly anyway, even if he wasn’t being shot at by the man who killed his father. Wanted was praised for its stylish action sequences, and this scene makes it abundantly clear why.
This twisty thriller about a CIA agent who is accused of being a Russian spy focuses more on action than little things like dialogue and character development, but it’s good at what it sets out to do. Jolie continued to prove that she’s the best in the business when it comes to female action stars, eluding capture through car chases, jumping out of buildings, and assuming new identities. While the movie begs the question “Who is Evelyn Salt?” viewers might care less about her identity and more about how many bad guys she will dispatch in the next scene.
While Maleficent is not a straight-forward action film like the others on this list, the physicality and menace that Jolie brought to the iconic Disney villain was easily the best part in the film. With her twisted horns and razor-like cheekbones, Jolie cuts quite a figure as Maleficent. While the battle scenes do come off a bit like Lord of the Rings lite, the shots of Maleficent swooping in with her magnificent wings certainly do not disappoint.
(Via Rotten Tomatoes)