Best Pre-SALT Female Action Heroes
My parents are in town so I probably won’t get a chance to see Salt this weekend, but I’ve been reading about how amazing Angelina Jolie is in the movie. I’m a big fan of her in action mode, but some articles make it sound as if a woman has never convincingly played an action hero. So, I thought I’d pop out this quick reminder list of some of the most bad-ass female performances in the last 25 years.
- Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. When I saw her in that movie, every ounce in my 98-lb. body wanted to be as strong as she. I kept thinking, How do I get arms like that?? Arnold may have had bigger muscles but to me, Hamilton was the most powerful presence on screen. (UPDATE: Chuck producers announced today that Hamilton will be Chuck’s mom this coming season! That’s nine kinds of awesome because she was our first choice when my husband and I were armchair-casting the role.)
- Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in Aliens. She was so fierce protecting Newt, the alien had nothing on her.
- Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity in The Matrix. She wasn’t all shades and black vinyl; she had the butt-kicking skill to back up her ‘tude.
- Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series. Besides her formidable slayer-ness, she was armed with a valuable weapon—her quick wit.
- Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. She looks like a waif but bad guys learned the painful way not to mess with her. In The Girl Who Played with Fire, Lisbeth experiences things which would destroy the average person, but her fierce resilience proves she’s the Girl Who Won’t Stay Down.
- Anne Parillaud as Nikita in La Femme Nikita. There have been two other Nikitas (Bridget Fonda and Peta Wilson) and Maggie Q is about to debut as the third incarnation on CW but Parillaud remains the best and most convincing as the reluctant assassin.
- Geena Davis as Samantha/Charly in The Long Kiss Goodnight. At first, her character can’t remember her past, believing she’s a housewife. But from the moment she throws that kitchen knife across the room with deadly accuracy, you know her dangerous side is taking over and she doesn’t disappoint.
- Michelle Yeoh in Supercop or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Tomorrow Never Dies. I can’t pick just one when Yeoh is one of the most incredible stunt actresses out there. It was almost insulting when she was cast as a Bond girl because it was clear she would save his ass in a fight, not the other way around.
- Zhang Ziyi as Xiao Mei in House of Flying Daggers. The movie has gorgeously choreographed and photographed fight scenes—the ones in the bamboo forest and in the field stand out—all elevated by Zhang’s agility and grace.
- Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow in Alias. She kicked butt with such ferocity and conviction, she made us believe that sweet dimpled college girl was a lethal spy.
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