Gone are the days when only the men kicked butt onscreen. The archetypal role of the tough guy hero has, over the years, gave way to female action heroes and villains alike—with many films exploiting their potential as a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Perhaps the sight of women kicking butt bolsters the secret belief that they’re the ones in control of our society.
As Emily Browning (and her gal pals) blasts her way back into theatres as an assassin in Suckerpunch, we take look at the most memorable women warriors on film, from cutesy Japanese samurai school-girls, alien-punching femmes to gun-toting toughies.
Girls from Suckerpunch
Bad Girl #1
What do you get when you put some of Hollywood’s starlets, throw some leather and spandex on them, give them guns and swords, and toss in some mean monsters and bad guys for good measure? You get this Zack Snyder’s latest fantasy schlock-fest that pushes the envelope of what is fantasy versus reality. In this film you get not one but five lethal ladies who kick-punch-shoot-and-slice their way to the end credits. The film transports you along with Babydoll (Browning) as her fantasies take her to otherworldly places at once ancient and futuristic and everywhere in between. She and her fellow warriors, Sweet Pea (Cornish), Rocket (Malone), Blondie (Hudgens) and Amber (Chung), battle everything from gargantuan samurai beasts to reanimated zombie soldiers to fire-breathing dragons. At the girls’ disposal: their wits, an arsenal of deadly hardware, and their willingness to work together to survive.
Bad Girl #2
While some of you might say that Uma Thurman’s Beatrix Kiddo is the tough cookie in Quentin Tarantino’s 2003 blood-and-gore fest, we think O-Renn Ishii’s (Lucy Liu) bodyguard, the Japanese school-girl uniform wearing teenage sadist Gogo Yubari is the ultimate scene stealing bad-ass in a movie full of bad-asses. She’s kind of like Darth Maul (they killed her off too fast) in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. But with that uniform and swinging a giant flail while trying to kick Thurman’s butt, and we all know how that ends. Could she have been more bad-ass if she had lived? We will never know.
Bad Girl #3
Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley in Alien, Aliens, Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection
When it comes to kicking butt—alien butt—no one does it better than woman warrior Ellen Ripley. This lethal lady can hold her own against an army of slobbering alien scum without breaking out in a sweat (Ok, we kid). Her best scene is when she climbs into the massive robot dock-loading machine to kick the Alien Queen back to where she came from. Then again, Ripley is no ordinary heroine—she literally kicks ass for some 200 years if you follow the Alien saga timeline.
Bad Girl #4
Do you remember what you did when you were 12 or 13 years old? Hitting the books? Running around the playground? But not future tween queen Chloe Moretz. This pint-sized bad-ass was literally kicking ass in Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr.’s big screen adaptation of their cult comic book Kick-Ass. Moretz plays Hit-Girl — the C-bomb-dropping, gun-toting tween who wages war against the mob alongside her Batman-obsessed daddy, played by Nicolas Cage. The first time you see the duo onscreen, Big Daddy is firing bullets into the little girl's chest — and from there, things get violent. Need we say more?
Bad Girl #5
So Cherry Darling is an exotic dancer with all the sexy moves and one day she loses her leg to a zombie. Bad luck right? Well … not quite. Darling later somehow manages to attach a machine gun to her leg before playing a game of zombie shoot-em-up with her enhanced appendage. Here comes the bad ass part: She rides backwards on a motorcycle killing zombies as the bike zips along before being thrown over a large wall and with her gun-leg she kills some more people, not to mention the part where she helicopter spins on the ground annihilating all the baddies in the process. Who cares how she fires the weapon without ever touching the trigger?
Other bad girls:
Kate Beckinsale as Selene in Underworld
Milla Jovovich as Alice in Resident Evil
Devon Aoki as Miho in Sin City
Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in Terminator 2: Judgment Day