Greatest Action Divas: A Tribute

Last week I was down with flu and spent some time in bed watching films. While watching some action sequence from the movie Real Steel where Hugh Jackman was fighting till the last gasp, it occurred to me that most action films in Hollywood glorify action heroes. You just name them – Jackie Chan, Hugh Jackman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Wills, Tom Cruise, Christopher Lambert, Mel Gibson, and the list goes on and on. Just like the countless action heroes whose films we cherish and talk about, how many of us actually discuss their female counterparts? And this thought inspired me to create a list of female action heroines in Hollywood.

Ellen Ripley - a revolutionary character

Ellen Ripley – a revolutionary character

As I was doing my research, I found there are quite a few of them. Not that I have watched them all on screen. But of those I’ve watched, some have truly touched my heart.

American actress Sigourney Weave who played Ellen Ripley in the Alien series remains my all time favourite. The character is often considered as one of the best female protagonists of all times. Up until this point most women were of the helpless sorts. Unlike her predecessors, Sigourney’s Ripley was a gun-wielding, alien killer who forever changed the role of women in the male-dominated science fiction genre.

Those of you who loved Trinity’s style in the Matrix trilogy would know Carrie-Anne Moss portrayed the character with paramount perfection. With her awesome one-liners “Dodge this” and her incredible mastery of driving in high speedy freeways, martial arts, helicopter piloting, she’s the ultimate weapon in the fight against the machines.

Lucy Lawless needs no special mention. Our own sword-wielding “Xena: The Warrior Princess” has proved that big action stars can fit on the small screen. The tall dark blue-eyed princess had millions of fan following and I remembered how we used to crave to watch the TV series that had a successful run from 1996 to 2001.

Uma Thurman movies are unique. In the Kill Bill series, she played assassin Beatrix Kiddo, who set out for revenge against her former boss and lover – a marvel where most others would have faltered. She had proven her action prowess years earlier as the villainous Poison Ivy in ‘Batman and Robin’ and then as Emma Peel in ‘The Avengers’. But it is her sword-wielding turn in Kill Bill that makes her an action queen forever.

Though not particularly my favourite, but it would be unfair to be missing out on Angelina Jolie – one of the best female action stars of our times. She can be both elegant and lethal and we know about it as she perfectly fits into the mould of Super Gal Lara Croft. Her heroic stunts in Salt will also be remembered by her fans.

Lena Headey as Sarah Connor was also equally impressive in Terminator and Terminator 2. Raising the future leader of the resistance was difficult, especially when you are locked off in an insane asylum or fleeing a killing machine bent on murdering her and her son, but Headey made it look easy.

Kristen Swanson who is best known for playing Buffy Summers in the film Buffy the Vampire Slayer needs a special mention. It was amazing how she managed to save the world from apocalypse each time.

The list of action heroines is much longer but I have to stop here. Sure, there are also many damsels in distress and princesses too, alongside action divas, as there’s room for everyone, but I’m happy that there have been so many amazing women in movies making such a big impact on the screen – big enough to draw much inspiration even in real life. You can help me add to the list of action divas in Hollywood. Bollywood, I’ll get back… later.


6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Ruth on August 24, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    Perfect fantastic. all of them are my favorite too


  2. Posted by Aditi Mitra on August 24, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Certainly in the action world, women tend to be relegated to love interests, kidnap victims and badasses trying to seduce their guy. So action heroines are few and far between compared to the army of Jason Stathams and Sylvester Stallones of the world. But the world is changing fast and I’m glad you explored this issue.


  3. Posted by Ronyx on August 24, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    The list is good. But I just thought of some more. Luc Besson is now a household name amongst action enthusiasts, and La Femme Nikita is the reason why. You could have also mentioned Claire Bennet, Charlize Theron in Aeon Flux, Kate Beckinsale in Underworld, Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil: Apocalypse and I agree the list goes on.


  4. Posted by Kinnari S on August 25, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Some of the Hollywood actresses are playing very different and intelligent characters in this day and it feels good like some names you said. I also liked Michelle Yeoh in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. With her Kung Fu and Martial Arts magic,, she was too good. But you also are maturing as a writer I can see!


  5. Posted by Lokesh on August 25, 2012 at 9:51 am

    waiting for Bollywood da..


  6. Posted by Kapila Shaw on August 26, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    I am very fond of Angelina Jolie. She is one of the female characters on screen who can portray any type of role and is superb in hardy action sequences. i enjoyed your blog.


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