THE QUESTION: Who is your favorite female actress in an action role? Voice overs do not count. (CGI, etc)
Rob: My fingers are crossed that my number one pick will change whenever a Wonder Woman movie sees the light of day, but for now I’m going with Kate Beckinsale in the Underworld series. Not only was that catsuit the hottest thing under the sun (or out of the sun), but unlike a lot of females who go the action star route, Beckinsale can actually act. She makes these movies so good that I had to break my vampire movie rule. Normally, I don’t tend to like vampire movies where they’re featured as heroes, but I love the Underworld series (Blade’s half-vampire and the vampires in Underworld are both good and evil, so maybe I’m not breaking my rule at all??). Regardless, she has the acting chops, physical ability, and presence required to make the perfect action heroine.
Doug: My first instinct is to go with a Joss Whedon heroine (Buffy Summers, River Tam), but in the interest of challenging myself, I’m going to pick Milla Jovovich as Alice in the Resident Evil movies. Now, don’t get me wrong – the Resident Evil movies are all pretty terrible, and Jovovich isn’t much of an actress. Jovovich has a face and body that belong in a sci-fi movie – which shows that the filmmakers understood their target audience – and surprisingly, her performance transcends the level of eye candy. She plays the part with a mix of bewilderment and intensity which at the very least makes her performance unique, and it’s difficult to picture anyone else in the roll. Inevitably, these movies take the character and actress into dramatic terrain that Jovovich just doesn’t have the chops for, but she always looks like she knows what she’s doing in the butt-kicking sequences, and that’s what counts in mindless genre trash like the Resident Evil franchise.
Bryan: Sarah Michelle Gellar in the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer TV Series. Finally, a teenage girl who didn’t act like a ditzy slut and could kick major ass. She also had the emotional storyline of being 17 and being the next in a long line of chosen ones and knowing that no other Slayers had made it past the age of 30. The weight of the world on a 17 yr old girl made for some awesome television thanks to the incredible mind of Joss Whedon.
Brian: For my favorite female actress in an action role, I am going to go with Sigourney Weaver from the Alien movies. She was smart, sexy and took on the Alien horde damn near single-handedly! The Alien movies scared the hell out of me when I was a young kid, and the main reason I kept watching was because of the heroics from Sigourney Weaver. A close second? Kate Beckinsale.
Dave: Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2. She was wacked out of her mind, obsessed, paranoid, kicked ass, and yet was attractive without needing to have her boobs hang out or flaunt around in skank outfits like movies and video games do now for any lead female character role. James Cameron knows how to make the best female action star role (nod to Brian’s pick of Sigourney Weaver in Aliens), he convinces us they’re there to fight and not give a crap if their makeup is smearing.
Justin: Hands down, my favorite female in an action role is Sigourney Weaver as Lt. Ellen Ripley from the Alien franchise. In Alien, she plays a working-class heroine as a Flight Officer, fighting not only the indigenous life form on LV-426, but trying to keep the crew steady amidst a labor dispute about percentages. There is nothing overtly powerful or sexy about her, but she’s got smarts, courage, and the drive to blow the alien out of the airlock and earn the title of, “last surviving crew of the Nostromo”.
In Aliens, she flips the “action hero” archetype upside down as her return trip to LV-426 doesn’t turn out any better than her first. We get to see Weaver’s duality as she plays a “man of action”, Pulse Rifle-wielding Space Marine in one scene, and as a caring mother as she instinctively protects Newt (the little girl who has survived the alien invasion). She even playfully flirts with Cpl. Hicks when he shows her how to use the Pulse Rifle.
Suffice it to say, she survives the alien horde again, and also manages to survive a crash landing on a remote and desolate prison colony in Alien3. Being the only female these guys have seen in awhile, she has to defend herself in ways she’s never had to before. She has to battle both convict and canine, as the alien that survives the crash as well takes on dog-like qualities. Ripley’s not the prettiest or strongest, but she simply survives, using all the tools she has.
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