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Top 10 tough movie women

Sigourney Weaver

Sigourney Weaver's tough woman character Ellen Ripley in Aliens launched the actor's career.


Friday, February 15, 2019

There have been plenty of movies about tough women. In fact, picking the Top 10 is harder than you might think. But here goes, the ones I picked and the ones I didn’t.

10) Trinity, “The Matrix” — Carrie-Ann Moss’ Trinity was hacker chic before the hacker chic of Lisabeth Salander. As with most of the female characters on this list, Trinity is well-trained in the martial arts, technology and firearms.

9) Yu Shu Lien and Jen, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” — In the epic five-minute fight scene outside of a school courtyard, we encounter an arsenal of weapons: broadswords, an iron pipe, a spear, hook swords and, of course, the Green Sword of Destiny. These two ferocious fighters (played by Michelle Yeoh and Ziyi Zhang) forever silenced the critics as to whether or not women can play tough on screen.

8) Nikita, “La Fenne Nikita” — Anne Parillaud plays a young French woman raised to be an assassin. You don’t want to come into her crosshairs. Incredible moves as she fires off rounds at her enemies.

7) The Bride, “Kill Bill” — Uma Thurman’s Bride suddenly wakes up in a hospital after a coma. She has lost her baby and has been abused by a hospital worker. That, and the way she’s been treated by Bill gives her good reason to want to kill somebody. A lot of somebodies — particularly the mysterious Bill.

6) Alice, the “Resident Evil” films — A genetic alteration gives Alice (Milla Jovovich) strength and speed, along with the ability to fight numerous foes at once. Later in this series, Alice develops psychic abilities to go with her already increased physical abilities, making her a genuine killing machine.

5) Sarah Connor, “The Terminator” — Linda Hamilton’s hard-bodied Sarah Connor is one of the toughest film characters. But she begins as the victim of an unpredictable future. Over the course of the film she develops into a hardened warrior fighting against an inhuman Terminator.

4) Lorraine Broughton, “Atomic Blonde” – Charlize Theron is a well-trained spy. Her battle in the stairwell is one of the best and most brutal fight scenes on film.

3) Lisbeth Salander, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” — Noomi Rapace (in the original movie) makes this tattooed, punked-out hacker a woman to be reckoned with.

2) Coffy, “Coffy” — The poster for this 1970s blaxploitation flick described Coffy as “the baddest one chick hit squad that ever hit town.” Word to that. This proto-feminist vigilante revenge story set in the ghetto is a classic. And Pam Grier is timeless.

1) Ellen Ripley, the “Alien” films — Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley is arguably the best female character in science fiction. Who else could face off an outerspace monster in her skivvies?

Who did I leave off this list. A gaggle of tough gals: Lara Croft, “Tomb Raider;” Selene, “Underworld;” Imperator Furiosa, “Mad Max: Fury Road;” Aeon Flux, “Aeon Flux;” Katniss Everdeen, “The Hunger Games;” Hit-Girl, “Kick-Ass;” Salt, “Salt;” Maggie Fitzgerald, “Million Dollar Baby;” Cataleya Restrepo, “Columbiana;” and Samantha Caine, “The Long Kiss Goodnight.”

Hm, can I redo my list?

Shirrel Rhoades is a former executive with Marvel Entertainment, a writer, publisher, professor and filmmaker. He is from North Carolina and lives in Florida. Contact him at srhoades@aol.com.



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