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Recommended Female-Lead Action Movies, Vol. One

Action movies that range from the 1980's to 2010's.

There’s a lot of movies, particularly action movies, where there’s not a lot of leading female action film. It sometimes takes some searching through to find some action movies to binge watch over a long weekend. These are some movies that have women in fighters roles.

The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)

One of the first women I noticed in the film that took a lot of girl power roles in movies was Geena Davis. This film is about a woman who has amnesia for eight years working in a small town as a teacher gets recognized by one of her past foes and unknown to her awakened into a world completely different from her own.

Memorable action scene: The jump through the window.

Yes, Madam (1985)

An American cop goes to Hong Kong to help fight a drug lord selling drugs in both countries. This is a buddy cop movie from the 1980’s that has a lot of action fighting scenes. First of all, Cindy Rothrock and Michelle Yeoh are both martial arts legends. Rothrock is the basis of Sonya Blade in Mortal Kombat. Yeoh made some more iconic movies like the Wuxia-themed movie Crotching Tiger Hidden Dragon. This movie has some fight scenes that are stunning and worth watching this movie.

Memorable action scene: The rooftop fight with Rothrock.

Haywire (2012)

This stars Gina Carano, an MMA fighter in one of her first ventures into film. This film is about a black ops super soldier was set up on her last mission now she hunts for payback after betrayal. The fight scenes are performed by Carano throughout the whole film and she’s mostly in a minimal line role; a role very well acted.

Memorable action scene: The hallway fight

Chocolate (2008)

This was a sad story with really good fighting scenes. A woman with autism fights the mob to get them to pay back the money they owe her to aid her dying mother with some aid from her cousin. All the money goes to the medication for her mother. The story like I said is sad.

Memorable action scene: The marketplace mob fight

Wonder Woman (2017)

Based on the DC comic book series of Wonder Woman’s origin story and Great War fight. There’s a lot of fight scenes in this large-scale blockbuster movie. A lot of combat ranging from hand-to-hand, archery, sword, throwing large objects, gunfights and CGI lighting strike. This is an engaging film where you do watch the emotional development of Wonder Woman.

Memorable action scene: The battle in the small town

Hanna (2011)

Trained from birth how to kill, 16-year-old Hanna doesn’t live a normal life. She is in hiding from the people who made her. Hanna is trained by her father to kill, to hunt and to survive if they are caught by a ruthless intelligence agent and her operatives. The soundtrack is awesome. The fighting scenes look more choreographed than computerized, which is very good.

Memorable action scene: Escaping the handler

La Femme Nikita (1991)

A French film noir about a drug-addicted street rat learning the ways of combat to avoid jail. She becomes a trained assassin for an unknown government force and must make a moral decision about her orders. She is very energetic and charming.

Memorable action scene: The training sessions

Kill Bill 1 & 2 (2003 & 2004)

Based on a graphic novel by Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman, The Bride, is about a bride who fights her past associates who work for a crime/assassin family for the revenge of mass murdering the entire wedding party on her wedding day. There are homages to black-exploitation action films, westerns and martial arts films. Especially from Bruce Lee’s Game of Death and Shintaro Katsu’s Zatoichi Challenge.

Memorable action scene: The showdown with Ori-ren with samurai swords

Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

This is the sequel to the Terminator that came out seven years prior. Sarah Connor is now ready for the apocalypse but she’s now in a mental institution. She’s ready to fight whatever is going after her son. But another terminator is sent to the past to kill John Connor. Now her son and the terminator that failed to kill her must stop the liquid metal menace. This is one of the best action films of all time, most people’s favourite flick and very renowned film for a captivating female lead with Linda Hamilton. This film I would recommend to anyone.

Memorable action scene: Sarah Connor in the metal refinery facing off with T-2000

Resident Evil (2002)

Even though there were other Resident Evil movies this one started the franchise and it has more of a story that’s understandable for people who never played the games. The movie has a nonlinear storyline about why they are in the zombie predicament they are in.

Memorable action scene: Going against the zombie force

Aliens (1986)

While the movie Alien was a body horror suspense thriller the movie Aliens is an action sci-fi thriller movie. This film expands on the metaphorical themes of motherhood and corporate ignorance. It had a different director than the previous director – from Ridley Scott to James Cameron.

Memorable action scene: When she goes one on one with the head alien.

Columbiana (2011)

A sole survivor of an assassination attempt, a little girl grows up with the determination of revenge for her family’s death and to become an assassin. The film has a nice backdrop of Miami and Columbia. Just watching the extent the lead character is willing to go to get her target is worth the watch.

Memorable action scene: Escaping arrest

V.I. Warshawski (1991)

Throughout the movie, it has 80’s video game-like music that repeats often. It can be irritating or upbeat background music, it’s completely up to you on how you interpret the music. This movie is based on a detective novel series by Sara Paretsky. The film is based on the novel Deadlock. For a detective story with no real comedy, it’s sure is upbeat. The Chicago-based V.I. Warshawski, P.I. is investigating the death of the man who died in an explosion. The daughter of the man who died “hires” her to track down the murderer.

Memorable action scene: The boat chase

Spy (2015)

This is an action comedy that stars Melissa McCarthy. A secretary in a spy agency wants a more exciting life and wanted to try out being in the field. An unfortunate predicament happens to one of the agents and now she has to stop the bad guy practically by herself. This is a really funny movie with a lot of action. A surprisingly funny role of Jason Statham being a parody of the “way too intense guy” in action movies.

Memorable action scene: Motorcycle chase

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

I saw this around the time it was released. It was a visually action packed movie with high octane car chases, punching, kicking, people fighting on high-speed cars to the death and some guy with a fire guitar playing heavy metal before a battle. This was an action movie that if you’re an action movie fan or a Mad Max fan since it’s a semi-continuation of the Roadwarrior saga, just without Mel Gibson. This movie became an instant classic among moviegoers for good reasons. It has heart, drive (not boring) and a story that works for the action.

Memorable action scene: Many truck chasing scenes

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

This movie inspired a classic television show that aired for eight seasons from the late 90s. This movie was also a great find at a rental shop and digital store when the name pops up. It is not only funny it has a lot of action because it’s about the chosen one, the slayer. A great summer action movie but a better Halloween one with memorable scenes with Rugter Hauser.

Memorable action scene: Buffy’s prom night fighting the big bad

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