(From the March 1-15 issue of The Fortnightly)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit
Girl power! There are many different film roles for women, but the ones that usually stand out are those that portray them as capable and competent, even dangerous. To commemorate International Women’s Month, here’s our rundown of empowering action heroines and tough gals from different genres. There are many unforgettable ones, but let’s narrow it down to ten:
Ellen Ripley (Alien 1-4)
Surviving horrific encounters with monstrous extraterrestrials, Ripley became knowledgeable in dealing with them, fending off attacks on fellow humans and sacrificing herself to get rid of the creature incubating in her. She revived in another body after two centuries, stronger than ever.
Beatrix Kiddo (Kill Bill Vol. I, II)
Katana-wielding Beatrix, a.k.a. The Bride, tracks down her former assassin colleagues who attacked her and left her for dead years ago. Trained in strict fighting disciplines and driven by revenge, she separately stalks, confronts, and trounces her formidable and ruthless targets.
Selene (Underworld 1, 2, 4)
Changed into a vampire centuries ago, Selene became a pistol-toting “Death Dealer,” destroying both werewolf and vampire enemies alike. She later pursued her own path, eventually forming a relationship with a vamp-wolf hybrid and becoming a protective mother to their child.
Sarah Connor (Terminator 1, 2)
She was a clueless waitress in the first movie but transformed into a toughened warrior in the sequel. Sarah Connor survived a harrowing Terminator attack, and was determined to teach her son about fighting the onslaught of intelligent machines.
When future Jedi champion Luke Skywalker was still a farmer, his long-lost twin Leia was already busy fighting the Empire’s despotic rule as part of the Rebel Alliance. She eventually slew crimelord Jabba the Hutt while she was his captive, and later helped in major liberation efforts.
Fascinated with butterfly knives and other weaponry, 11-year-old Mindy Macready was trained in various martial arts and combat techniques by her mentor Big Daddy. The vigilante sidekick almost single-handedly defeated armed goons while rescuing newbie superhero Kick-Ass on separate occasions. After Big Daddy met his untimely end, she attacked the bad guys’ headquarters, decimating their forces with ease.
CIA agent Evelyn Salt, accused of being a Russian spy, flees to find her missing husband. She’s actually a double agent who defies her programming; she soon goes after her would-be spy allies, foiling their scheme and dealing with them efficiently.
Lisbeth Salander (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo)
Highly skilled investigator and techie Lisbeth doesn’t conform to most social norms. A complex and strategic thinker, she once savagely exacted revenge on a man who assaulted her, and blackmailed him into doing her bidding. She also helped solve a decades-old case with a journalist she previously investigated.
Hermione Granger (Harry Potter 1-8)
Hermione was one of the most driven Hogwarts students, well-read on documented spells and related matters. As Harry Potter’s trusted ally, the teen witch became crucial to many missions, bravely risking her life and confronting powerful adversaries repeatedly.
Eowyn (The Lord of the Rings 2, 3)