In honor of the release of Proud Mary staring Tariji P. Henson, coming out in theatres tis week, Friday January the 12th. I wanted to create my, ultimate list. My personal Top 10 Favorite Woman Hero Characters that does not include Wonder Woman. A hero; I am talking about someone that goes against the odds works long and hard to do whatever they can to help someone when they need someone to. There is nothing in it for them, but the satisfaction of knowing that someone has been removed from harm and have done the right thing.
A real hero in my eyes is someone who does not posses an obscene amount of power, literally, societally, economically, and is of a demographic that has to work harder than others. Yes, like everyone that has seen the new Wonder Woman and Justice League movies I get chills seeing Gal Gadot kick major ass against Gods, Demons, Aliens, and whatever else lives in those worlds. Although, she is not the only badass Woman character that is a true hero, that many Women and girls growing up can look up to as well. My list comprises of the forgotten ones, not the typical names you'd think off the top of your head. True badass, multitasking, caring women that’s struggled a lot but still saves. To rise and be a hero, an extinct character type in cinema these days. I admit, these actresses and the roles they brought to life are the people I looked up to most when I was growing. Who I admired, and dared to act like trying to find an identity, navigating through middle school.
Thank God for the Women that just stepped left when they would told to go right. For Tariji fierceness, she is on fire and I definitely admire her from Hidden Figures to now Proud Mary and inspiring this blog post. I can’t wait to see what other characters of woman we will see in the theaters now and beyond, saturating heavier than ever as this movement takes place. But before we go forward we must look back at the queens that have paved the way. Let me present to you my ride or die top 10 badass Women Movie Hero’s.
1. Blade (1998)-N’Bushe Wright as Karen
So technically this a comic book, therefore of the superhero genre that we have today, but this film way made way before DC and even Marvel were making movies. Unlike the other two Blade films. The First film, Blade was highly stylized and a one of a kind designer vampire movie of it's time. Vampires, the Zombies of the 90’s. Being before the current social media culture that it has come to be, Blade would be a film that black social media culture would be in uproar over like that have been for the upcoming movie Black Panther. This film was truly revolutionary, in the way that it was filmed, evoking vampire empathy and gory, innovative death scenes. A black hero or super because he is half of what it kills, a dedicated bad motherfucker who occasionally delivers dead pane wit and one liners that an uncle would at a BBQ. Black main female character next to Sanaa Lathan mind you. Instead of an interest she becomes bait and then, the hero. Her confidence and stand up nature is all you have left to ride on towards the end of the movie, when Blade is locked in Vampire ritual contraption. The Brooklyn fighter in her rises to any opposition, even if it’s her ex boyfriend that is now a Vampire and is left in a underground pit with him. Spoiler alert, she does rise, to not only go on and rescue Blade, give him what seems to be a lot of her blood so he can become strong enough to fight Frost and ultimately save mankind from Vampire rule.
2. Resident Evil (2002)-Michelle Rodriquez as Rain
I would say that Michelle Rodriquez is solely responsible for portraying an accurate, endearing and captivating perspective of what it means to be a butch or tomboy esque archetype. Strong enough to hold her own and be cast alongside blockbuster actors in blockbuster movies without sacrificing the image she has created solely off her not being woo’d by any bodies’ bullshit. Her backstory is crazy and she really did beat the odds in life and in the big screen to go on to play roles where she saves, wins and most importantly for me. Inspire girls all around the world that you don’t have to be the damsel in distress or a model in a bikini to be an important character in action based TV or Film. Michelle was a HUGE inspiration for me growing up, I even became slightly obsessed with her for a brief period of time but that has since subsided. But it all started with this film, seeing this in the theatres and how she played Rayne I remember shocked sinking my seat cause I want to shout around “who the fuck is the Woman” who roars power yet artistically puts up a façade of mystery and intrigue. I had never seen such a important woman character in a film, not only be one of two female heroes but also act as brute as she did. Completely devout to her job and to her team, but when the rest of her team members doesn't show after splitting up. Rayne steps up alongside Alice to be a leader and hero of the mission to get them out. Even when she gets bit she doesn’t stop till she turns and her death is sad, a fallen solider that fought with honor. Like Blade the subsequent movies to follow Resident Evil based off a video game, another fun new genre. The others just don't compare to the craft achieved in the first one.
3. Coloumbiana (2011) Zoe Saldana as Cateleya
Let’s just all give a round of applause to Zoe Saldana. Never I did I think this fiery New York girl in Center Stage would be commanding the characters the define cinema today. Playing leading characters in epic tales where she truly transforms from one to another like a chameleon. A child of the craft, constantly learning and growing, and I think she is just beginning. Not until years from know will we really understand the feat she made as an Afro-Latina Woman all while battling an autoimmune disease. All those fierce woes that she might have had thrown at her to get to where she is today, must have been channeled into the assassin that is Cateleya in Coloumbiana. Haunted by a day that will define her forever, years later, still fighting to find the end of chapter and beginning to a new one.
4. The Matrix (1999) Carrie Ann Moss as Trinity
I really don’t think Carrie Anne Moss gets enough credit for her role as the holy Trinity. In her Matrix life she was a criminal hacker, free, she is a top ranking member on the Nebuchadnezzar and front line fighter in the war against the machines. Responsible for helping take Neo out the Matrix and assisting him on a comfortable transition to become The One. Plus how can anyone forget her iconic crouching tiger freeze frame move and line “Dodge This” before shooting an agent with her gun right on his temple without flinching. Though she is the love interest, it is not portrayed in a cheesy or forced way like usual. Trinity may be below Morpheus in the ranks, but she is the chess player. Making the moves for things to actually happen, creating destiny. Doing the uncomfortable for the greater good; basically telling Neo that he is the one and she is his Queen to his King. Only through her words does he realize his true abilities to finally defeat The Agents. Just like a real Queen of a fortress, give the King the strength to lead.
5. The Fifth Element (1997) Milla Jovovich as Leeloo
Iconic character that couldn’t of been done by no other than Mila Jovovich. Just as pivotal as Michelle Rodriquez, starring aside her as Alice in Resident Evil. However Milla as Leeloo will go down in history as her best role ever, it was such a gamer changer and nothing has been able to match it. The whole of it, the cast and crew to pull off a stunning feat of blending all the elements one enjoys in a good flick. Showcasing quick adaptability, an innate ability to care and to carry out her purpose in a classic fish out of water scenario. She is the essential, the fifth element, to save us all, from it all.
6. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000) Zhang Ziyi as Jia Long
The dance, discipline, and shear proficiency that defines a culture and film genre that will always be respected for its visionary innovation. It will go down in history as one of the best fight scenes ever to be filmed. Zhang Ziyi and Michelle Yeoh transform a fight into classic ballet story artfully expressing the turmoil between student and teacher. What I love about Zhang Ziya playing Jia Long in this story is the how underestimation plays into the fierceness of her character, because of her perceived innocence. Blending in, following traditional habits, a quiet and reserved nature assists in her reputation, to be the best. This is a all female powerhouse set against beautifully composed backgrounds. Interpreting love and revenge by the ones that rule most of all. I hope that the women of the Qing Dynasty were just as badass.
7. Contact (1997) Jodi Foster as Eleanor Arroway
Jodi is a rare bird, a child actor that has been in a number of critically acclaimed films always playing captivating roles. The one that must make sense in a completely horrible and unsolvable situation and come out stronger than ever and saving all she can along the way. In the film Contact, an obsessive scientist that makes contact with intelligent, inter-dimensional and possible extra terrestrial beings. Without sacrificing historic human revelation for the rest of mankind she becomes the sole one to make, contact. Through a spiritual almost psychedelic communication portal. I am glad this was made, and as more girls become interested in STEM education we nee more Eleanor’s to look and make the easy connection between scientist and hero, to show how it can be done.
8. The Cell (2000 Jennifer Lopez as Catherine Deane
Before becoming an international pop star to the gays, Jennifer Lopez was a badass yet sassy romantic lead character in notable movies like Out of Sight and Anaconda in the early to mid nineties. Usually with her playing some time of cop or professional, whose ends up falling in love with the protagonist in a messy, round about way. Yet, what bred out of this archetype, was this amazing psychological film with her as the lead protagonist and her love interest; work. A phycology doctor that becomes a hero through advanced technology that allows her to enter into her patients mind. Using her expertise and her natural mothering instincts to gain trust facing the darkest demons of the mind. A professional, seemingly putting her personal life aside, for her job. A hard, intense and important one at and does it with no fear or complaint, just to help. The scene where she whines down watching cartoons and smoking weed was the first time Id seen a woman smoking so normally to decompress. Everything about it makes it a pioneer, even to Sci-Fi shows like Black Mirror. I wish to see more fruit of the woman and men filmmakers inspired by this gem.
9. Death Proof (2007) Rosario Dawson, Zoe Bell, Tracie Thoms as The Girls
A movie I still have own on DVD, and itch to watch at least once a year. For me being in the Death Proof world, even from just experiencing it through a 2D screen. Makes me feel a sense of freedom, I’m betting the same feeling cowboys felt rolling from town to town on their horse when the west was wild. Nothing can stop a group of girls, well, maybe some things as Tarantino proves in his own film and I just love it! I love that there are to sets of the female lead characters. Each character is badass and interesting in there own way. I love that the last set of female lead characters are all working as some type of production crew members, right up my alley. I love their dialogue, and I love Quentin Tarantino for bringing this to life, only a crazy white director that has a fetish for strong woman could do it and I am grateful. Finally the damsels bring on the distress when your try to fuck with them.
10. Kill Bill (2003) Uma Thurman as The Bride
Another Quentin Tarantino masterpiece, deemed a classic film right out the gate when it was released in 2003. Innovative, taking the revenge genre to a whole other existential level that only someone whose able to grow another human inside of them knows and posses. To become a master among the most ancient cultures not related to her ancestry. Story we've all seen before in The Karate Kid and The Last Samurai, but the Bride perspective has you glued to your seat because her feat seems nearly impossible. It was given to her, she took, conquered and used, to Kill Bill, the father of her child. If this isn’t already known by the unwise; basically don’t mess with a mother and her child, ever. The series also includes just as worthy female opponents and past colleagues played by powerhouse actresses that include Lucy Lui, Vivica A. Fox, Chiaki Kuriyama, and in Kill Bill Vol. 2 Daryl Hannah.