Top 10 Most Butt-kicking Females of Film

Women and girls kick major butt! This list looks at those femmes fatales who take no prisoners and simply own the men around them.

This list was tough–turns out there are a LOT of kick-ass females, especially over the last decade. It just became impossible to stay at 10, so I will start with a few …

Honorable Mentions

Trinity (The Matrix trilogy, 1999–2003)

Trinity was a great computer hacker that Morpheus pulled out of the Matrix and into the Real World. She was also a hopeful believer in the prophesy of “the One” and was the first to contact Neo. Plus she knew bullet-time kung fu. She just missed the Top 10 because she had to be rescued by Neo just a few times too many.

Evelyn Salt (Salt, 2010)

CIA spy Evelyn Salt may have been a Soviet sleeper spy who came to be loyal to her adopted country, but that doesn’t stop the U. S. government from treating her like a criminal. She kicks a whole lot of butt on both sides in order to escape and track down the other sleeper spy, killing him just in time to save the world from a nuclear war.

Foxy Brown (Foxy Brown, 1974)

Though the tagline for an earlier Pam Grier vehicle, Coffy (1973), called her the “godmother of them all,” it is 1974’s more successful Foxy Brown that really established Ms. Grier as a butt-kicking chick from the streets. For that reason, she gets an honorable mention as the original bad woman that inspired a generation of bad women.

And now the Top 10…

10. Mrs. Smith (Mr. and Mrs. Smith, 2005)

A cold-blooded assassin who gets the assignment to kill her husband, who is also a cold-blooded assassin. An awesome battle between the two ensues. Then they realize they love each other and decide to take out the people trying to take out Mr. Smith. More awesome battles ensue. Angelina Jolie might be a humanitarian in real life, but she is a bona fide action star on screen.

9. Gail and Miho (Sin City, 2005; Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, 2014)

Gail (played by Rosario Dawson) leads a gang of prostitutes that rules the “Old Town” section of Sin City. Miho (played by Devon Aoki) is a straight-up killer. Click here to watch Miho fight Jackie Boy. (Warning: this video is violent and many not be appropriate for all audiences. The clip comes from a movie rated R.) ‘Nuff said.

8. Black Widow (Marvel Cinematic Universe, 2012–present)

Some of you have not yet seen Avengers: Age of Ultron, so this rating is only based on her appearances in earlier Marvel movies (no spoilers!). Natasha Romanoff is a former Soviet spy and current agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and member of the Avengers Initiative. She can easily take out multiple men simultaneously, single-handed. She is so bad that she holds her own as part of a team featuring a Super Soldier, the Hulk, and a freakin’ thunder god!

7. The Grindhouse girls (Deathproof and Planet Terror, 2007)

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Grind House really consists of two separate films: “Death Proof” by Quentin Tarantino and “Planet Terror” by Robert Rodriguez. Both stories contain butt-kicking female characters. In “Planet Terror,” Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan) is a go-go dancer who ends up fighting zombie-like “sickos.” At one point in the movie, her leg is torn off by sickos, but she survives. It is initially replaced by a table leg, but is later fitted with a modified M4 Carbine and grenade launcher. Yes, her leg can shoot and throw grenades. (See the photo above.) She kicks a bunch of butt and leads a group of survivors away from the zombie apocalypse.

In “Death Proof,” Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) kills young women by car accident, himself protected by his “death proof” driver’s-side compartment. He probably thought he had found his newest victims when he started messing with Abernathy (Rosario Dawson), Zoë (Zoë Bell), and Kim (Tracie Thoms). Zoë and Kim were stuntwomen who did not take the threat lightly. The trio chases him down, runs him off the the road, then beats him to death.

6. Charly Baltimore (The Long Kiss Goodnight,  1996)

What are the odds that Geena Davis would appear in the “Top 100 Most Butt-Kicking Females in Film,” much less the top 10? A “chick-flick” mainstay (think Thelma & Louise and A League of Their Own), Ms. Davis showed that she can, in fact, kick serious butt. Samantha Caine (Davis) is an amnesiac housewife throughout the first half of the movie. As Samantha slowly starts to regain her memories, she becomes her real self: Charly Baltimore, an elite CIA assassin. She goes after the rogue CIA agents that are trying to kill her, taking them all out in a blaze of glory.

5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 1992)

Kristy Swanson portrayed Joss Whedon’s Buffy character in the eponymous 1992 film. As a high school cheerleader, she learns martial arts and sharpens her fighting skills under the tutelage of her watcher, played by Donald Sutherland. Buffy takes on the vampires who have threatened her Los Angeles neighborhood and wins. The film also features a classic death scene by Paul Reuben (of Pee-Wee Herman fame) after Buffy stakes him. To be honest, though, Buffy gets extra points from the spinoff TV show, where Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy kicked major vampire and demon butt for seven years.

4. Baby Doll (Sucker Punch, 2011)

Something comes over every one who watches Baby Doll dance. Something even more exciting happens to us, though. During each dance routine (which we never see), Baby Doll uses kung fu and various weapons to battle enemies from giant stone samurai statues to steampunk World War I-era German zombies. While everyone else seems to admire her dancing, it’s the action sequences that we see during those routines that qualify her to be so high on this list.

3. Lucy (Lucy, 2014)

Lucy is an unwilling drug smuggler, with a package surgically stashed inside her. When an assault causes the psychoactive drugs to enter her bloodstream, she is suddenly able to use an increasing amount of brain power–eventually becoming near-omnipotent and near-omniscient. She takes out Yakuza gangsters without breaking a sweat. At one point she defeats an entire room of them by simply willing them unconscious. She would be higher if she had actually done more fighting, but she was ultimately able to avoid fighting for much of the movie due to her unfathomable power.

2. Hit-Girl (Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2, 2010–2013)

Speaking of taking out a room full of gangsters, Hit-Girl almost takes top prize, and she’s only a kid! She was bound to get tough, though, her father would shoot her in the chest for fun (OK, so she would wear a bulletproof vest)! What else would you expect from a father like Nicolas Cage?

1. Beatrix Kiddo (Kill Bill, vols. 1 & 2, 2003–2004)

Hell-bent on revenge for her own attempted murder and the presumed murder of her unborn child, “the Bride” systematically hunts down a team of the deadliest assassins in the world and takes them out one-by-one on the way to their boss who ordered the kill: Bill. She takes out an entire room of Japanese gangsters (notice a theme here?) with her sword, kills another assassin by snake bite, and kills Bill with the “five-point-palm exploding heart technique.” Turns out her baby didn’t die, though, and she recovers the now-a-bit-older daughter from Bill who had been raising her. That five-point-palm exploding heart technique really takes the cake—and the top honors in this list.

What do you think? Who did I miss?

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The bullying of Joss Whedon

Warning: This post contains personal opinions.

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Joss Whedon, writer and director of Avengers: Age of Ultron, has closed his previously active Twitter account. Critics of Ultron have been extremely aggressive toward him, for “ruining” their franchise or for being “sexist” and “misogynistic.” One supporter actually compiled some (a very small portion) of the vitriol directed toward Whedon into a collage.

Seriously?

First of all, I have been a fan of the Avengers, in comic book form, for about thirty years. Yes, longer than most of the movie’s audience (and probably all of these critics) have been alive. Not only did I not see anything wrong with the movie—or Joss’s portrayal of it—I liked this movie better than the first Avengers film.

Misogynistic, though?

This is the same guy whose entire career rests on the 15-year history of Buffy the Vampire Slayer—a movie and tv series that had the girl save the world at every turn. Listen to Joss’s commentary about his ideas for Buffy in the following clip:

This is the same guy who was given an award by Equality Now, an organization that “works for the protection and promotion of the human rights of women and girls around the world.”

So one scene where Black Widow was captured and had to be rescued, and all of a sudden he is a misogynist? What about the other scenes in this movie where Widow rescued other people? What about the first Avengers movie, where Hawkeye was the one who needed saving?

What am I missing?

Here’s something that I didn’t miss:

“Nerd culture” has somehow become a buzzword for cool. All of a trendy hipster types are putting on fake non-prescription glasses and going to see the Avengers and Captain America. That’s fine and good. After most of my childhood was spent being bullied by the “cool” kids, because I wore glasses and read comic books and liked Star Wars, I am glad that my daughter will (hopefully) not have to suffer the same fate.

Unfortunately, bullying hasn’t stopped. It needs to, though. It’s not cool.

I am not sure where this ruthless aggression comes from. If the hatred is coming from those who were picked on as kids (or even adults), then they really need to take a hard look in the mirror and remember how they felt. The word is empathy. Have some. Here’s another word: maturity.

If you have a legitimate complaint or disagreement with someone, try constructive discourse. It is one of the foundations of an educated society. It has solved far more problems than any other method.

Bullying people—whether celebrities or everybody else—accomplishes nothing productive.

Top 10 Baddest Bad Guys (of all media)

When Michael Jackson (RIP) sang, “I’m Bad,” he couldn’t touch these 10 big bads. This list is not just about who was the most evil or who were the most hated bad guys. These villains all also hold the distinction of being crazy cool!

10. Khan Noonien Singh (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, 1982; Star Trek: Into Darkness, 2013)

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“I’ve done far worse than kill you. I’ve hurt you.”
(Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

Star Trek had some “bad” aliens (racists), but there was really only one true bad guy. And he was baaaad: Khan! He is such a great bad guy that he is the only character besides the crew of the Enterprise to appear in all three incarnations of the original crew: the original 1960s series, the 1980s movies, and the recent J. J. Abrams reboots.

9. Tony Montana (Scarface, 1983)

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“So say good night to the bad guy! Come on. The last time you gonna see a bad guy like this again, let me tell you.”
(Scarface)

Tony Montana, the Cuban-born Miami cocaine kingpin with the “little friend,” just won’t die in the film-ending battle royale. He finally goes out in a blaze of glory after several minutes of taking out dozens of cartel hitmen. Only film buffs know that this Scarface was itself a reboot of the 1932 Paul Muni vehicle of the same name. That “Scarface” was named “Tony Camonte,” an Italian-American bootlegger during Prohibition. The end scene is much different, with Camonte giving up to the cops in the most cowardly manner. He was also loosely based on the original “Scarface” Al Capone, who died of complications from syphilis. Al Pacino’s Montana was definitely the baddest of the Scarfaces.

8. General Zod (Superman II, 1980; Man of Steel, 2013)

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“Kneel before Zod!”
(Superman II)

It’s a good thing that 1978’s Superman was a hit, eventually grossing over $300 million worldwide. That movie began on Krypton, with Super-Man’s father banishing General Zod and his two henchmen to the Phantom Zone (a spinny mirror place). He wasn’t seen again until the 1980 sequel. And he was awesome: imagine a cold, calculating warlord with Superman powers, except cool with an awesome black uniform and goatee. (We won’t mention the deep V-neck; it was the late ’70s, after all.) Plus, Michael Shannon’s 2013 take on Zod in Man of Steel might have been the coolest thing about that movie.

7. Venom (Spider-man comics, cartoons, and movies, 1988–present)

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“We are Venom. We know the evil that men do.”
(Iron Man, vol. 1, no. 302 [1994])

Venom started out as a costume change for Spider-Man introduced in the Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars crossover mini-series, became an evil alien symbiote slowly draining all of Spidey’s energy, and then became the absolute best thing that Todd McFarlane ever did (with the debatable exception of the independently published Spawn). Sadly, his one big screen appearance somehow featured Topher Grace from That 70s Show as Venom’s alter ego Eddie Brock. Despite this obvious strike against him, Venom is bad enough in the comics to deserve his place on his list.

6. The Predator (Predator movies and comics, 1987–2010)

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“You’re one ugly motherfucker!”
(spoken by Dutch [Arnold Schwarzenegger], Predator)

For the purposes of this list, I will apply the name “The Predator” to any representative of the awesome race of planet-hopping game hunters. The Predator first took out Arnold’s whole team, including Carl Weathers and Jesse “The Body” Ventura, in the jungle. Then he got loose and took out a bunch of people in Los Angeles. Next the aliens from Aliens became the Predator’s victims. Finally, it was back to the jungle, but with a whole bunch of Predators, including some that were even bigger and badder than what we had seen before. Plus they all have dreadlocks. I only hope that we haven’t seen the last of the Predator(s).

5. Hannibal Lecter (Red Dragon/ManhunterThe Silence of the LambsHannibalHannibal Rising books, TV, movies,  1981–present)

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“You will let me know when those lambs stop screaming, won’t you?”
(The Silence of the Lambs)

Sure, he’s a cannibal, but that alone doesn’t give him this high ranking in this list. It’s the psychological games he would play with people. He toyed with minds like Play-Doh. Calm, cool, and collected. But then, just to be sure that he was a true badass, he went crazy psycho cannibal on his guards in order to escape. Then played more mind games with FBI agent Clarise Starling by telephone.

4. Keyser Söze (The Usual Suspects, 1995)

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“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And like that, poof. He’s gone.”
(The Usual Suspects)

No one paid any attention to “Verbal” Kint. To the other members of the makeshift gang of misfit criminals, he was just a handicapped scam artist. To the police he was the stupid pawn of a dirty cop. Yet he manipulated all of his enemies to be in the same place at the same time so he could take them all out in one fiery explosion. Revenge is a dish best served cold. Then he manipulated the police into letting him limp right out the front door. When he was younger, living in Turkey, and rivals tried to control him by threatening his family, Keyser Söze killed his own family first, before killing his rivals, their families, their friends, and basically burning their whole towns to the ground. “And like that, poof. He’s gone.”

3. The First Evil (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, TV, 1998–2003)

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“Do you think I’m god?”
(Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 7)

The only reason that this literal “source” of all evil in existence isn’t higher on the list is that it does not have a physical form. It only affects the world by appearing to individuals in various forms to manipulate them psychologically. This means not only appearing to heroes in different forms to cause confusion or self-doubt, but also doing the same to other (physical) bad guys, like the über-vampire Turok-Han.

2. The Joker (Batman comics, TV, movies, etc., 1940–present)

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“I’m going to kill everyone in this room.”
(Batman: The Dark Knight Returns [comic book, 1986])

“Tell me something, my friend… you ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?”
(Batman [movie, 1989])

The Joker first appeared in comic books seventy-five years ago! For about half that time, he was the “Clown Prince of Crime,” using silly pranks against Batman. He was as campy as he was portrayed in the 1966 Adam West Batman television show and movie. Then came the 1980s. Frank Miller, in The Dark Knight Returns (1986); Alan Moore, in The Killing Joke (1988); and Jim Starlin, in “A Death in the Family” (Batman nos. 426–29, [1988–89]) took the Joker to the next level of crazy, completely redefining the Joker as a truly psychopathic clown. He killed the entire audience in a television studio where he was being interviewed; shot Barbara “Batgirl” Gordon; tortured her father Commissioner Gordon; and then actually killed Robin! That, and he’s a clown, so he’s totally creepy and scary just on principle.

1. Darth Vader (Star Wars saga, 1977–2005)

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“You underestimate the power of the dark side.”
(Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)

Some might question Darth Vader as the baddest bad guy ever. Let’s look at his actions: he killed a bunch of children at the Jedi Temple, killed his pregnant wife, blew up a planet, and tried several times to kill his son. Definitely some serious bad right there, but top this off with awesome body armor, the voice of James Earl Jones, and the ability to choke someone out with his mind via Skype! Some might argue that Vader worked for the Emperor—and that would be valid if this list was based on who was the most evil. The Emperor may have been the most evil, but Vader was definitely the baddest!