Diana Prince, ‘Wonder Woman’
Diana, the Amazonian and Princess of Themyscira is a warrior trained in tactics, archery, hunting and combat, ready to go toe-to-toe with any foe. She’s already saved Batman AND Superman with the most epic of entrances in “Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice”. Defeating the tired “damsel in distress” trope, Gal Gadot’s big screen Wonder Woman is not only unstoppable in battle, but has Chris Pine as her arm candy, flipping old stereotypes on their head.
Alice, ‘Resident Evil’
Based on an amalgam of female characters in the “Resident Evil” video games, Milla Jovovich’s Alice is an elite killer, dedicated to taking down the evil Umbrella Corporation, fighting zombies, and forming a clone army, all while expertly shooting two guns at the same time. Sure, it’s sometimes silly, but Jovovich has led the franchise through six films over 17 years.
Black Widow, ‘The Avengers’
As top S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Natasha Romanov, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow has become one of the most popular superheroes of the male-driven Marvel Cinematic Universe. Popping up in the “Iron Man” and “Captain America” movies, Black Widow really shows her might when the superheroes assemble in the “Avengers” movies. She doesn’t have the mighty hammer of Thor or Iron Man’s billion-dollar super-suit, but that doesn’t stop Black Widow from holding her own when it comes to a humanity-threatening alien invasion or stopping a villainous Ultron. We can't wait to finally see her in action in her standalone movie "Black Widow".
Furiosa, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’
Max who? Charlize Theron’s Furiosa is the real hero of the adrenaline-fuelled “Mad Max: Fury Road”. It’s Furiosa who leads the high-octane siege through the desert after rescuing Immortan Joe’s female slaves in search of a better life and the freedom stolen from them. Fast and furious with only one arm, the bald-headed hero borrows a page from trailblazing Ellen Ripley’s handbook to become the toughest female action hero in years.
Ellen Ripley, ‘Alien’
20th Century Fox
We have Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley to thank for setting the modern day action mould for female heroines. Redefining the perception of women in action movies, Ripley turned the tables on the notion that female characters are emotionally weak. Squaring off against unimaginable terrors from the farthest reaches of space and refusing to be a victim, Ripley continues to be is one of cinema’s most iconic heroes.
The Bride, ‘Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2’
Quentin Tarantino knows how to write a female action hero. In “Kill Bill”, he loads his movie up with ass-kicking ladies, namely Beatrix Kiddo aka The Bride (Uma Thurman) who boasts a kill count of 76. Her most formidable foe? Another killer female, Lucy Liu’s O-ren Ishi. Their battle of swords and wits is one of the greatest cinematic action sequences of all time.
Kate Beckinsale’s Selene has evolved over her three on-screen appearances in the “Underworld” franchise. A beautiful warrior caught up in the eternal war between vampires and werewolves, Selene is out to destroy all monsters, even if it means killing her own kind in the name of vengeance. The fight never ends for lone warrior Selene: she’ll be back in 2017 in “Underworld: Blood Wars”.
Purple-haired pre-teen Mindy Macready is as fierce as they come, taking out bad guys and backing up her BFF Kick-A$$. A master of the martial arts who was trained by her vigilante father, Hit-Girl is the smartest and deadliest 11-year-old in the school yard.
Trinity, ‘The Matrix’
Neo has Trinity to thank for having his back in “The Matrix”. A computer hacker and programmer, Carrie-Anne Moss’s Trinity is responsible for guiding Neo around the Matrix with her excellent combat training and intelligence. It may have been nearly 20 years since we last saw Trinity, but there's no doubt she'll be up to her old kick-ass ways in "The Matrix 4" in 2021.
Hanna Heller, ‘Hanna’
A trained assassin, Hanna Heller is a coolly calculating 15-year-old raised in the wilderness by an ex-CIA father who values hand-to-hand combat skills as much as he does intelligence. Saoirse Ronan’s Hanna may lack social skills, but she more than makes up for it in her deadly force when it comes to the ruthless intelligence officer (Cate Blanchett) who pursues her.
Sarah Connor, ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’
Lions Gate Films
From stealing cop cars to battling killer robots all while raising a teenage son, Sarah Connor is the 1990’s ideal female action hero. Buffed up and ready for action, Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor is the literal definition of a strong female character.
Rita Vrataski, ‘Edge Of Tomorrow’
As the Angel of Verdun, Emily Blunt’s Rita Vrataski is the true hero of “Edge Of Tomorrow”. Conquering aliens with ease and acting as a symbol of hope for a beleaguered human race, Vrataski’s unwavering heroics on the battlefield and dedication to stemming an alien invasion make her one of the silver screen’s most kick-a** characters – male or female.
Catwoman, ‘Batman Returns’
Michelle Pfeiffer. Halle Berry. Anne Hathaway. Each Catwoman who has graced the big screen has put her own unique spin on the heroine who walks a fine line between good and bad. Pfeiffer played the part perfectly as the leather-and-vinyl clad villainess who is as seductive as she is dangerous, setting the gold standard for Berry and Hathaway.
Lara Croft, ‘Lara Croft: Tomb Raider’
Strong and sexy, Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft was the epitome of the early 2000’s action heroine. Dedicated to taking down the notorious Illuminati, archaeologist Croft uses her smarts and athletic ability to defeat her enemies. With a worldwide box office of $275 million, “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” proved that audiences would flock to a female-led action movie.
Katniss Everdeen, ‘The Hunger Games’
Jennifer Lawrence may fight for humanity in the “X-Men” franchise, but it’s as Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games” where she kicks the most a**. Loyal to a fault and armed with her trusty bow, Katniss isn’t just a hero, she’s a leader in a war against the oppressive ruling class, earning the trust and support of the masses as she becomes their symbol of hope and freedom.
Princess Leia, ‘Star Wars’
Leave it to the only woman on the planet to eschew the conventions of royalty. This is no helpless space damsel in distress. Leia is just as comfortable using a blaster to take out the enemy as she is using her diplomacy to ease tensions on the Millennium Falcon. Say what you will about her slave bikini outfit, Leia still manages to choke the life out of Jabba the Hutt with the chains that bind her while wearing next to nothing. Thanks to the most recent "Star Wars" trilogy, we know the Princess became one of the galaxy’s most respected leaders as the founder and general of the Resistance against the First Order. While it hurts to say goodbye to a legend, her send-off in "The Rise Of Skywalker" was a fitting tribute to the ultimate female action hero.