Action Heroine Fans discussion

General discussions > Action heroines in TV/movies

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message 1: by Werner (last edited Sep 02, 2009 03:18PM) (new)

Werner | 1522 comments Several of us, in posting on another thread, have mentioned action heroines of movies or TV. That's natural, because written fiction and filmed drama are media that often influence each other, and often use the other as sources for adaptations and spin-offs; and anybody who's a fan of action heroines in one format is apt to like them in the other as well. (I certainly do! :-)) So, I'm creating this thread as a place to discuss any and all of the butt-kicking ladies of the silver screen, and TV land. (As soon as I get time, I'll post a plug for some of my own favorites.)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments Don't get me started. I love action heroines. Here's my long list

Selene from Underworld movies
Charlie Baltimore from The Long Kiss Goodnight
Jordan (I can't remember her name) from Cutthroat Island
Lex Woods from Aliens Versus Predator
Ellen Ripley from Aliens
Alice from Resident Evil movies
Jill Valentine from Resident Evil: Apocalypse
Gena Rowlands from Gloria
River from Serenity (I love the scene when she takes on all the Reavers)
Michelle Yeoh from a lot of her Hong Kong action movies
Shu Qi's character in So Close
Maggie Q's character in Naked Weapon
Angela Bassett's character in Strange Days and Supernova
Violet from Ultraviolet

I'll stop and let someone else get some in. Then I'll do my tv action heroines. Are you regretting asking the question yet? ;)

message 3: by Jim (last edited Sep 02, 2009 05:05PM) (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Mrs. Peal from the Avengers
Zevha (sp?) from NCIS
Angelina Jolie as Mrs. Smith in Mr & Mrs Smith
Jennifer Garner as Elektra
Kristy Swanson as Buffy the Vampire Slayer - the movie. I never cared for the TV series.
Raquel Welsh as... was it Mrs. Sundance where she learned how to shoot & killed a bunch of bad guys? Some old western.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments Great list, Jim. While we're at it, Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow on Alias. I loved that character!

message 5: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) I only saw part of an "Alias" or two. If I don't get in early on a series like that, I generally try to stay away from it.

I liked & agreed with a lot of your list, too. Definitely the Alien & Resident Evils were favorites, along with all the girls of the Firefly crew. That series & movie are tops!!!

I have to admit I like Mal the best, though. He doesn't give long speeches, he shoots! The Great Train Robbery was one of the first episodes I saw & when he kicks that guy into the ship's engine after he offers the money back & the guy says no, well, it just clinched the series for me. It was perfect!

message 6: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 67 comments Jim its Ziva from NCIS.

Zoe from Firefly was very cool, a female Mal :)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments I love Mal. But that's another story. The Great Train Robbery was a great episode. Also Shindig. I am still mad they canceled that show! Zoe was awesome. I didn't do my tv list, but she'd be on there.

Jim I highly recommend Alias. If you get a chance to watch it from the beginning. Sydney is a one of a kind character. She's not too hard, and not too soft.

message 8: by Werner (last edited Sep 03, 2009 06:49AM) (new)

Werner | 1522 comments Jim, in answer to your question, the Raquel Welch film you're thinking of is Hannie Caulder (1971); she gets revenge on three sadistic outlaws who killed her husband and raped her. The full title of the movie you mentioned is Mrs. Sundance Rides Again (1976), which is set about ten years after Butch and Sundance were killed; it stars Katharine Ross as Etta Place, who joins a romantically-attracted Pancho Villa in an adventure involving gun-running. (Of course, she's an outlaw in that one --but just because a lady happens to be an outlaw doesn't mean she can't be a heroine. :-)) Those happen to be two of the action heroine movies that I've actually seen --I like the motif, but haven't delved into it as much as I'd like. So, no, Danielle, I don't regret opening the floodgates --I'm glad to get ideas for future viewing! :-)

A lot of the heroines mentioned above are ones I've only heard of (and a few I haven't), and not seen, but I'll echo Jim's endorsement of Emma Peal in The Avengers; as a teen, she was one of the influences that got me interested in this type of character. (Maybe I had a bit of a crush on her. :-)) The other influence was the old series Charlie's Angels --though I discovered that one after Farrah had been replaced by Cheryl Ladd, so I was always more of a fan of Sabrina (I remembered Kate Jackson fondly from Dark Shadows). And I'm a big fan of Buffy, both in her movie incarnation and in the series (though I've only got to see some episodes of the latter in syndication, and I like the earlier seasons better than the later ones).

My personal favorites are, from movies:

Angelina Jolie's Lady Croft in the two Tomb Raider films (I don't play computer games, so those were my first introduction to the character).
Brigid Nilsson in the title role of Red Sonja. (That character was created in a story by Robert E. Howard --he spelled the name "Sonya"-- which I haven't read, but I understand that there, she lived in historical times. The movie makes her a contemporary, and worthy peer, of Conan.)

And, from TV:

Xena, Warrior Princess (okay, she wasn't a princess --but who cared? :-))
Peta Wilson's La Femme Nikita in the series with that name.

Not all of these movies/programs are cinematic masterpieces (Hollywood writers in this genre don't always really respect their material, or their audience); the plot of Red Sonja, for instance, has logical holes big enough to drive a truck through. But they succeed as well as they do because they bring to vivid life female characters who aren't just skilled fighters; they're also caring and decent women who have some good moral values that they hold onto even in very difficult situations --in short, heroines you can respect and admire.

message 9: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Thanks, Werner. How could I confuse Katharine Ross & Raquel Welsh?!!! Well, not to surprising I got a couple of westerns from 30 years or more ago mixed up, I guess.

I had a crush on ALL the pretty girls. Barbara Eden, Elizabeth Montgomery, the Gabors, etc... Yeah, I'm easy.

I can't recall Red Sonya (Sonja) in the Conan books. I think she was a Conan Comic creation, but I'm not positive. The only two, kick-ass heroines I recall were Belit (Queen of the Black Coast) & Valleria (Red Nails). There could have been more, but mostly Howard kept the women as damsels in distress.

message 10: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 67 comments Jim wrote: "Thanks, Werner. How could I confuse Katharine Ross & Raquel Welsh?!!! Well, not to surprising I got a couple of westerns from 30 years or more ago mixed up, I guess.

I had a crush on ALL the pre..."

Red Sonya appears only in a historical story by REH thats very different from her comic,movie versions. Marvel just took her name and created a different character with different name.

I have the story she appears in Lord Samarcand collection Crusade,oriental historical stories.

message 11: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Mohammed wrote: "...I have the story she appears in Lord Samarcand collection Crusade,oriental historical stories."

Ah! Now it comes back. I have the book "The Sowers of Thunder" & it has a story in it with her, I think. Was it her that helped hold the walls of Vienna? Was she the sister of Roxanne, the Sultan's favorite? It's been too many years since I read that.

message 12: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) Katee Sackoff as Starbuck from BSG
Jessica Alba as Max from Dark Angel
Yancy Butler in Witchblade

message 13: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1522 comments I was a Witchblade fan, too! If I'd been writing it, there were some elements I'd have done a bit differently --I especially thought it strained credibility that in the end all of the subplots were shown to be tied to the Witchblade artifact. But it had a lot of good aspects, and I really liked Sarah as a person. It would have been nice to see her grow over time, and I thought the ending of the season was a great set-up for a new one --and then they canceled it!

message 14: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) I couldn't remember the character's name. Sarah.
They're always cancelling good shows. Same for Dark Angel, left us with a great set up for a new season and then GONE!

message 15: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) I'd never heard of Witch Blade (Yes, I live under a rock. Nice rock!) so I looked it up. Looks really interesting. There was apparently an anime series on TV as well.

message 16: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) It was based on the comicbook. It was on TNT channel or USA. I get them confused, one is 27 and the other is 28. And it was a while ago, LOL
The woman who played Sarah was definitely a 'kick ass first, ask questions later' kind of girl. She had a husky voice and sometimes, the look in her eye, you knew she was all about results. Very good casting, she was so believable as the Witchblade wielder. The story was good too; the blade was connected to her in various incarnations.

message 17: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) Jackie wrote: "Katee Sackoff as Starbuck from BSG
Jessica Alba as Max from Dark Angel
Yancy Butler in Witchblade

You beat me to it! :P

Three of my favorites as well.

message 18: by Jon (last edited Sep 06, 2009 06:51AM) (new)

Jon (jonmoss) Small Screen Ladies:
Seven of Nine from ST:Voyager
Ensign Ro from ST:TNG
Six when she took out Michelle Forbes on the Pegasus (who played Ensign Ro previously) in BSG

Silver Screen Ladies:
Ripley from Aliens (I watch this movie anytime it's airs and I can catch it)
Leia from Episode IV
Lara Croft from Tomb Raider (both movies)

message 19: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) Seven of Nine! How could I forget her? Bad Jackie!
She was the only reason ST:Voyager was so good!

message 20: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) Ack! I forgot one!

Valeria - Conan's girlfriend from the movie Conan the Barbarian

message 21: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) I liked Valeria as she was portrayed in "Red Nails" one of the 3 stories in "Conan the Warrior". That was probably my favorite book of the whole Conan series.

message 22: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) Agreed, Jim, but since this topic specifically requests TV/Movie characters, I limited myself to non-literary sources. :P

message 23: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) You're right, Jon. Sorry to go off topic, but as a girl, how did you think Howard did with Valeria in the book? I thought it was pretty good for his time & all.

message 24: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) I'll need to re-read that short story. It's been months since I did. I do remember liking that story, but for some reason I'm not remembering many of the details. I still have the anthology with that story in it, so I can read it today.

message 25: by Werner (last edited May 28, 2021 08:19PM) (new)

Werner | 1522 comments Valeria in "Red Nails" rocks! The scriptwriters for Conan the Barbarian, I think, didn't really so much copy the print character as lift her name to paste on their own warrior woman character. The latter is suitably brave and tough; but I didn't think she was developed deeply --of course, usually none of these women are really developed deeply, alas! :-)-- and her "If he dies, you die!" threat (to the healer to whom she takes the wounded Conan) gives her character a ruthless streak that makes her harder for me to warm up to. Personally, I liked the female warrior played by Grace Jones in the sequel, Conan the Destroyer, better; I forget the character's name --if the writers also lifted that name from the stories, they probably called her Belit, even though here she's not Conan's love interest. :-) She has no trouble projecting the obvious physical strength the role requires (though I have my doubts whether any human being has a strong enough arm to hurl a spear through an enemy at the range she did!).

Speaking of the fighting ladies of on-screen swords- and-sorcery, has anybody seen the movie Willow, starring Val Kilmer? His love interest there, Sorsha, played by Joanne Whalley, definitely deserves a mention here. (Like Xena, she's a good example of a dynamic character, a woman who develops ethically and turns from the side of evil to the side of good --without losing any of her fighting spirit in the process.)

message 26: by Werner (last edited May 28, 2021 08:24PM) (new)

Werner | 1522 comments There's also a novelization of Willow (which I actually read before I saw the film). It's Willow, written by Canadian author Wayland Drew; my review is here: .

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments Jackie wrote: "I couldn't remember the character's name. Sarah.
They're always cancelling good shows. Same for Dark Angel, left us with a great set up for a new season and then GONE! "

They cancel all the good sci-fi/fantasy shows. Witchblade was great. I loved Ian Nottingham.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments BunWat wrote: "I love Willow, its one of my favorite movies! Sorcha is her name. Kilmer and Whalley married each other after filming Willow and you can see it in their performances I think, that its not just th..."

Willow is a great movie. I thought Sorcha was an interesting character. You could see she was very conflicted.

message 29: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) Werner,
Scifi/fantasy doesn't do well in the ratings. I find that odd, I mean, what else is TV but escapism? I wish the scifi channel wuld get some more original series going.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments SciFi channel went downhill. I get sad watching it and comparing it to the older days. I wish they would come out with another, better sci/fi and fantasy channel.

message 31: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1522 comments I'm not sure why SF/fantasy doesn't fare so well in the TV series format(although Star Trek certainly became popular enough, and spawned quite a few spin-offs) --certainly movies in those genres do very well, so the problem isn't inherent in the dramatic medium, as compared to print! Successful TV shows usually have a strong, appealing cast of characters with good chemistry between them (which the Star Trek shows mostly did); maybe the problem is that TV scriptwriters in those genres haven't usually delivered that, in most of the other shows they've tried. (Though that's just a guess; what with my work schedule, I haven't watched many of them lately.)

message 32: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) Hollywood doesn't care about anything but the bottom line. So whatever sells advertising is what gets the go ahead. And, they almost always target the 18 to 25 demographic (why I don't know).

Anymore, if I don't/can't avoid the advertising, and the program quality is subpar, I'd just rather spend my time reading a book, which usually doesn't include any loud, obnoxious, or pop-up ads (at least in paper medium).

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments You are so right, Jon. We are not the target audience. It's a sad, true fact. I have just about given up on network tv anyway. I watch more TLC, Discovery, Food Network, History Channel, Cartoon Network than anything else. I'll also watch TNT and USA for the tv show reruns and movies. Books are more up my alley nowadays.

message 34: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Besides agreeing with what Jon said, I also think SF & Fantasy movies are hard to make because they portray what the director thinks the world is like, which is often not how I imagined things.

Take Conan, for example. I started reading it when I was 7 or 8. My picture of Conan came from the front cover art painted by Frank Frazetta. I was at least in my 30's, if not my 40's when Arnie played Conan. Sorry Arnie, but even you can't measure up to Frank's picture that has been in my head for decades.

CGI, animation & all the nifty tricks of film have gotten better, but none are as good as the production I have running in the space between my ears.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments Good point, Jim.

I think a big problem is that movie and tv-show makers feel they have to simplify and dumb down concepts for the audience. It usually takes all the ingenuity and the creativity out of the subject matter, IMHO.

message 36: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1522 comments Wow, it's been awhile since I posted on this group! I did think of a couple more ladies who definitely deserve a mention, both from movies. One is Sandra Bullock's FBI agent character, Gracie, in Miss Congeniality. She's smart, good-hearted, and handles herself really well in dangerous situations; and her character grows as a person in the course of the film. (My only quibble was that the writers should have given her a lot better romantic interest --if you could call him romantic!-- than the oaf she got. :-)) There's also a sequel, but I haven't seen that one.

The other is the title character (played by Nastassja Kinski) of the 2004 made-for-TV movie La Femme Musketeer. If you haven't seen this one, I highly recommend it. It's set about a generation after the heydey of the original Three Musketeers, when D'Artagnan's daughter and the sons of his companions have to face off against the skullduggery of Cardinal Mazarin, Richelieu's protege. (It's no more historically accurate than most Muskeeters movies --but since when do Musketeers fans care? :-))

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments I strongly agree with you about Gracie's love interest, Werner. She deserved much better.

message 38: by Jackie (last edited Oct 20, 2009 11:20AM) (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) Romy on Andromeda, played by Lexa Doig. Now that's one kick ass and take no prisoners kind of girl! Beka too, on Adromeda. I don't know who played her. but Romy could take Beka any say of the week. Hell, Romy could take anyone.

message 39: by Mohammed (last edited Dec 14, 2009 05:01AM) (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 67 comments Good SF show can be a hit, BSG showed that. You just need quality writing week after another.

Which is what people that do SF in american tv cant do.

They use to in 90s,early 2000s.

SF cant survive on big Network tv though. No genre does except Crime,comedy,drama.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments I loved Romy! Beka was a bit annoying at times, but she was cool. Trance has some mystique going for her. Turned out she was pretty lethal, wasn't she?

You're right Mohammed. It's really hard for sci-fi to keep its foothold on network tv. Fringe is good, though. I like the female agent on there. Can't remember her name right now.

message 41: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) Walter annoyed me, I couldn't take his half mad ramblings. Peter had no defined role except babysitter. Just mentioning The Pattern but no explanations didn't pique my curiosity, it just pissed me off. I didn't want to get involved in yet another show that only gives half answers and more questions. And with the way they cancel sci fi on primetime network, I didn't want to be left hanging when they decide to pull the plug. So I quit catching Fringe after a few episodes. I've heard that it's gotten better but still haven't found the time or the interest to watch it. I'll probably catch it in reruns someday if it runs it full course and has a real series finale.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments I asked for Season 1 for Christmas, because I got very behind. It's a weird show, but I got sucked in, although I can't watch it regularly. I can see where you're coming from. It's a risk getting involved in a sci-fi show. I think Peter's role is expanding significantly.

message 43: by Jackie (last edited Dec 14, 2009 07:35AM) (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) That's what I heard, so that helps in getting me to watch it sooner. They should have done it sooner, I may have stuck with it. I should think I wasn't the only one who had a problem with Peter's babysitting duties.

I annoys me that sci fi is so iffy on TV. About 5 years ago or so, I was thrilled because 3 new scifi shows came on network and jumped into them all. Of course they got cancelled, one in the middle of the season, so I had no answers, the other two at that end of the season but they ended on cliffhangers. WTH? I wasted my time completely on those shows. I decided never to do that again. I don't know why they have to write everything this way, tantalizing bits of info, more questions and big cliffhangers. It'd be one thing if they knew 100% they were coming back for a new season. I hate to be left hanging like that.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments I hate when they end shows on cliffhangers and then cancel them. That is so rude and so wrong!

message 45: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) I know it! You'd think they would have a wrap up episode in the event of cancellation since it's such a strong possibility.

message 47: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1522 comments Jackie and Danielle, I agree that those kinds of abrupt cancellations are a pain! Of course, there's also the cases where the producers think a show will be cancelled, air a final wrap-up episode --and then learn that the program was renewed for next year. :-) That happened with both Xena and La Femme Nikita. (Of course, in the latter case, they'd tried to pull out a "surprise ending" that wasn't really consistent with the character they'd created --it had my oldest daughter standing up yelling "No! No! No!" at the screen, and I even sent them an indignant e-mail to complain :-)-- so the additional season gave them a chance to try to repair the damage.)

It's nice to see this group having some renewed activity! Of course, our activity usually comes in spurts. As moderator, I don't post as often as I probably should; but I like so many types of reading I don't get around to this genre as much as I'd like, so often don't have anything new to contribute.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments The worst series ender ever...Forever Knight. That was soooooo depressing!

Worst cliffhanger ever that ended with cancellation...2000 Malibu Road. Or maybe it's a tie with The Lost World TV show.

message 49: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) A co-worker & I were just discussing how network continuance or cancellation seems to make such a huge impact on TV series. When the shows go into limbo, the writing often does too. They mark time, explore sub plots that may or may not go anywhere. Sometimes they get so convoluted that I get lost.

Worst is when a show thinks it is canceled & then gets another season, though. Often they've wound things up & restart with new plot lines that break the internal logic of the original.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 360 comments That makes a lot of sense, Jim. People think that's what happened with Buffy. When they switched networks, it changed the flow of the show. But ultimately, I thought it came out alright, except I disliked how they made Willow the most important character. The show is called Buffy the Vampire Slayer, not Willow The Awesome Witch. Sorry. I went on a tangent there. LOL.

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