I really don’t understand this furor over women in leads. What’s wrong with that? Somehow righteous indignation, combined with an unhealthy dose of entitlement, has made people think their opinions matter. Many are reveling in the glee that Ghostbusters is not doing as well as expected. They seem convinced they have stopped a plague or discovered a new source of energy.
No, you are just an asshole who wasted your precious time on Earth griping over a film that was going to happen with or without your consent. Thinking that its failure is some kind of victory is pretty sad and pathetic, about as much as suddenly rediscovering your devotion for an Eighties franchise. Get a life.
Anyway, women are slowly starting to win, so here’s a quick look at some of the best in recent years…
- The Long Kiss Goodnight
Geena Davis has been floating around television roles lately, but she was a big deal in movies up to the mid 90s. The Long Kiss Goodnight was her pioneering role as a strong female lead in an action movie. It pulled no punches – and neither did she.
You could call Angelina Jolie’s rogue agent a spiritual successor to Long Kiss. Again, no soft blows, no cliches – just outright alpha animal danger. Evelyn Salt could kick Jason Bourne’s ass. We should breed them and create the next Bond.
- The Heat
The world would never, ever go for a female buddy cop movie, they said! Then Jennifer McCarthy and Sandra Bullock crushed it. This is especially nice for Bullock, who really has been quite subversive in getting strong female roles more noticed.
- Basic Instinct
On the one hand you can call this an outright exploitation of women. On the other, Sharon Stone’s character totally plays everyone for a fool. There is no doubt who the strongest character was in this film.
- Kill Bill
Japanese culture still looks down heavily on women, so it is interesting that their films often feature female characters who destroy convention. Lady Snowblood, the inspiration of Kill Bill, was essentially a geisha who could avenge herself because nobody even thought she’d be up to it. But Kill Bill took that to a whole new level. Quentin Tarantino even gave the lead a totally effeminate and subservient name: – ‘The Bride’ – and then went on to make that a more chilling nickname than even ‘black mamba’ or ‘copperhead’.
You know what is great about this film’s lead? Ripley is not attractive or nice. She’s cold and annoying. Frankly everyone else outside of the robot would have been preferred by the audience. And yet she manages to rise to the top and defeat a really nasty space bug. This movie destroyed kowtowing to gender cliches so much, it made her as irreplaceable as the monster she fought.
- The Terminator
At face value Sarah Conner is a useless, weeping waitress with a killer robot chasing her down. Yes, a lot of her survival was thinks to Kyle Reese’s guerrilla tactics. But we’d all be overwhelmed if Arnold showed up and tried to kill us. Yet let’s not forget it was Sarah who not only kicked Kyle’s ass into action when he was about to fade, but she defeated the robot. By the second film Sarah was practically Rambo.
News headline: heavily pregnant, understaffed police officer busts kidnap conspiracy ring all on her own.
- Resident Evil
Who kicks zombie ass? Who keeps the Umbrella Corp awake at night? Who laughs at your poor reviews as money rains from the box office sky? Hint: they don’t have a Y chromosome…
- True Grit
The original True Grit ignored most of the book’s subtext, making it more about a last hurrah for John Wayne. But the newer adaptation gets back to the heart of it: the true grit is not from the gunslinger or the marshal, but a teenage girl hellbent on avenging her father and seeing justice done. Don’t f*** with Mattie Ross – she will destroy you.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Critical Hit as an organisation.
Last Updated: August 19, 2016