After a five year hiatus, Kate Beckinsale will be returning to the big screen as the Death Dealer Selene this Friday in ‘Underworld: Awakening’. The anticipation of seeing one of the most kick ass female heroines ever to grace the big screen had me thinking: just who are those females that can take it to the baddies just as good as their male counterparts? This is a list that could have gone on for quite sometime but only eight (including Selene, of course) make the list. So without further adieu, here are the top 5 sci-fi movie heroines and just how they stood out in a sea of phenomenal women (in no particular order).
Selene – Kate Beckinsale (‘Underworld’)
Her Story: She’s the baddest of the Death Dealers, the vampire special ops group formed to hunt and kill lycans, the vampires’ sworn enemies. With an array of silver spitting weapons at her disposal and some serious form fitting wardrobe, Selene sends her enemies to the afterlife with a Matrix-like verve. Never one to back down, she breaks custom to waken Viktor, her maker when things fall apart, falling in love Michael, a lycan/werewolf hybrid, and even killing Viktor to save Michael. All in all, Selene is not afraid to go against the grain or face the progenitor of her entire species.
Bad Ass Moment: There are quite a few to choose from but the most memorable was the least action oriented part but set the tone for the first ‘Underworld’. Perched high atop a building as her voice over explains a bit about the vampire/lycan war, Selene jumps from the building and lands with nary a sound, as if she were two feet off the ground instead of two hundred. It was at this point that I knew we were in for a seriously fun ride.
Ellen Ripley – Siguorney Weaver (‘Alien’ Saga)
Her Story: One of the first major female heroines, Ripley came to the scene in Ridley Scott’s 1979 space horror ‘Alien’. Battling frayed nerves, homicidal androids, and a monstrous alien with two mouths and concentrated acid for blood, she was the only survivor of the Sulaco. After 50 plus years of floating in space, she was at it again in ‘Aliens’, the 1986 sequel. If surviving one wasn’t enough, surviving an entire colony with space marines dying on either side of you has to say something. She was present in the two lackluster sequels but the first two movies of the franchise set Ellen Ripley as someone not even an alien queen should mess with.
Bad Ass Moment: After escaping LV-426 before blowing the colony to hell at the tail end of ‘Aliens’, Ripley amicably converses with the android Bishop moments before he’s skewered by the alien queen who just happened to tag along in their escape. Knowing she stands no chance against the pissed off mother alien, Ripley dons the freight mech suit used for hauling equipment. When the alien has Newt trapped, Ripley roars to the rescue with her own motherly anger. “Get away from her, you bitch!” she demands before putting the smack down on the alien queen.
Sarah Connor – Linda Hamilton (‘Terminator’ franchise)
Her Story: One of the most loved franchises of all time, Sarah Connor was nothing more than a twenty-something waitress struggling through life. That is, until the Terminator came looking for her. Her protector, Kyle Reese, tells her of a desolate future where her son, John, is the only one keeping a frayed humanity from completely breaking. After her harrowing experience against the first terminator and losing the love of her life, she takes the fight to Skynet in ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’. No longer the naïve lass of the first movie, the new Sarah Connor is a whipcord of muscle and toughness sprinkled with a bit of instability as she tries to prevent a future where our human race fights extinction.
Bad Ass Moment: Surprisingly enough, the young Sarah has the defining moment for her character through the sequel (and television series). Alone and injured as the relentless machine crawls after her, Sarah traps it under a machine press. Frantically reaching for her, Sarah finds the controls to the press and delivers the ultimate line. “You’re terminated, f*****r,” she exclaims before flattening the terminator to leftover scrap.
Trinity – Carrie Ann Moss (‘The Matrix’ trilogy)
Her Story: As a part of the focal point of one of the most innovative movies of all-time, Trinity has become synonymous with the unique aspects of ‘The Matrix’. Not only that, but she was Neo’s center, his one true love. Calling him back from death in the first movie and spurring him on in defeating Mr. Smith, Trinity was also responsible for several choices The Chosen One made that may or may not have been destiny. With that said, there is no mistaking her abilities to kick ass on her own with fists, feet and firearms.
Bad Ass Moment: Like several on the list, Trinity has quite a few moments that scream WTF but probably her best remains our first introduction to The Matrix. Surrounded by cops, Trinity defies gravity kicking ass and, with the use of some exquisite cinematography, her lotus flower pose before unleashing her feet of fury is a moment that will be etched in time. And film.
Alice – Milla Jovovich (‘Resident Evil’ franchise)
Her Story: Waking up with no memory of who you are or what’s going on around you can’t be fun. Couple that with being thrown in a meat grinder of zombies and other more mutated monstrosities and you have Alice’s first day in Raccoon City. Written specifically for the movies, Alice is integral to the mythology of the ‘Resident Evil’ story and the nefarious Umbrella Corporations ultimate goal. Though she has help from video game alums Chris & Claire Redfield, Jill Valentine, Carlos Oliveira and others, Alice remains the featured attraction in a surprisingly good video game turned movie franchise.
Bad Ass Moment: In truth, Alice’s moments of bad assery could be catalogued into its own separate list. After all, she’s spent the better part of four movies kicking zombie ass. So what better moment could there be than having multiple Alices storming Umbrella Corp headquarters in search of Wesker to bring down those responsible for the T-virus. With a healthy thanks to technology, we see Alice x 10 or so cutting down Umbrella’s private army like tiny bits of kindling with swords, sub-machine guns, and good old fashioned telekinesis. It’s quite the ride and while some parts may be a bit too fantastic for the reality-based viewer, fans of sci-fi, ‘Resident Evil’, or females who know how to bring the pain will be reaching for popcorn with smiles on their faces.
P.S. Don’t Forget these Feisty Females
Though this list can be argued, one thing that goes without saying is a top five is almost too small a list. Included below are a few others who, while not quite making the primary list, are no doubt in the conversation for bad ass female heroines.
Princess Leia – Carrie Fisher (‘Star Wars’)
What list would be complete without at least a mention of Princess Leia? Not only did she stand up to storm troopers, Grand Moffs, and mynocks, she faced down the iconic of villains, Darth Vader, with a puffed out chest and raised chin. Crazy enough to rescue her love Han from one of the worst gangsters in the galaxy, her strength and character was a driving force behind the Rebellion in its ultimate overthrow of the Empire. It also doesn’t hurt that she choked out Jabba the Hutt with his own chain.
River Tam – Summer Glau (‘Serenity’)
Probably the least known of the list, River was the unstable sister to Simon and a part of Mal’s Serenity crew. Though she was left in the background for much of the television show, her kick ass abilities were front and center for the feature length adaptation. Whether it was blasting baddies without looking or taking on an army of Reavers, River Tam is one to reckon.
Hit-Girl – Chloe Moretz (‘Kick-Ass’)
Definitely the youngest lady of the group, the foul mouthed, hyper-violent Hit-Girl stormed the scene in the movie adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name. Using guns, blades, martial arts and her own brand of parkour, Hit-Girl was just that, a hit, from the first time she showed up on the screen. It’s hard not to root for a ten year old taking out the criminals like so much garbage. Especially one that knows how to quip with the best of them.