10 Best Female Action Movies of All Time

It’s easy for the action film industry to be dominated by male machismo and the advent of descriptives like ‘testosterone-fueled’ speaks for the point that female action cinematic outings are few and far between. I personally don’t apply gender issues in the black-and-white way that has seen ham handed projects like Ghostbusters take root but thankfully the demand for empowerment and representation (as well as just plain-old creativity) has also led to some fine films. Here are the 10 best female action movies.


10. Columbiana

Zoe Saldana is an actress forced into supporting the majority of the time and it’s fantastic to see a throttled performer allowed to flex the best of their abilities in a stand-alone work, particularly someone as enigmatic in their power to perform as Saldana. Her work in the recent ‘Columbiana’ is by no means transformative, though it’s always refreshing to see a star afforded an opportunity like this and the film itself does well in holding our attention.


9. The Quick & the Dead

A shamefully underseen western from the ‘90s, fun, fast and quite honestly more worth your time than the languid repetitions that plague Clint Eastwood’s ‘Unforgiven’ — the Quick & the Dead has been shrouded by time but its intriguing take on the genre with a woman’s touch (this time resting behind the barrel of a gun, rather than at the mercy of it like in Once Upon a Time in the West).


8. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Ang Lee’s wire-fu classic sees an acrobatic approach to the martial art movie, subverting the hard-hewn ferocity of a full frontal fight with more poetic, emotive dances over great stretches of space. Lee instilled each battle with a subtext woven into the characters relationships which added a layer of richness to the screen’s already compelling encounters. Not to say I adored ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’- though to deny Lee the respect he deserves for crafting something new and challenging with such confidence would be to ignore how this film’s production probably helped pave the way for him tackling the masterful ‘Brokeback Mountain’.


7. Kick-Ass 

Kick-Ass may be about Aaron Taylor Johnson’s eponymous DIY-hero, but the star is doubtlessly Hit-Girl. Chloe Grace Mortez’s foul-mouthed teen laced every scene she got to work in with glorious ultra-violence and kicked up quite a storm with the media and promotion of the flick at the time. Even today, her classic character continues to act as the shining poster-child for the now sadly spent franchise


6. Mad Max: Fury Road

I didn’t go nuts of George Miller’s most recent addition to the Mad Max franchise, though the aesthetic of Miller’s work was stunning and its vibrant orange colour-palette made way for a gas-guzzling joyride of a caper set against one of the most uniquely gorgeous landscapes of 2015. Max himself took a backseat to Furiosa, much to the adulation of audiences happy to see more representation.

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