Top 10 Awesome Female Action Heroes


I recently went to see Paul Feig's Ghostbusters reboot with my ten year old daughter. She loves action films (particularly those movies within the Marvel universe) and we both really enjoyed the film. 


However, something she said afterwards got me thinking:


"Wasn't it great that they were all girls, Mummy!"


I couldn't agree more. What a shame that a female led action movie should be so rare (and so controversial). For, while 2016's Ghostbusters may not have satisfied every viewer, it certainly passed (okay, smashed) the Bechdel test. 


I do hope that my daughter gets to enjoy many more all female action movies. 

There is certainly a movie audience out there hungry for more films with strong female leads... characters like these top ten awesome female action heroes


Top 10 Female Action Heroes

10. Rita Vrataski - Live. Die. Repeat

In Edge Of Tomorrow: Live. Die. Repeat, Emily Blunt kicks some serious A as uber soldier, Rita Vrataski.


Not only is she far tougher than Tom Cruise's Cage, but she gets to kill him over and over again - for the good of all humanity, of course.


Blunt really shows her range in this movie. Indeed, she can morph into any role from spiky fashionista in The Devil Wears Prada to idealistic FBI agent in Sicario.


I am really looking forward to seeing her in more action roles - after she is finished being Mary Poppins that is!


9. Ilsa Faust - Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Is it just me or was Rebecca Ferguson's Ilsa Faust by far the most interesting character in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation? 


I love the way that we are never quite sure of her intentions and that she more than holds her own - even while wearing a ridiculously long dress and crazy heels (that wardrobe choice still annoys me).


I would love to see a spin off movie about Faust - her back story, what she did next and how she learned to ride a bike like such a ninja.


Click here for my review of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.


8. Rey - Star Wars: The Force Awakens

One of the most impressive things about Star Wars: The Force Awakens is how perfectly director, J.J. Abrams, mixed his new heroes with the franchise's older, beloved cast.


The new characters could easily have become overshadowed by the old. Thankfully, this was far from the case. 


Rey is a wonderful new addition to the Star Wars universe. She is a great role model for girls (and, of course, boys) being, as she is, a strong, capable and independent young women. 


I can't wait for the next chapter in Rey's story - will we finally learn the secret of her true parentage?


Click here for me review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens


7. Mako Mori - Pacific Rim

Guillermo del Toro's 2013 action movie, Pacific Rim, was widely criticized on its release. The problem? The film's lack of female characters.  


However, defenders of the movie point to Rinko Kikuchi's Mako Mori as evidence that this is, in fact, a film that feminists can get behind. 


Indeed, Mori has become a film test of her own. The Mako Mori Test asks three key questions of a movie. Does it have at least one female character? Does that character get her own narrative arc? And, finally, is that narrative arc separate from (ie not supporting) a man's story?


I love Pacific Rim and believe that Mori is the strongest, most interesting character in the entire film.


Click here for my review of Pacific Rim


6. Natasha Romanoff - The Avengers / Captain America

Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow (aka Natasha Romanoff), is one of my favourite characters in the Marvel Universe.


She never ceases to impress both in her innovative fight scenes and in her ability (particularly in Captain America: Winter Soldier and The Avengers) to manage the male egos that surround her. 


I do hope that she is allowed room to explore her character (with its truly heartbreaking backstory) in more depth. I think this is way past due, don't you?


Click here for my review of Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Click here for my review of Captain America: Civil War


5. Imperator Furiosa - Mad Max: Fury Road

George Miller's 2015 action epic may be called Mad Max: Fury Road, but it is, in fact, Furiosa's story that lies at the heart of this action packed film.  


Charlize Theron is just superb in this powerful and iconic role. In any apocalyptic battle for survival, you want certainly want Furiosa on your side.


Click here for my review of Mad Max: Fury Road


4. Katniss Everdeen - The Hunger Games

Katniss Everdeen is proof (if ever it were needed) that a strong, independent female character can lead a popular action movie franchise to phenomenal critical and box office success.


Powerfully played across four films by Jennifer Lawrence, Katniss has both become an iconic character and has also been the catalyst for more female led YA action series.  


Click here for my review of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 & 2

Click here for my review of The Hunger Games 


3. Mallory Kane - Haywire

As soon as Steven Soderbergh saw mixed martial artist, Gina Carano, fight he knew that he had to build a story around her. Thus action movie, Haywire, was born.


Carano plays Mallory Kane, an ex-marine and a very dangerous woman to cross.


Carano is mesmerizing - she is incredibly athletic and Mallory is more than a match for the men (including Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, Micheal Fassbender, Antonio Banderas and Michael Douglas) that betray her.


Click here for my review of Haywire


2. Juno - The Descent

Okay, so I may be cheating slightly here - The Descent is not an action movie as such... but Juno and the women in Neil Marshall's brilliant horror film are all heroes to me.


According to reports, the initial plan for the film was to have a mix of both genders. However, the filmmakers decided to break with convention.


Thank goodness they did and that they did it for the right reasons. In an interview with Film4, Marshall explains that “The fact that they're all women isn't an issue. The film isn't a chick flick, it isn't about girl issues, it's about survival issues." 


Click here to see why The Descent is my favourite horror movie.


1. Ellen Ripley - Alien / Aliens

If Ridley Scott's 1979 horror, Alien, introduced us to Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), James Cameron's 1986 sequel, Aliens, cemented her as an icon of action movies. 


She is my favourite female action movie character - indeed, she is one of my favourite action heroes regardless of gender. It is hard to see how anyone could top her.


However, isn't that beside the point? We don't need anyone to beat Ripley, we want more female action heroes to join her.


Over To You!

What do you think of this list? Who would you add?


Do let me know by leaving a comment in the box below!

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Jane Douglas-Jones
Jane Douglas-Jones



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