The Top 15 Female Action Movies

by Joe Belcastro on March 24, 2011 · 28 comments

in Film & Movies, Lists

Who doesn’t take pleasure in seeing women take control? How about kicking-ass? Especially when they still manage to look visually stunning in doing so. Even the ones that go all rugged can find a way to keep a look of attractiveness while saving the day.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that absolutely no one would not object to any of the above queries.

This popular formula of depicting a heroine is one that Hollywood loves to toss out there a few times a year. And with this Friday’s release of Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch, the industry is hoping that said formula can turn-on audiences once again at the box office. Or at least do better than Bloodrayne.

So that got our heads (on our shoulders) debating on who and/or what action movies, featuring a woman, are the greatest of all-time. Without any further ado, here is BuzzFocus’ top 15 female action movies. Let the catfight begin:

15. Serenity (2005)

We’re going to kick-off this list, with a female badass, some of you may have missed out on. In this better-than-average Sci-Fi product – Think of Star Wars and Starship Troopers having a baby and naming it Serenity – A young teenage girl, River Tam, is as deadly as they come in this intergalactic action piece. River is hunted by an empire, and a crew of rebels unknowingly are protecting her. When the evil empire surround them, her deadly talents go on display, as she dismantles droves of troops using her hands and weapons from her fallen victims.

Girl Power Moment: The surviving rebels are pinned down in a bunker by an armada of aliens. When they break through, River is the only thing standing between them and certain death. River slaughters the entire armada. And she doesn’t work by the hour my friends. This is definitely a nice underrated female action hero, one should seek out.

14. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)


Angelina Jolie has carved out a nice little career as a female action character. If this list was strictly about who the best female action star is of all-time, she would probably be fighting for the top spot in some respects, based on her body of work. However, when factoring in the product her character was a part of, this is where the confident, disarming actress lands. Basically, this story was the female version of Indiana Jones.

Girl Power Moment: A bunch of assassins break into her mansion and she systematically takes them out while bouncing around the room in bungee chords.

13. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)


Although the opening of this article took a subtle shot at Kristanna Lokken (starred in Bloodrayne), her performance as “T-X” in this historic franchise was invincible. Seeing her destroy everything in her path, including Governor Arnie, and look great doing it, was pure joy. Her character had the perfect attributes of sexy, strong and deadly. And now that we have Terminator 4 in our lives, this flick doesn’t look so bad anymore.

Girl Power Moment: Lokken is tossing Arnold through walls and ceilings. At one point during the fight, her body contorts and traps him like a python as she continues the beating.

12. Death Proof (2007)


This particular story had multiple women whooping ass all over the place. Rose McGowan, Rosario Dawson and Sydney Poitier all had moments of dominance. But it was stunt woman turned actress Zoe Bell whole stole the show. Jumping on top of moving cars and pummeling Kurt Russell was just the tip of the iceberg in this stalker-like tale.

Girl Power Moment: Four girls form a circle around Kurt Russell and they each take turns bashing his face in with their fists.

11. Tank Girl (1995)

The cult favorite plowed its way onto this list thanks to the tongue-n-cheek performance by Lori Petty. Set in the future, “Tank Girl” single-handily takes on an evil corporation who will murder anyone that gets in its way. Draped in flamboyant gear and helming an equally flamboyant tank, “Tank Girl” mows down everyone using bullets, brains and brawn.

Girl Power Moment: The entire 104 minutes is an anthem for alternative women everywhere.

10. Underworld (2003)

Kate Beckinsale as the moody vampire “Selene” was taking the female action role to a new level. Blessed with physical attributes – in more ways than one – the “Crow” like character won over the action-horror fans instantly. Plus, having a visually-graphic story about vampires versus werewolves couldn’t hurt. In fact, Beckinsale is reprising the coveted role in the upcoming fourth installment.

Girl Power Moment: When facing the strongest of all vampires, Beckinsale grabs a sword and flies through the air, decapitating her enemy.

9. The Fifth Element (1997)

This character was the central figure in the script, even though she was more of a supporting player. Having said that, this young lady owned the screen – and her enemies – when it was her turn to shine. Milla Jovovich played the agile “Leeloo” who could knockout all her foes using a gymnastic, martial arts style. The futuristic adventure flick paved the way for her to take on a future role that will eventually make this list.

Girl Power Moment: The over-the-top alien invaders breech a luxurious hotel, and Jovovich does flips and kicks throughout the halls, taking down the entire giant Muppet-like army.

8. The Matrix (1999)

Once again, the female character wasn’t the focal point in this mind-bending saga, but it was an important role. Carrie-Ann Moss’ portrayal of “Trinity” was in some respects the blue print for the already mentioned “Selene” character from Underworld. Dawning a tight black-leather jumpsuit and undertaking hand-to-hand combat (she had extensive training) while performing physically intense stunts, the lady deserves a place here. Try to think of it as a comprehensive award, for all of Moss’ hard work during the innovative trilogy.

Girl Power Moment: When Trinity is avoiding countless bullets by running on the side of the wall, all while shooting back at the guards.

7. Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)

Milla Jovovich makes her second appearance in this piece, stemming from her smooth destruction of the undead. The “Alice” character was introduced in the first Resident Evil film – adapted from the uber-popular video game. In the first installment the character was a well trained security agent. In the sequel, she gets an “upgrade,” and becomes an expert in handling a variety of fire arms and weapons that will slice off body parts.

Girl Power Moment: A couple standout here. The first sees Jovovich in a graveyard, having to use hand-to-hand combat on a posse of walking dead. Another is when she is sprinting down a building and having helicopters trying to mow her down with heavy artillery.

6. Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)

It goes without saying, Uma Thurman was going to appear on this list eventually. Her work as the vengeful, cunning assassin ushers in a cache like no other. This sequel may have not been as good as the first installment, but the bloody battles Uma’s character found herself in, made it all worthwhile.

Girl Power Moment: The battle between Uma Thurman and Daryl Hannah in the trailer-home. It was so brutal that it can be uncomfortable to watch. And this is coming from a horror movie junkie.

5. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2003)

Martial arts choreography at its finest. The artistry of the fight sequences here are award-winning (won 4 Oscars off 10 nominations). When factoring in the female component, it was a pleasure to see “Yu Shu Lien” and “Jen Yu” do battle. Michelle Yeoh and Ziyi Zhang performed combative moves that were usually reserved for the guys. In terms of the fight choreography, it will be a challenge for anyone to ever replicate what was seen in this flick.

Girl Power Moment: Where to begin? The running up the tree. The battle in the desert in which one of the girls suspend themselves in mid-air as they kick their surrounding enemies in the face. It’s all breathtaking.

4. Kick-Ass (2010)

This flick may get better or worse as it ages in cinematic history. It arguably brought the freshest approach to the female action hero. A little girl, wearing a superhero costume, and proceeding to amass a body count like no other before her. Chloe Grace Moretz as “Hit Girl” could be the most entertaining and violent female action hero of all-time. The merciless, petite crime fighter has it all (minus the sex appeal of course). As the female action role evolves, time will tell just how much praise this character truly deserves.

Girl Power Moment: After the elevator doors open up to the suite of the antagonist‘s layer, Hit Girl must maneuver through a long hallway that has a bunch of goons looking to take her out. During the slow-motion sequence, she leaves none standing. Watching a female dominate has never been so much fun at the movies.

3. Alien, Aliens, Alien 3 (1979 – 1992)

We really wanted to include Alien 3, so we could use the infamous quote, “The bitch is back,” as uttered in the original movie trailer. But to stay fair and kind of professional, the second installment in the Alien franchise is where “Ripley” really certified her presence as a feminine badass. Enough said.

Girl Power Moment: The cerebral and physical battles that occur in this entire franchise are all worth it. Sigourney Weaver is brilliant as Ripley.

2. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)

Yep, Quentin Tarantino’s first installment elevated the female-action genre by incorporating a unique and stylish delivery. The difference between the sequel (mentioned above) and this one, is that the deadly women carried this script to greatness. Vol. 2 had the benefit of the always cool and engaging David Carradine as “Bill” along with Michael Madsen sharing the load. With that said, Uma Thurman and the rest of the ladies were at their most vicious here. Tarantino exploited the violent femmes like no other director.

Girl Power Moment: Uma Thurman versus Vivica A. Fox’s knife fight in a suburban home. The end of that scene is emotionally disturbing. Also, anytime Uma wields a sword against her foes was pure enjoyment.

1. Terminator 2 (1991)

Two words: Sarah Connor! No women, man or machine would ever mess with Linda’s Hamilton unhinged performance as the legendary “Sarah Connor.” The character was antitheist of the Virgin Mary, who would destroy anyone or anything, who dared to mess with her son “John Connor.” This is one of those examples where one would welcome a Linda Hamilton beat down. Her passion as “Sarah” is something no on-screen female action character has matched to this day. Granted she isn’t as active as other characters on this list, but there is no denying that she exhumed all the attributes of a raw action star. Hamilton created an aura with the “Sarah Connor” character. She paved the way for many of the stars mentioned on this list.

Girl Power Moment: Throughout the entire flick, she just looks freakishly intimidating. Especially when she is outside at night, executing an assassination attempt, in which she unloads a sniper rifle and a high powered machine gun at the poor soul.

Well that’s it my friends. The list where women rule. Overall, we’re very satisfied by this list, but trying to figure out how Bloodrayne was able to garner multiple references still baffles us.

Do you think Sucker Punch will be worthy of making this elite list?

  • Abhishek Mondal

    Based on the character alone and their depth and motivations, I would put Linda Hamilton, Uma Thurman and Sigourney Weaver in my top three with perhaps Chloe Grace Moretz as reserve.

  • emma852

    just as Edith said I’m blown
    away that a single mom able to get paid $6619 in four weeks on the
    internet. did you read this webpage w­w­w.K­E­P­2.c­o­m

  • anon

    horrible order, Selene is a top5 easy.. matrix, kick ass, 2 kill bills? FAIL.

  • http://twitter.com/no_one_1000 Larry Holbrook

    Kickass, No sex appeal, my son loves it, I haved enjoyed watching the action at least 4 times. Kate Beckinsale my personal fave

  • jotero25

    Jolie as SALT must be number 1.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Connie-Carroll/100000684150797 Connie Carroll

    Sucker Punch was awful. SALT would be a better choice. I also like Ultraviolet and Angela Bassett from Strange Day a hell of a lot better than Tank Girl which I saw more as a comedy than a action film.I’ve yet been able to watch T3 all the way through. Keep getting up and changing the channel.

  • ij

    it’s TOTAL BS that Angela Bassett’s character from Strange Days isn’t on the list. i mean really. NOT Bassett but Tank Girl, and Uma twice??? really??… sad thing is, i don’t even have to wonder why that is.

  • chas ames

    Ultraviolet.

  • Xander

    Except she totally WAS in Death Proof, and here’s proof: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1028528/

    FAIL, assholes.

  • Mike

    ‘Cause it sucked!

  • Ganxstarmedia

    Nope, she wasn’t. Not one scene. Sorry if exposing your lack of knowledge (in an article YOU wrote) ruined your day. She was in Planet Terror..the other film in Grindhouse.

  • Toripena

    you forgot to include Elektra! She is definitely a real bad ass chick!!!

  • Toripena

    you forgot to include Elektra! She is definitely a real bad ass chick!!!

  • Toripena

    you forgot to include Elektra! She is definitely a real bad ass chick!!!

  • Toripena

    you forgot to include Elektra! She is definitely a real bad ass chick!!!

  • Bellasgirl

    I know we’re talking movies here but the best female action character by far has to be Peta Wilson in the TV series of La Femme Nikita…over a decade later it’s still better than anything on the big or small screen today.That show was genius!

  • Amc010

    Hey do you know a female action movie where she was like a mercenary
    The set was on a building with terrorists and this was made in the 90′s
    I even remember there was a topless scene when she got caught by one
    Of the terrorist…

  • 9_below

    how is aeon flux not on this list?

  • Smoky_Owl

    I agree with you Belcastro on Salt….that’s why I saw the preview for it and said: “nah”

  • Smoky_Owl

    I agree with you Belcastro on Salt….that’s why I saw the preview for it and said: “nah”

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