The women we are about to talk about today may seem so beautiful and delicate, but when they get angry, you’d better be careful if you don’t want to find yourself face down on the floor with broken teeth, without even understanding how it happened.
In cinema, we often love strong contrast, as can be the simplistic and eternal duel of good versus evil or the more exciting shades of ambiguity in the nature of the supposed weaker sex.
Of course, strong women in action movies are certainly nothing new; so thinking about it on the fly, I am reminded of the famous Ellen Ripley from the sci-fi horror Alien, played by the beautiful and very talented Sigourney Weaver, who, for example, in the second episode of the saga made even Rambo pale in comparison, sticking a machine gun and a flamethrower with duct tape to save her little friend kidnapped by the evil xenomorphs.
For a long time now, being a woman is no longer limited to being a mere prop, often just a victim to be rescued or a sexy icon to be coveted, but instead marching across the big screen as an army of brave warriors who better not piss off.
After this premise, enough waffling, and let’s get into the action, so put on your mouthguard if you don’t want some stray kicks in your mouth while enjoying the show.
Table of contents
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Let’s start full speed ahead with what I consider the best action movie since the distant 1990s Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
It was way back in 1985 when we left Max wounded and aching on the tarmac at the feet of the sadly recently passed away desert queen Tina Turner.
30 years later, we officially have the young and lanky Tom Hardy picking up the baton from the old Mel Gibson, but the real star is Furiosa, played by the magnificent former model and later successful actress Charlize Theron.
Clean-shaven and with an artificial arm, this angry warrior leads to freedom on an armored tanker carrying the favorite women of Immortan Joe, the undisputed tyrant ruling with an iron fist over the Citadel, the only oasis in the desert where there is still a water supply.
Max is initially captured and enslaved as a universal donor to fill up the young and sick war children with clean blood; although, of course, he later breaks free and gladly joins the mad race to escape from the insane pursuers of Immortan Joe’s army.
George Miller proves he has not lost an ounce of his cinematic power since the 1980s, staging a spectacular two-hour-long chase of nonstop caravan assault, complete with a soundtrack directly performed in the field by a hallucinated guitarist with a band of drummers in tow.
Tom Hardy fights like a bull while all the spotlight is on the stunning Charlize Theron, a revolutionary post-feminist warrior against all those men who want the most beautiful ones just to have healthy children.
It was a just success that honored the return of a great hero and the birth of a new heroine, about whom a movie all about her entitled, precisely, “Furiosa” is on the way.
Alita: Battle Angel (2019)
With the following story, let’s stay in a dystopian future, somewhat less devastated than Mad Max‘s world; nevertheless, still ruled by a few power figures above the poor masses.
Indeed, most people live in the filthy alleys of the Iron City, a vast ghetto gathering large parts of the population that constantly serves Zalem, the neighborhood of the rich and powerful floating several kilometers above the surface.
The city below, then, acts as both a supply and a dumping ground for the rich, and it is among this waste rained down from the sky that one day, Mr. Dyson, a doctor by day and a bounty hunter by night, finds the shredded body of a young cyborg girl.
Giving her the name of his dead young daughter, Alita, Dyson soon discovers the girl’s incredible fighting skills and dexterity, who, together with her new friends, decides to participate in the violent, popular sport of Motorball.
Nevertheless, despite achieving fame, she also attracts the interest of the merciless Nova, the unquestioned emperor of Zalem, aware of the cyborg’s past, who deploys his lethal mercenary army to confront her.
Altogether, this movie was successful at the box office, grossing over 400 million against a budget of 170, although this was not enough to ensure Robert Rodriguez‘s chance to make a sequel.
It’s too bad because I absolutely adored the Texas director ever since his spectacular debut with El Mariachi, the guitarist gunslinger whose folk heroism he brings back with the beautiful features of Rosa Salazar.
The Peruvian actress displays great athleticism in the many action scenes and excellent charisma along with the usually great Christoph Waltz, the putative father of this young woman in an elitist and angry world.
Will this really be the future of our young children?
Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)
I began by mentioning Terminator 2, one of the best action flicks in cinematic history, but also a saga toward which I had almost lost all hope for nearly thirty years.
After three bad sequels, Rise of the Machines – Salvation – Genisys, which were really one worse than the other, we begging for the return of the great James Cameron, unfortunately completely consumed by Avatar‘s extraterrestrial adventures.
Restoring some dignity to the killer robots from the future comes Tim Miller, director of the hilarious Deadpool, putting the fate of humanity in the hands of three women, followed by the usually angry (and aging) Arnold Schwarzenegger.
This time, in the Terminator’s crosshairs, is young Dani Ramos, a humble Mexican worker destined to become the leader of the resistance and thus to eliminate at any cost.
Fortunately, as usual, a human warrior (in part) arrives from the future to help her, the young and unstoppable Grace, an artificially enhanced soldier capable of standing up to the ruthless death machines.
Moreover, the girls find on their way the rediscovered Sarah Connor, who, by following the trail of a mysterious informer, will lead them straight to the door of the old T-800 model, now blending in among the humans with a quiet life after accomplishing his murderous mission.
So we find the legendary Linda Hamilton, with a few more wrinkles but the same tireless drive and irony, teamed with the younger Natalia Reyes and Mackenzie Davis; the latter genuinely outstanding for a role with an excellent background story.
Of course, it would be unfair to compare the honest Miller’s direction against a master’s like Cameron’s, yet besides a few scenes too CGI-loaded, we finally found some of that 80s magic we have so sorely missed.
What more could you ask for?
Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon (2021)
We continue to browse our catalog of angry women looking at the adventures of Mona, a young girl who, for 13 years, has lived in a state of catatonic apathy inside her cell in a mental asylum.
Until, during a full-moon night, she suddenly regains consciousness and escapes, discovering her ability to briefly control other people after hypnotizing them by staring intently at them.
Unfamiliar with the outside world, she rapidly befriends Bonnie, a stripper she saves in a fast food restaurant from another guy’s jealous and insane fiancée.
To express her gratitude for the rescue, the woman invites her to stay at her home, where she lives alone with her little son Charlie.
Together, they teach the escaped mentalist how to use her power more profitably, forcing various people at ATMs to give their money.
However, each theft leaves more and more clues, and an obstinate policeman relentlessly continues to search for the girl.
The interesting Ana Lily Amirpour, a director with a small filmography but a strong concept of what she wants to tell, is at the helm of this strange supernatural movie, with a constant atmosphere of ironic sorrow and unsettling implications.
Indeed, the plot begins quickly and without any introduction, allowing us to understand the mindset and motivations of the strange girl played by Jeon Jong-seo, already among the stars of the superb South Korean psychological thriller Burning.
In short, an all-female movie suitable for those who prefer a gentle approach to horror, always tempered with a good dose of humor, without, of course, leaving aside wholesome and righteous entertainment.
The Witch: Part 1 & Part 2
The Subversion (2018) / The other one (2022)
After admiring the South Korean protagonist in the previous movie, let’s stay in South Korea with a bloodier and violent horror.
The plot begins with little mutant Ja-yoon escaping from the lab where she was created, leaving behind a pile of corpses and finding refuge with the friendly Goo family.
They raise her as their daughter, until one day, she participates in a talent show showcasing her psychokinetic powers, attracting the attention of the scientists who created her.
Yet, was getting caught really a mistake, or did the little girl have a bigger plan?
The second movie unfolds more quickly, but similarly, with still the human guinea pig Ark 1, a girl with extraordinary mental powers escaping from the prison where she was born, perpetrating a massacre.
Rescued by Kyung-Hee, a young woman in trouble with a boss, together they fight these criminals who would like to buy their house; however, without solving the problem but rather postponing the inevitable slaughter showdown, as well as the mercenaries and soldiers who are still looking for Ark 1.
Park Hoon-jung does an excellent job of directing and screenwriting, creating a psychopathic version of the X-Men, tempered by sentimental teen-drama humor in the first half that then explodes in the spectacular bloodbath of the total confrontation when all the cards are finally on the table.
Of the two movies, I preferred the first, which is more complex and intriguing in its narrative, mainly with the more ambiguous character played by Kim Da-mi, who can shift shockingly from an innocent teenager to an unstoppable killing machine.
Perhaps more common is the role in the second chapter for Shin Sia, although the final reunion between the two girls lays the groundwork for a highly anticipated third chapter to close this bloody horror/sci-fi adventure.