Top Ten Badass Female Characters

And so another week has flown by. Crazy how fast time can go, isn’t it? I didn’t see any movies the past couple of days. It’s been all basketball watching over here. However, I do have Michael Jackson’s This Is It, Ninja Assassin, and Broken Lizard’s The Slammin’ Salmon all waiting for me over the weekend. I’m sure at least one of these will be reviewed come Monday.

The trailers for Iron Man 2 helped inspire this top ten. In fact, it inspires next week’s as well. In it, there’s a glimpse of Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow beating up a group of men with ease. This is something that has been increasing with frequency. The following list is of my favorite badass  female characters. Keep in mind, I can only put those I have actually seen on the list, so there are some notable omissions. I’ll probably have to revisit this topic in the future.

10. Princess Leia Organa

Star Wars (1977)

Perhaps Leia isn’t one of the first characters that come to mind. Before Leia, the girl was always the damsel in distress, waiting to be rescued by the hero. Leia changes all of that. One of the leaders of the Rebellion, she works as a spy in the Imperial Senate before being caught by Darth Vader. Not only is she often a better shot that Han and Luke (even with her eyes closed), but it’s Leia that kills the gangster Jabba the Hut. Think of it as a little payback for the slave bikini she was forced to wear. Armed with a quick tongue to match her intellect, she’s the character that made most of the following possible.

9. Lady Kaede

Ran (1985)

If Leia didn’t pop into your mind, I KNOW Lady Kaede did not. Like Leia, Kaede is a different sort of badass than the rest on the list. While the seeds for his family’s fall from power is sewn by Lord Hidetora himself, it is Kaede that tears whole thing down. Through her own sheer will (okay okay, and a little sex here and there), she manipulates Hidetora’s sons to not only to turn against their father but against each other as well. Her motivations are explained toward the end of the movie, but by then it’s too late. Once her ball of revenge began to roll, there was no stopping it. Plus she cuts one of the sons’ necks then licks the wound. That’s pretty badass.

8. Miho

Sin City (2005)

There isn’t much one can say about Miho. Perhaps it’s because she doesn’t say anything herself. “Deadly little Miho” is the silent enforcer of the prostitutes of Sin City. Due to the city’s corruption, the ladies are forced to defend their own and protect their turf. Miho is their best weapon. An expert in swordplay, Miho has the ability to kill someone quick or make sure they feel it. More often than not, she let’s them feel it.

7. Catwoman

Batman Returns (1992)

Not to be confused with the terrible Halle Berry version from 2004, this is Michelle Pfieffer’s version of the character. While some of the other women on this list go toe-to-toe with machines or monsters, it is Catwoman that first shows that woman can go one-on-one with the men (on a big stage at least). In her first encounter with Batman and the Penguin, she greets them with a simple “meow” followed by a large explosion. She definitely proves to be a more than worthy sometimes adversary/sometimes friend to Batman.

6. Leeloo

The Fifth Element (1997)

Multi-pass! Ah, the supreme being. The fifth element. In making this list, I wanted to stay away from “non-human” characters. This is why you don’t see someone like the Terminatrix from Terminator 3 here. However, in many ways, Leeloo is the most human of anyone you’ll find in this top ten. Her role is to save the universe, but she can only do it when she learns the very human emotion of love. Enough of that, she kicks a lot of ass during the course of the movie, including taking out a large group of big, ugly alien soldiers.

5. Hit Girl

Kick-Ass (2010)

This is the young lady that got me thinking about the subject in the first place. The fifth slot might seem a little high for a movie that’s only a few weeks old, but the pre-teen rocks THAT much. Time won’t lower her spot, only raise it. I already talked about little Mindy a great deal in my Kick-Ass review, so I think I’ll leave it at that. Just know this spot is well warranted.

4. Sarah Connor

The Terminator (1984)

Might be a little controversial having Sarah so low, but wait until you see the top three before you complain. Sarah Conner goes from being an ordinary waitress one minute to knowing she will give birth to the savior of mankind. That’s a lot to take in. The entire time, she has a killer cyborg after her. She manages to survive that encounter only to be tested again a decade later. Sarah is now much tougher, even going head-to-head with the liquid metal T-1000 to save her son John. I still think it’s a shame what happened to this character in the third movie.

3. River Tam

Serenity (2004)

Throughout the underrated show “Firefly,” we only know River as a young pixie-like woman who’s mind was “toyed with” by the government. We see that she has psychic tendencies, but we only see glimpses what she’s capable of. Serenity changes all of that. Not only does she get into an awesome bar fight, she finally learns to control her abilities when the crew needs her the most. As they make their last stand against Reavers, River takes on what seems like an endless wave of the once human mutants by herself to save her brother and her friends. The image of her picking up two axes to face down her enemies is worthy of the Badass Hall of Fame alone.

2. Beatrix Kiddo

Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)

The Bride. A former assassin that leaves the business to marry a man and raise the child she’s pregnant with. Her boss, Bill, doesn’t like this at all, so he and Deadly Vipers massacre everyone at the wedding rehersal. He makes a mistake: he doesn’t kill Beatrix when he has the chance. What follows is a tale of revenge that perhaps only Lady Kaede could truly appreciate it. Beatrix goes from epic battle to epic battle until she finally encounters Bill. For my money, the apex of the Beatrix’s war is her fight with the Crazy 88 and most notably with O-Ren Ishii’s personal bodyguard, the meteor hammer wielding school girl Gogo Yubari.

1. Ellen Ripley

Alien (1979)

Was there any doubt? Ripley is much like Sarah Conner in that she survives the first encounter with a monster only to be thrust right back into a similar situation. As I’ve said before, Ripley slowly develops into the ultimate badass. When a group of battle hardened marines fail, Ripley steps up and succeeds. She takes on the Alien Queen by herself! While Leia might have made Ripley possible, Ripley makes all that follow her possible. She is the original action woman; the first to actually be the lead in an action movie. “Get away from her, you bitch!” Indeed.

That’s my list. Who did I leave off? What movies do I obviously need to see? Did I number them poorly? Let me know! And yes, I fully realize that Trinity from The Matrix isn’t on here. While she does kick ass, I always found her to be terribly boring. Even when I liked the movie.

I’ll be back again Monday with a review. This weekend I’ll be updating the blog a bit, trying to make it a bit better. Hopefully it works out.

Until then…

6 thoughts on “Top Ten Badass Female Characters”

  1. The only ones I didn’t recognize from your list was #9 & #8. And the funny thing is I watched Sin City … so maybe a revisit is required. But I totally agree with Ripley being #1.

    1. Miho’s role is actually quite short. She’s in Dwight’s story. She’s pretty awesome with a sword. 🙂

      I would highly recommend Ran, however. GREAT movie.

  2. Only problem is, Ripley (& Weaver in general) is a she-male, not a real woman, so doesn’t belong on this list, unless we’re also making a list of being most responsible for the worst f#$k-ups of a movie series ever (she had the final choice/veto of scripts from a short-list of 5 for Alien3 – nuff said…?).

    I think Felicity Shagwell needs to be on this list, for oh so many reasons .

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