Action movies are not exclusively enjoyed by men. Many of the most well-known butt-kicking movies challenge stereotypes by featuring strong, dynamic female leads. In their individual films, these girls combine brute power and mental skill to save the day, ranging from swords to fists.
While pioneers like Sigourney Weaver and Pam Grier paved the way, a new breed of female action stars has emerged. These girls bring much-needed estrogen and elegance into the genre, whether in a dystopian sci-fi series, a vicious assassin thriller, or a DC comics revival.
In the past, female-led action films did not receive nearly as much attention as male-led action films, but that is beginning to change. This is due in part to cultural shifts, but it’s also due to the way movies are distributed, with streaming presenting an alternative to the bad habits established in old distribution methods.
The most popular streaming services available to members, as well as non-subscribers who are just passing by, offer a broad variety of female-led action flicks that any film enthusiast should watch.
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003): Uma Thurman became a movie icon with her performance of The Bride, an enraged former assassin with a kill list of former colleagues who left her for dead after massacring her wedding party.
The titular Bill is mostly kept in the shadows for the first half of the story, saving his arrival for Vol. 2. Vivica A. Fox and Lucy Lui, who play The Bride’s first two names, provide two brilliantly violent battle sequences in which Thurman releases her character’s anger with a flurry of sword blows and ice-cold one-liners, ensuring that audiences are never left wanting for memorable villainy.
The Old Guard (2020): The Old Guard is an exciting mix of extraterrestrials and assassin tropes. In this Netflix ensemble thriller, Charlize Theron plays Andy, the leader of a mercenary band with regenerative abilities who is chased by a malicious CIA agent.
To fight off their present threat, Andy partners up with the title group’s newest member, KiKi Layne’s character Nile Freeman, while the agent teams up with a pharmaceutical CEO to figure out how to harness and profit from the group’s strength. With its female director, Gina Prince-Bythewood, and leading Femme Fatales, The Old Guard shouts girl power.