It seems like it has been forever and a day since I last did a Phenomenal 5. But with Sundance and awards season (mostly) in the bag what better time than now? There are countless action movies that feature tough guys. In fact, in the 80’s and 90’s an entire action genre centered around muscle-bound beefcakes. But we do a disservice if we fail to recognize that there have been some tough-as-nails women who can hold their own with ANY of the fellas. So why not give these women their due by listing five of the coolest and toughest? To no surprise there were several tough girls to choose from so I wouldn’t call this the definitive list. But there’s no denying that these 5 Movie Tough Girls are most surely phenomenal.
#5 – Furiosa (“Mad Max: Fury Road”)
There were so many glorious surprises in George Miller’s nitrous-injected thrillride “Mad Max: Fury Road”. Near the top of that list was Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa. Tom Hardy’s Max is a key character and he’s who the movie is named after. But in many ways Furiosa is the lead and this is her story. And when the two pair up in one particularly ferocious fight scene, she most certainly gets her licks in. Furiosa is tenacious, determined, and as tough as the come.
#4 – The Bride (“Kill Bill: Volume 1 & 2”)
Fueled by an insatiable thirst for vengeance, Uma Thurman’s Bride slices and dices her way through countless baddies as good as any, better than most. And it’s telling that she is arguably the toughest character you’ll find in the entirety of Quentin Tarantino’s hyper-violent filmography. That’s saying something. Thurman delivers the whole package: brains, brutality, grit and moxie. Oh, and she does the bulk of her damage with her custom-made Hattori Hanzō samurai sword. Tough? Without question!
#3 – Sarah Connor (“Terminator 2: Judgement Day”)
In the first Terminator picture, Sarah Connor was essentially a girl running from danger. Boy how things change in “Terminator 2”. Linda Hamilton bulked up and gave Sarah a grittier edge with a hardened militaristic personality. Knowing the war that’s coming, Sarah fights alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger every step of the way. Whether it’s with her fists or a wide assortment of weaponry, she blasts away at anyone who gets in her path human or robotic. This new Sarah Connor certainly left her mark on the movie landscape and has to be on this list.
#2 – Princess Leia (“Star Wars” Series)
When watching the original “Star Wars”, it doesn’t take long to see that Princess Leia is much more than some damsel in distress. In the franchise’s earliest scenes we see her open rebellion against the evil Galactic Empire and her unwillingness to compromise. It also doesn’t take Han and Luke long to see that she’s a no-nonsense woman who tells it like it is. She’s handy with the laser blaster and she doesn’t mind putting herself in danger to help others. She plays a pivotal role in saving Han’s life and it was Leia who killed Jabba the Hutt. Carrie Fisher’s Leia is as surly as any tough guy and she has more smarts than most.
#1- Ellen Ripley (“Alien” Series)
It may be unfair, but any time I see Sigourney Weaver, I automatically think of Ellen Ripley. I absolutely love this character and her toughness is a key reason. In the first “Alien” picture (SPOILER) she was the only survivor of her ship’s crew and she single-handedly killed the alien. In the second film we see just how tough Ripley is. She uses grenades, flamethrowers, pulse rifles, and even a robotic crane to kill more aliens, even their queen. In the third film she takes more drastic measures to quell an alien spread. Throughout the series Ripley encounters a variety of so-called “tough guys”. Isn’t it interesting that she is the one who actually survives. Sounds like she’s the one who’s truly tough.
There you have it. There were several others that I considered but these stood out the most. Do you agree or disagree with my list? Do you see someone who I left off? Who would you include on your list? Please take time to share your thoughts in the comments section below.