Movies are beginning to overturn the antiquated stereotype insisting that women cant kick ass, take names or lead a charge. As the amount of casting calls for strong, badass members of the fairer sex continues to grow, theres a wealth of solid genre roles for women -- who quite like walking away from explosions without looking back just as much as their male counterparts.
For example, take a look at The Hunger Games. A mega-blockbuster franchise based on a bestselling series of young adult novels, it subverts typical female-male roles so the heroine goes in search of a dude-in-distress. And it made gazillions at the box office. Katniss wasnt the first, and she wont be the last to dedicate her blood, sweat and tears in the name of victory. Heres the ultimate rundown of her contemporaries in ass-kickin crime.
Marion Ravenwood (Raiders Of The Lost Ark)
The heroine: Indiana Jones ex, and his gal pal in Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Shes got a bewitching smile and a mean set of fists.
Kick-ass moment: Sure, shes kidnapped a fair few times, but Marion can hold her own when shes put into perilous situations with Indy take the scene where they escape a sealed well.
China OBrien (China OBrien)
The heroine: The titular China OBrien is played by real-life martial artist Cynthia Rothrock, who holds a multitude of professional titles which no doubt helped her land the gig of an ass-kickin sheriff.
Kick-ass moment: Its tough to pinpoint. Every time she engages a dunderheaded villain in battle, all of which are complete with so-bad-its-good 80s foley, theres some demonstration of her brilliance. That usually results in a backflip and swift kick to the crotch.
Gretel (Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters)
The heroine: Gretel, aka the succulent child who narrowly avoided becoming a meal. All grown-up and eager to exact her revenge, shes on a mission to slaughter any witch that dare cross her path. With a fiery crossbow.
Kick-ass moment: In the last hurrah of a battle with the evil witch Muriel, Gretel stomps a shovel right through her neck, decapitating the toothless hag.
Sonja (Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans)
The heroine: As played by Rhona Mitra in the Underworld prequel, Sonja is the daughter of an elder vampire (Viktor) and member of the Vampire Council.
Kick-ass moment: Given that shes a trained warrior, taking out two of the Death Dealers back-to-back with a sword in each fist is a piece ocake -- still doesnt make her victory any less awesome.
Princess Leia (Star Wars)
The heroine: Intergalactic royalty, and the best-dressed character in the Star Wars universe. Also daughter to Darth Vader and sister to erstwhile farmboy Luke Skywalker.
Kick-ass moment: Carrie Fisher would tell you her most kick-ass moment was wearing that tiny gold bikini, so well go with that - topped off when she strangles Jabba The Hutt for good measure.
Gale Weathers (Scream)
The heroine: Were not here to be loved, sweetie. Catty, ruthless, ambitious, Gale Weathers is just the kind of reporter you want around when a serial killers on the loose shes not going to go down without a fight.
Kick-ass moment: Guess I remembered the safety that time, bastard. Gale takes down one of the killers at Screams climax. We whoop.
Veronica Sawyer (Heathers)
The heroine: Dear diary, my teen angst bullshit has a body count, Winona Ryders precocious teen inscribes into her trusted journal. Tired of the usual high school mores, Sawyer dons a monocle and gives the finger to the pressures of conformity.
Kick-ass moment: Veronica pulls a gun on her deluded ex-beau JD, whos timed a huge bomb to go detonate in the school basement. He tries to fob her off and flips her the bird. Which she promptly shoots off.
Diana Guzman (Girlfight)
The heroine: The troubled teenager at the heart of Girlfight, Diana escapes her abusive father and turns her hand to boxing, despite the skepticism of her trainers.
Kick-ass moment: Two wrongs dont make a right -- and yet when Diana snaps following her fathers snide comments, she punches him out. Proving shes not afraid of him anymore.
Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)
The heroine: Over the course of 10 years, Hermione flourishes from nerdy young uber-geek to strong-willed heroine with serious command over her powers.
Kick-ass moment: Shes had a fair few over the years, but Hermiones (mostly) fearless in the face of battle in Deathly Hallows - Part 2, when she and Ron attempt to take down evil snake Nagini. And then theres the time she punches Draco...