Welcome back to Split Decision! Each week, we pose a question to our staff of knowledgable and passionate film geeks and share the responses! We may never know if it is legal to park in the center of Broad Street, but we’ll answer movie questions all day long. Chime in on Twitter, Facebook, or in the comments below!
This week’s question:
Since Lara Croft is back raiding tombs, who is your favorite action movie heroine?
“You let a WOMAN beat ya, huh?” says Gena Rowlands in her Oscar-nominated performance as the title character in her husband John Cassavetes’ 1980 film Gloria. She is a force to be reckoned with. I’ll also cite two other favorites: Pam Grier, who made her name in Coffy and Foxy Brown, but I loved in films like Above the Law and Jackie Brown and Sandra Bullock, whose work in the action-comedy Miss Congeniality (1 and 2) is stellar. Bullock can pratfall, dish out sarcasm, and inspire, all while being armed and fabulous.–Gary M. Kramer
While the performance itself leaves a little bit to be desired, there’s just something about Gina Carano as Mallory Kane in Haywire that kicks ass! Perhaps it’s the fact that she’s not just an actor who learned a few moves, but a legitimately talented MMA fighter that would have no problem dishing out brutal beatings in real life. Granted, she looks phenomenal while taking out the likes of Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas and a laundry list of other beefy men, but never does Steven Soderbergh’s lens sexualize her. She’s a thoroughly scary presence, and unlike many action heroes, she never requires high-tech gadgetry to get the job done — just fists. Add to that the fact that the film needn’t utilize tricky camerawork to hide a stunt double, and you’ve got yourself a visceral actioner with a bonafide badass at its center. —Dan Scully
Pam Grier is by far my favorite action heroine of all time. In the ‘70s she broke into the Blaxploitation scene starring in both Coffy (1973) and Foxy Brown (1974) (to just name two iconic roles). What is there not to love about a strong, confident, independent black woman who will kick anyone’s ass? She commands respect and admirably embraces her sexuality. Her role as Foxy Brown made such an impact that she starred as Jackie Brown (a variation of her ’74 role) in Quentin Tarantino’s 1997 film aptly titled Jackie Brown. I think Pam Grier is just the coolest, in case you couldn’t tell.–Catherine Haas
How could I not pick The Bride, aka Beatrix Kiddo, from Kill Bill? Not only is she the epitome of being an action star–swords, guns, hand-to-hand, she can do it all–but she is also an extremely feminine character. That isn’t trying to be dismissive of other choices, but I always think back to the moment in Vol. 2 where Beatrix is being attacked by another female assassin moments after she learns that she is pregnant. On its face, the scene is comedic due to the ridiculousness of the scenario, but it also gives the Bride a humanity that is lacking in Vol. 1. She is an amazing creation of Uma Thurman, who is simply a kick ass lady. —Ryan Silberstein
Author: Ryan Silberstein
Ryan spends his days at a company named one of the best to work for in the Philadelphia area, and his nights
as a mysterious caped vigilante saving his city from the disease that is crime watching movies. He lives on a diet consisting of film, comic books, experimental beer, black coffee, and those big metal historical markers around town. Follow him on Twitter and Letterboxd.