ORBzine - Girls Kick Ass! Movie Reviews


The 355 (2022)

The 355 (2021) Mace ( Jessica Chastain ) organises an international team of kick-ass women.

  • Ava (2020)
  • Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
  • Aeon Flux (2005)

    Aeon Flux (2005) Charlize Theron is the title character, a super-powered assassin in a futuristic city. The Government is a dictatorship, so she helps the rebels by bumping off hard targets. She is assigned to terminate The Chairman (rent-a-villain Marton Csokas - Kingdom of Heaven ). But she discovers that everything she believes is founded on a tissue of lies ...

    Aeon is pursued by the Rebels and the security forces. Can they escape alive?

    This is a mediocre Sci-Fi shoot'em-up. It is nice to see Theron in action (usually Milla Jovovich got this kind of work, although Angelina Jolie has done some action-girl flicks as well). Also, Csokas gets to show more depth and range than his usual snarling thug.

  • Atomic Blonde (2017)
  • Old Guard (2020)
  • Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

    Alita: Battle Angel (2019) This was written by James Cameron and directed by Robert Rodriguez , and has many of the hallmarks of their work. It features a strong female lead, and Latina actors in main roles. Not to mention massive amounts of CGI and green-screen, although it is perfectly blended with the live-action players.

    The story is set three hundred years after the Fall - an apocalyptic event that we later find out was caused by an interplanetary war. Now, the main city floats over a massive trash dump - like the Martian city in Mars Needs Moms . Worse, a slum city has grown up on the edge of the trash dump.

    One day a mechanic (Christoph Waltz - Green Hornet ) is scavenging on the trash pile when he discovers a disused android. Real Steel , anyone? This android resembles a young girl, so he patches her up and calls her Alita. She has amnesia, so she goes along with it.

    The slum is filled with full-body cyborgs. Some of them go full-on cyber-psycho, like Eiza Gonzales ). Others are targeted by thieves, because their cyber implants are valuable (like in Repo Men ).

    Alita signs up as a bounty-hunter, then tries to win the support of the others by insulting them and starting a bar-room brawl. So much for keeping a low profile. Brute force and ignorance seem to work, however.

    Anna (2019)

    Anna (2019) The story starts in 1985, when the KGB decides to warm up the Cold War. Luke Evans ( The Hobbit ) arrests a group of CIA agents, who then get made an example of. Yes, the KGB boss is not interested in Bridge of Spies swaps and he instead prefers to go full Smiert Spion.

    The story moves forward five years. Anna ( Sasha Luss ), a young woman from Moscow, is recruited to become a top international supermodel. She gets a new life in Paris, France.

    The story hops around again in time. This happens several more times, in order for double-crosses to be revealed. The movie makes allusions to russian dolls, with a new one always nested inside the others.

    Basically, at one point in the story Anna is recruited and trained as an assassin by Helen Mirren . If this all sound a bit familiar, it is ripped directly from La Femme Nikita . However, Luc Besson cannot sue - because he wrote and directed it!

    Anna fights like a female John Wick . The strange thing about it is that there are a couple of scenes where there are pistols lying around, but both she and her opponents fight with improvised melee weapons instead.

    All in all, this is a decent film. It is an updated Nikita with the style of Wick, but it covers much the same ground as Red Sparrow .

    Atomic Blonde (2017)

    Atomic Blonde (2017) The title character ( Charlize Theron ) is given a debriefing by Toby Jones ( Your Highness ). The result is an unnecessarily convoluted tale filled with nonsensical twists and double-crosses.

    The title character is basically a female James Bond. The brutal violence is like something out of Jason Bourne , but she also has the sex drive of 007. The last female action character who could compete with Bond in this area is Barbarella .

    The blonde is sent to West Berlin, where she is teamed up with the local British agent (James McAvoy - Wanted ). They team up against the KGB.

  • Aeon Flux (2005)
  • Old Guard (2020)
  • Ava (2020)

    Ava (2020) Ava ( Jessica Chastain ) is a top international assassin.

  • The 355 (2021)
  • Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
  • Bad Girls

    Bad Girls This is set in the year 1895, and starts with a newspaper headline about Nelly Bly - the female journalist who went around the world in less than eighty days.

  • 2000
  • Becky (2020)

    Becky (2020) This starts with a bookend sequence as Becky ( Lulu Wilson ) gets debriefed by cops. We know that something very bad happened, and that she is covering up her culpability in it. The main storyline is told in extended flashback.

    Becky's father (Joel McHale - Spy Kids 4 ) took her to like in a Cabin in the Woods with her new stepmother ( Amanda Brugel ). Yes, the blended family storyline is reused from Four Kids And It .

    Their non-so-idyllic domestic situation is interrupted by the rude arrival of Dominick (Kevin James - Zookeeper ) and his gang, including Cole (Ryan McDonald - Fringe ). They are White Supremacists, so they occupy the same shorthand-for-pure-evil niche that the comanches filled in the John Wayne westerns, or that zombies and killer robots filled in dystopian scifi stories. That said, the actors do a great job - especially when you consider that they generally play good guys ... and they now play torturers and dog-killers.

    The white men just want a key, their mcguffin. In contrast, Becky's motivation is far darker. She is obsessed with revenge, and carries it out in a fashion that takes Home Alone to the level of a full-on torture porn horror movie.

    Breaking In (2018)

    Breaking In (2018) A woman takes her children to stay in an up-scale home fitted with CCTV cameras and a hidden safe. Unfortunately some crooks think the place is empty, and break in to steal some hidden loot. Yes, this is basically Panic Room . The big change is the race swap - Gabrielle Union is the female lead in place of Jodie Foster , and Billy Burke ( Revolution ) fills a role similar to that of Forest Whitaker ( Black Panther ).

    Basically this is a by-the-numbers thriller. The master villain does not have a team of Euro-thugs like in Die Hard . Instead, he had to recruit the dregs from the local county jail-house. One is a nervous rookie, another is a borderline psycho. Yes, all the archetypes are covered. Things go well until the Real Estate Agent ( Christa Miller ) turns up.

    In the fifteen years since the original room, it seems that there has not been much improvement in CCTV technology. The security system includes a small drone, but that is about the only update. Similarly, the protagonist has no military-style skills or gear. She has to fumble her way through the encounters, and relies more on luck than actual ability.

    The acting performances are decent, but the film is let down by its basic unoriginality.

    Call To Spy, A (2019)

    Call To Spy, A (2019) In 1941, Vera Atkins ( Stana Katic ) is the private secretary to Buckminister (Linus Roache - Vikings ). Since Buck is the head of Special Operations Executive, a British Special Forces unit set up by Winston Churchill, this gives Vera a lot of power - if not much official authority. She recruits female agents who are sent behind enemy lines in France, where they are hunted by both Vichy French police and the Gestapo.

    At first, Vera has to pressure her male superiors into accepting women recruits. This is the cliched story of male patriarchy. However, later on the story shifts gear. Because the female agents prove themselves successful, Vera puts her effort into attempting to stop them from being put in even more dangerous situations. Yes, this is the down-side of gender equality ... the removal of privilege that protects females from the burdens that males take for granted.

    The film focuses on two female field agents in particular. No, not Violet Szabo and Odette Samson - they both got their biopic movies made in the 1950s. This time it is the turn of Noor Inayat Khan, a Sufi Princess who became a wireless operator, and Virgina Hall - an American woman who has an artificial leg.

    Vera has her own special level of oppression to deal with. Not only is she a woman in a man's world, she is also a Romanian Jew in 1940s England. As a result, she has her own private battle to become a naturalised British citizen.

    As the lack of big-name stars suggests, this was shot on a TV-show budget. The locations are Pennsylvania and Hungary, not known for big-budget productions, and it is shot as a drama with little suspense or action. Nice if you want to know a bit of history, but not exactly a thrill a minute stuff.

  • Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
  • Charlie's Angels (2019)

    Charlie's Angels (2019) This is a hatefully bad movie, twisted far beyond what is normally found in the action thriller genre. What it does right is limited to about two things. One is the pairing of a male screenwriter with a female director, which in principle guarantees fifty percent representation for each gender at writer/director level. The second is the default casting of brunette women - for the protagonists, at least. If this had been extended into the villains, the result would be a stronger movie.

    The introductory once upon a time section, which used irony to contast the cliche of three little girls with the extreme competence of the strong female protagonists, has been ditched. Instead we get a video montage of young women playing a variety of outdoor pastimes. Yes, this bit is basically an advert for tampons.

    The main plot is a lot like the generic Mission: Predictable movies. The new client is a scientist ( Naomi Scott ) who works on a team that has invented a new energy source. This is the McGuffin that the Angels chase around Europe after. Since there are only two Angels, the scientist fills in for the third one.

    The scientist is a terrible employee, and the others are terrible human beings. They walk through this generic plot, leaving a trail of unnecessary corpses.

    Since Mission: Predictable always involves a betrayal, this follows the same trope. Old Bosley (Patrick Stewart - Star Trek: TNG ) has been forced into early retirement by Girl Bosley ( Elizabeth Banks ). She used to be an Angel, before she got promoted. Now we are reminded that at least one Angel was corrupt - see Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle . So is this movie deep enough to have a female villain, or is the term straight man synonymous with bad guy?

    The two McG movies, which are still part of this effort's backstory, got humour from comedic homages to famous motion pictures. In contrast, the Banks movie attempts humour through horrendous gender-based violence against men. There are multiple examples of a male character's death being so gruesome and undeserved that it far exceeds the karmic balance. We all recall the mediocre movie Jurassic World , and how the gratuitous death scene of Katie McGrath was called out as being excessive. In contrast, the mainstream has ignored many such similar scenes in this effort.

    Colombiana (2011)

    Colombiana (2011) This starts in Colombia, 1992. A gangster and his wife ( Cynthia Addai-Robinson ) are targeted by a hit-squad. Their daughter turns out to be a free-runner, and she easily evades the gun-toting adult men who chase her. Then she outsmarts the CIA, and gets to Chicago. Her Uncle (Cliff Curtis - Risen ) trains her as a world-class assassin, like in Leon .

    Fifteen years later, the girl has grown up to be Zoe Saldana . She may be the best assassin in the world, but she has a very nasty habit of grandstanding. Leaving a calling card is bad enough, but instead of killing a man with a single shot she takes out all his security team as well for no reason. This does not get her enemy's attention, she just gets herself targeted by FBI Agent Lennie James ( Walking Dead ).

    The arch-villain, the Colombian drug lord who killed her parents, is under witness relocation thanks to CIA Agent Callum Blue ( Dead like Me ). However, he still has his old death squad hanging around.

    This was directed by Olivier Megaton , and is basically a cliched shoot-em-up.

    Daughter of the Wolf (2019)

    Daughter of the Wolf (2019) This starts with a botched ransom handover that turns into a shootout. Gina Carano ends up in pursuit of Larson (Brendan Fehr - Roswell High ), one of the crew who kidnapped her son. She makes him lead her to the rest of the gang.

    The kidnappers are led by Father (Richard Dreyfuss - Jaws (1975) ). Unfortunately they cannot shoot straight, and they are being stalked by a ravenous pack of man-eating wolves.

    The acting is not great - Dreyfuss chews the scenery, but Carano seems quite out of her depth. The setting worked better in a few Canadian thrillers starring Marie Avgeropolous . The storyline uses aspects from a couple of Liam Neeson films - the kidnapped offspring worked better in Taken and the wolves were a more effective presence in The Grey . As for the action scenes - the stunt doubles may outnumber the listed cast, but the fights themselves are unconvincing.

    Desperate Hour, The (2022)

    Desperate Hour, The (2022) The protagonist ( Naomi Watts ) is a widowed single mother. She goes out for a morning jog while her children are meant to be at school, and conducts her life over her mobile phone. Yes, this is a lot like Locke - the one-man play starring Tom Hardy.

    Things take a turn for the worse when the protagonist discovers there is a shooting incident at her son's school. Yes, this movie deals with the same kind of school shooting as Run Hide Fight (2021) ... but the politics of it are very different. Instead of showing guns as tools that can be used for good or evil, this movie has an anti-gun message tagged on to the end credits.

    Since this was shot during the Covid lockdown, most of it is about the main character alone in the woods. Instead of confronting the villain with physical violence, she interacts with him and the other characters over her phone. Perhaps the best comparison would be with that movie which features Ryan Reynolds buried alive in a wooden crate.

    The other thing that sets this movie apart is the fact that suspicion is thrown on the protagonist's son. This begs a comparison with We Need to Talk About Kevin.

    Destroyer (2018)

    Destroyer (2018) Erin Bell ( Nicole Kidman ) is an LAPD detective, the cliched hard-drinking alcoholic divorcee. While this would be acceptable for a male star, in this case it just makes the female star look her own age. She gets a murder case, a gang member who was killed execution-style. This is the same gang that she once went undercover to infiltrate, fifteen years earlier. Now she has to look up a bunch of familiar faces.

    The flashbacks, of Erin in her rookie days, show the made-up Kidman that we are used to. Her police partner in the undercover job is Chris (Sebastian Stan - Captain America: Winter Soldier ). In a well-acted story, we see them get sucked further and further into the underworld life that they are only supposed to pretend.

    Erin's target is Silas (Toby Kebbell - Hurricane Heist ), the former leader of the ARV gang. She will do anything to get her hands on him, which comes out when she goes after his girlfriend Petra ( Tatiana Maslany ). This leads to a tough girl-fight, although the movie does not seem to pass the Bechdel test.

    DOA: Dead Or Alive (2006)

    DOA: Dead Or Alive (2006) A trio of high-kicking kung-fu babes (Ninja Princess Devon Aoki , Texan wrestler Jamie Pressley and Australian cat-burglar Holly Valance ) are all invited by rollergirl Sarah Carter and suspiciously friendly Eric Roberts ( The Expendables ) to fight in a Mixed Martial-Arts tournament. Like in Mortal Kombat , without all the Otherworld stuff.

    Natassia Malthe is a Ninja sent to kill the Princess for abandoning the clan. The so-called Ninjas use Chinese skills, not Japanese ones, but this is not the kind of film to take seriously.

    The fights are well-shot and expertly choreographed, but it descends to typically OTT wire-fu. This was shot by a Hong Kong director on a Hollywood budget ...

    The Doorman (2020)

    The Doorman (2020) Ali ( Ruby Rose ) is a military combat veteran who gets hired for security in an apartment block.

  • Vanquish (2021)
  • Everly (2015)

    Everly (2015) Everly ( Salma Hayek ) is a woman who spent four years as a sex slave of the Yakuza. Now, on the day she had planned to make her escape, her old boss sends his goons to attack her apartment. He even sends the other hookers, including Jennifer Blanc . However, Everly manages to take them all on single-handedly.

    Like all modern crime/action thrillers, this owes a lot to the works of Quentin Tarantino . It is basically Kill Bill made on the budget of Reservoir Dogs.

    Excessive Force 2: Force on Force (1995)

    Excessive Force 2: Force on Force (1995) This starts with a gangland assassination team get ambushed by a team of mercenaries. A homeless man sees one of the shooters, and the cops trace the shooter's tattoo to the US Navy Seals. When they report this to the US Military, a Special Forces operator named Bobbi ( Stacey Randall ) investigates.

    Bobbi is not a great investigator, since she tends to kill suspects rather than take them alive for interrogation. It turns out that she is not an NCIS agent, and instead just wants revenge on her former Special Forces unit.

    The result is a halfway decent movie. Considering it is a low-budget straight-to-video effort from the mid-nineties it is actually quite watchable. While there are no recognisable names in the cast, they acquit themselves well. The bad guys are actually fleshed out, rather than just being cardboard targets for the protagonist to knock down. Also, despite Bobbi and the others being proficient with martial arts the characters only go hand-to-hand as a last resort. Instead they do what real Navy Seals would do, and that is to go for a weapon at every opportunity.

    Fathom (1967)

    Fathom (1967) Fathom ( Raquel Welch ) is a woman skydiver.

    Ghost in the Shell (2017)

    Ghost in the Shell (2017) This is a completely unnecessary remake of a classic Manga cartoon. The story originates in Japan, but it is made in an era when the big Hollywood studios are attempting to open up the Chinese market. So who is the best person to play the lead role? The role is for an Asian female, but will the actress be Japanese or Chinese? Well ... it is the auburn-haired caucasian Scarlett Johannson ! Her sidekick is another caucasian - Pilou Asbaek ( Game of Thrones ). The only non-English speaker is the boss (Beat Takeshi - ), who talks in Japanese while everyone else responds to him in English.

    The film is intended to be shown to American audiences without subtitles. As a result it completely lacks subtlety. For example, when Johansson becomes a cyborg the doctor ( Juliette Binoche ) explains that her mind - the Ghost of the title - is in a shell-like robot body.

    The Major, a cyborg, is part of a police unit that runs a dystopian city. The villains are held to be bad people because they believe that the good of the many outweighs the good of the few. In contrast, the police kill suspects on sight and rarely take prisoners, so the issue of morality is irrelevant.

    A Good Woman Is Hard To Find (2019)

    A Good Woman Is Hard To Find (2019) A single mother ( Sarah Bolger ) living in a dodgy working-class neighbourhood is dragged into a drug-dealer's plot. The violence escalates, until she eventually goes on a murder spree.

    The problem is that this film lacks any kind of context. It is set in a working class neighbourhood in Belfast, which is an incredibly politicised environment. The truth is that this was written by a Dublin-based screenwriter, so it is basically a Dublin story that is only set in Belfast.

    Gunpowder Milkshake (2021)

    Gunpowder Milkshake (2021) Sam ( Karen Gillen ) is a hit-woman who works for The Firm. Her mother ( Lena Headey ) trained her as as assassin, then left town and abandoned her in the care of her boss Nathan (Paul Giamatti - Morgan ). While The Firm may be run by men, it turns out that the Assassins' Guild is run by women. Sam gets help from her mother's friends - Madeline the Librarian ( Carla Gugino ), Anna May ( Angela Bassett ) and Florence ( Michelle Yeoh ). The doctor, ironcally a traditionally female profession, is a man (Michael Smiley - A Field In England ).

    Sam messes up two assignments in one night. She kills the son of a rival gangster, Jim McAlester (Ralph Ineson - Hurricane Heist ). Then, she decides to make a ransom drop instead of a simple debt collection. While her intentions are pure, and she saves a young girl's life in the process, she can no longer count on the protection of her former bosses. Now she must go on the run with the girl, pursued by McAlester's nephew (Adam Nagaitis - The Terror ) and a couple of dozen expendable hitmen.

    The violence is so extreme that it might be called Tarantinoesque. However, Quentin Tarantino started with Reservoir Dogs - which used extreme violence in a way that shocked the audience. In contrast, the violence in this film is generally without consequences - it is comedic violence that is pretty much played for laughs. While it may seem to be a female version of John Wick , it owes more to the most recent version of Charlie's Angels (2019) .

    Rambo: Last Blood was called out because the protagonist basically wipes out the adult male population of a Mexican slum. In comparison, this movie kills all the Russian and Irish-American men ... yet it is portrayed as being good clean fun.

    Hanna (2011)

    Hanna (2011) Hanna ( Saoirse Ronan ) is raised in a snowy wilderness to be an expert warrior - like Conan the Barbarian . Being a girl, however, a better comparison might be to say that she was raised like Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass .

    Eric Bana has been living in secret off the grid, like he did in Hulk . But when Hanna is old enough, he sends her to kill his arch-enemy Cate Blanchett .

    This has elements of fairytales, with Hanna as a Little Red Riding Hood and Blanchett as a Wicked Witch. But Bana is an unstoppable killing machine in his own right, especially compared to the mediocre henchmen that Blanchett deploys, that the main battle is something of an anti-climax.

    Hannah's Law (2012)

    Hannah's Law (2012) This is a Canadian made-for-TV western directed by Rachel Talalay .

    Abeline, Texas in 1866. A young girl lives on a farm with her father (Cameron Bancroft - Codename Eternity ) and the rest of her family. Unfortunately the family are massacred by a gang led by a outlaw named McMurphy (John Pyper-Ferguson - Alphas ). McMurphy wears a Union Army cap, although since his gang includes a Native American he may just be a deserter.

    Ten years later the girl has grown up to become Sarah Canning . She earns a living as a bounty hunter, serving warrants made out by Wyatt Earp (Greyston Holt - Bitten ). There is a gambler in the local tavern who seems to be Doc Holliday, Which one is her love interest?

    Familiar faces include a powerful cattle baron (Billy Zane - Back to the Future ).

    There is a predictable subplot. The protagonist's foster father Isaac (Danny Glover - Age of Dragons ) is wanted for murder. Another bounty hunter comes to town in search of him.

    Haywire (2011)

    Haywire (2011) This is a modern 21st Century thriller, but it is closer in tone to the 1970s than the techno-thrillers of today. Mallory ( Gina Carano ) is a female Jason Bourne, on a roaring rampage of revenge, rather than a hi-tech James Bond. She is double-crossed and left for dead, as is typical in these things.

    Can the lead actress cut it? She is a Mixed Martial Arts cage-fighter, not a supermodel or Shakespearean thespian, but the script was written for her strengths. If The Rock can follow in Arnold Schwarzenegger's footsteps, why can a woman not do likewise? A look at the male action stars (Van Damme, Seagal, Lundgren, etc) shows a tendency towards athleticism over thespianism.

    Stephen Soderburgh delivers a lot of action, but the cast does not let up in terms of acting ability. Duplicitous characters include Michael Fassbender ( X-Men: First Class ), Ewan McGregor ( Star Wars: TPM ) and Antonio Banderas ( Mark of Zorro ).

    Heist (2015)

    Heist (2015) Jeffrey Dean Morgan ( Watchmen ) needs a lot of money because his daughter has cancer. Yes, just like in Breaking Bad we see good people driven to crime by the lack of single-payer healthcare. When his boss, casino owner Robert DeNiro ( Red Lights ) refuses to loan him the money, our hero teams up with security guard Dave Batista ( Spectre ) to rob the place.

    Naturally, like all movie robberies it goes wrong. The protagonists end up on a city-bus, followed by a police officer ( Gina Carano ) on night patrol. If this was shot from her perspective, it would be a straight-up action movie instead of a crime thriller.

    All in all this is not a bad film, although it seems quite reminiscent of the movies of the 1990s which came out in the years after Reservoir Dogs.

    Hunt, The (2020)

    Hunt, The (2020) Yoga Pants ( Emma Roberts ), Staten Island (Ike Barinholtz - Suicide Squad (2015) ), Gary (Ethan Suplee - Mallrats (1995) ) and Crystal ( Betty Gilpin ) are a bunch of Trump-supporting deplorables who wake up in chains. It turns out that they have been abducted by Manorgate, a crew of rich liberals led by the mysterious Athena ( Hilary Swank ), who use the Trumpets as prey in The Most Dangerous Game .

    What the Manorgate team failed to realise is that Crystal is a highly-trained military veteran. She handles herself like a seasoned professional, and takes on everyone who she comes up against. Unfortunately she learns she cannot trust the obvious.

    This was quite controversial when it first came out, because it portrays the deplorables as sympathetic ... something which they themselves found offensive! In contrast, real-life liberals were able to laugh at a highly exaggerated portrayal of their own sensibilities.

    Hurricane Heist (2018)

    Hurricane Heist (2018) An American town is about to be flooded out by a major storm. Some robbers want to steal cash from the delivery van, and the only one who can save the federally insured money is a security guard. There is also a redneck sheriff giving people a hard time. Yes, the plot is Hard Rain (1998) and Maggie Grace is basically just the female Christian Slater.

    The action heroine is helped by a pair of redneck brothers - Toby Kebbell ( Bloodshot (2020) ) and Ryan Kwanten ( True Blood ). Despite their heavy Alabama accents, one is English and the other is Australian. Well, the film was mostly shot in Bulgaria so we are lucky they spoke the right language.

    The so-called villains seize the highly secure Federal depository with zero loss of life. All they want to do is steal some money that has been marked for destruction. In real life, the serial numbers would be recorded so it would be very difficult to use. Anyway, once the so-called heroine gets involved the body-count sky-rockets.

    The kill scenes are done in the spirit of the Hayes Code - people can get killed, but very rarely do we see them bleed. This kind of cartoonish approach to violence, where the true consequences are not shown on-screen, is typical of modern action movies.

    Jane Got A Gun (2015)

    Jane Got A Gun (2015) Jane ( Natalie Portman ) discovers that her husband, Bill (Noah Emmerich - ), has been shot full of holes by a gang of outlaws. Worse, they are on their way to finish the job. Luckily, Jane is a hardy pioneer woman. This could almost be a sequel to her cameo in Cold Mountain , except Jane's fiance fought for the North instead of the South.

    Jane hires the neighbour to help her defend the farm. He is her ex-fiance, so there is a lot of interpersonal stuff going on.

    We get a series of flashbacks to Jane's romance before the Civil War. Then, when her fiance goes off to be a hero, she decides to take her daughter and become pioneers in New Mexico. Yes, this is Manifest Destiny in action - the Mexicans and Native Americans have been driven off, so the land is free for the white folk.

    The leaders of the gang are Bill Bishop (Ewan McGregor - ) and his brother Vic (Boyd Holbrook - Morgan (2016) ). However, this is not much of a reunion for the two stars of Star Wars: 1-3 . Instead, it seems to be just another female-led action piece that McGregor has charitably lent his A-list name to. After all, it comes between Haywire (2011) and Birds of Prey (2020) .

    So why is this not a much more well-known film? Perhaps its troubled production has something to do with it. The original Director ( Lynne Ramsey ) quit, and the main cast had to be re-shuffled. This kind of thing must have hit the studio's confidence, and resulted in a lack of promotion for the film.

    Jolt (2021)

    Jolt (2021) Jolt ( Kate Beckinsale ) is a woman with superhuman strength and a tendency to extreme rage. Basically, She-Hulk.

  • 2000
  • Kate (2021)

    Kate (2021) The protagonist ( Mary Elisabeth Winstead ) is an assassin.

    Kitchen, The (2018)

    The Kitchen (2018) This is set in Hell's Kitchen, a working-class Irish-American community in New York. In the late 1970s a trio of gangsters are arrested by FBI Agent Common ( Run All Night ). Their wives step up to take over their crime rackets. Yes, this is like a poor copy of Widows (2018) .

    Each of the wives has their own story arc. The mother ( Melissa McCarthy ) has to cope without the father of her children. The battered wife ( Elizabeth Moss ) becomes lover and apprentice to a hitman (Domnall Gleason - Star Wars: The Force Awakens ). The most interesting story arc is of the black wife.

    This follows in the line of movies like Scarface (1981). However, that entire genre is about the rise and fall of the gangsters. Where this movie fails is that most of the female thugs do not face any real karmic justice for their misdeeds.

  • Widows (2018)
  • Long Kiss Goodnight, The (1995)

    Long Kiss Goodnight, The (1995) Charley ( Geena Davis ) is a woman with amnesia, who lives the life of a happy home-maker in small-town suburban USA. Then she discovers she has a secret past, like Quaid in Total Recall .

    The second part of the movie shares a lot with Lethal Weapon. Charley and her only ally, a Private Investigator named Mitch (Samuel L Jackson - Django Unchained ) must hunt down the villain (Craig Bierko - Red Dwarf USA ) who gave her amnesia in the first place.

    The twist is simple. The CIA is facing a major budget reduction, so the boss (Patrick Malahide - Game of Thrones ) plans to stage a mass-casualty event on US soil and pin it on Arab terrorists so he can hot up a war in the Middle East and justify his budget for the forseeable future. If this sounds familiar, when the 9/11 attacks happened on the World Trade Centre five years after this movie was released, the CIA budget-building agenda was at the top of everyone's mind.

    So why did Davis, best known for comedies like Earth Girls Are Easy , do an action movie? Well, ever since she talked her way into a title role in Thelma and Louise (1991) she developed an agenda to promote non-traditional roles for females. She and her husband, director Renny Harlin , furthered that agenda with a couple of female-led action movies in the mid-1990s, The other one was Cutthroat Island , which flopped so badly it sank the studio that launched it.

    Lucy (2014)

    Lucy (2014) Scarlet Johannson is shanghaied (no pun intended) into delivering a mysterious briefcase to a gangster in Taiwan. Unfortunately, these gangsters have no concept of the word subtlety. They leave a lot of messy corpses all over the place, like a cannibalistic family of hillbillies in a clichéd horror movie.

    The McGuffin is a new drug that unlocks the human brain’s full potential. This was previously covered in the film Limitless , where the drug only increased intelligence. However, in this film the drug also gives the taker telepathy, then telekinesis … and finally turns them into a Star Trek creature of pure energy.

    Miss Bala (2019)

    Miss Bala (2019) A Latina make-up artiste ( Gina Rodriguez ) gets sick of working with Thomas Dekker ( Sarah Connor Chronicles ) in Los Angeles. She goes south to visit her friend in Baja California, which is over the border in Mexico. However, her trip takes a turn for the worse when she gets caught in a shootout between cops and gangsters.

    This is not a straight-up action thriller, more of a film noir. There is a crime, and the protagonist is implicated. She is blackmailed by both the gangsters and the DEA, so there is nobody she can turn to for help. Certainly not the local cops, who seem to be highly corrupt.

    One of the gangsters, the local Cartel boss, uses her to smuggle things to Anthony Mackie ( Captain America: Winter Soldier ) in the USA. The heroine learns to cover her tracks, by lying and framing people for her misdeeds.

    The climax is a shoot-out where she has to rescue her friend. Luckily, the Cartel boss taught her how to use an AR-15 rifle. Despite his attempts to bond with her, she is unhappy about the idea he may have lied to her. Yes, as if her part in their relationship involved complete honesty.

    Momentum (2015)

    Momentum (2015) Olga Kurlyenko is leader of a gang of professional thieves. Not burglary specialists, but armed robbery with violence. They do a big heist in Cape Town, South Africa, then plan to move on to other jobs.

    A US Senator (Morgan Freeman - Angel Has Fallen ) has sent his fixer (James Purefoy - Solomon Kane ) to retrieve a stolen mcguffin. It is in the hands of one of Olga's crew, so she gets caught up in a series of chase scenes.

    The female lead is a decent enough actress for the role. After all, it is an action movie - not Shakespeare. She even looks pretty good in the fight scenes, thanks to great editing and a skilled stunt double. However, she is basically a slender-built model. It just strains suspension of disbelief when she defeats heavier-built males in contests of brute strength.

    The ending is open, as if to leave room for a sequel. Unfortunately it does not seem to have done well enough at the box office for the producers to justify it. Although shooting in Eastern Europe would be just as affordable as in South Africa, this is not the kind of movie that becomes a franchise-starter.

  • Sentinelle (2021)
  • Monster Hunter (2021)

    Monster Hunter (2021) Ron Perlman ( Season Of The Witch ) captains a sailing ship that somehow sails on a sea of sand. As if this were not a bad enough idea by itself, the ship sails into a storm and is attacked by a Sandworm from Dune . The Hunter (Tony Jaa - Fast and Furious 7 ) falls out, and has to be abandoned.

    Captain Artemis ( Milla Jovovich ) is a battle-hardened US Army Ranger, leader of a mixed-gender Special Ops unit that includes Megan Good . They are searching for another team that went missing. First they find a strange storm that lands them in an unfamiliar desert ... and then they find out what happened to the other team. The sandworm is not the only monster out there ...

    Artemis ends up in the hands of the Hunter. Rather than try to communicate with her, he just ties her up. This begins an adversarial relationship reminiscent of Hell in the Pacific, best known by its scifi remake Enemy Mine . These mis-matched warriors must team up to fight the monsters if they ever want to find their way home.

    This is a very simple story, basically a series of action scenes strung together with the backstory taken from a video game franchise. Yes, it sounds just like the Resident Evil series, which Jovovich also made with director Paul WS Anderson . But what this lacks in originality it makes up for in the quality of the SPFX.

    Morgan (2016)

    Morgan (2016) Brian Cox sends a young female troubleshooter ( Kate Mara ) to investigate a robotic prototype that injured one of its creators. The robot, a girl they named Morgan ( Anya Taylor-Joy ), lives in a bunker in the grounds of a remote mansion. The mansion this was filmed at is in Northern Ireland, but it seems to be standing in for Canada. The scientists include a few familiar faces - Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michelle Yeoh, Rose Leslie .

    The film starts slowly, as we get to know a bit about each of the characters. This does not really make us care about any of them, because everything is so slow-moving that they just seem a bit boring. There is a certain amount of tension, however. That is because of the ever-present fear that this story might just be another Frankenstein story, the kind that every robot-based storyline usually turns into - one where the scientists are destroyed by their own creation.

    Things really start to happen with the arrival of the interrogator (Paul Giamatti - Shoot 'Em Up ). His scene-stealing, scenery-chewing performance really brings the show to life, and lets us realise exactly what is missing from the rest of the film. Unfortunately this is something of a high point. There are a few action scenes, including the compulsory car chase, but nothing in the original setup really led up to this.

    Old Guard, The (2020)

    Old Guard, The (2020) The main character ( Charlize Theron ) is the leader of a gang of centuries-old mercenaries.

  • Aeon Flux (2005)
  • Atomic Blonde (2017)
  • Operative, The (2019)

    Operative, The (2019) The protagonist ( Diane Kruger ) is a Mossad operative sent undercover in Tehran. Her story is told mostly in flashback, as her handler (Martin Freeman - The Hobbit ) is interviewed by his boss a few years later.

    The nearest thing to compare this to is The Little Drummer Girl , although that focuses on Israel's war of terrorism and counter-terrorism in Europe, while this is more about the threat of nuclear war with Iran. The female protagonist is shown how ruthless the Mossad are, but still allows herself to be dragged into their plot. Eventually she realises that she is out of her depth, but there is nothing she can do about it.

    The final act shows her in the modern day, when she tries to get herself out of the web she has been spun into. This makes her like a female Jason Bourne , hunted by the assassins she once worked alongside. If only there were a sequel that could explore this storyline further ...

    Peppermint (2018)

    Peppermint (2018) This starts with a male-female fight to the death. He pulls a knife, she pulls a gun, and it is obvious who is going to win. However, the realism seems to stop there. Garner gets a deep slash across her thigh, yet somehow walks miles on that leg without bleeding to death from the untreated wound.

    Riley North ( Jennifer Garner ) is the female version of The Punisher . Garner has done action roles before, as lead in the TV thriller series Alias (2001) and as the title character in the superhero movie Elektra (2005) . Now she comes back with a darker, more mature entry in the genre. While those previous roles had a spark of glamour and femninity, in this movie she is basically a default male. If the role was played by Gerard Butler it would be Law Abiding Citizen (2009) , although that had a much more fitting ending.

    The title is not the main character's name, which is unusual for a female-led action film. In an extended flashback, we are shown that the character's daughter sold and ate peppermint cookies. Unfortunately the baby-daddy was associated with the Irish Mob, and fell foul of the Mexican Mafia. This led to him getting killed in a drive-by, along with his daughter (who he used as a human shield).

    Some revenge movies, like John Wick , are about someone who has a code of honour. Some, like Death Wish, are about someone who punishes themselves by seeking confrontation. This movie is about a spree killer who wants to wipe out the Mexican Mafia. There is one character moment, however, when she beats up an unarmed white man simply because he is a high-functioning alcoholic. This may be a proxy attack on Garner's former husband (Ben Affleck - Daredevil ), who was driven to drink by the stress of being married to her.

    The movie seems to glamourise vigilante justice, especially when used by white suburbanites against ethnic minorities and poor people in general. The protagonist, Riley North, is not merely the Wicked Witch of the North ... she is Kylie Titsandcooch, a female version of Kyle Rittenhouse.

    Pimp (2018)

    Pimp (2018) This is the story of a female pimp ( Keke Palmer ). As with most gangster stories, it is not so much a case of rags-to-riches as it is a rise-and-fall.

    When our heroine tries to recruit a hot new girl ( Vanessa Morgan ), she falls foul of a dangerous rival pimp.

    Pixie (2020)

    Pixie (2020) Pixie ( Olivia Cooke ) is a tweenage femme fatale who manipulates a couple of idiots who rip off a gang of gun-toting Catholic priests led by Alec Baldwin ( Beetlejuice ). It all gets a bit complicated, and she ends up on the run with a couple of losers and a bag full of drugs. Pixie's stepfather (Colm Meaney - Star Trek: DS9 ), the top gangster in town, sends his best hitman (Ned Dennehy - Roadkill ) after the fugitives.

    This is set in County Sligo in the West of Ireland, but none of the main cast seem to be from that town. In fact, it is a Northern Ireland Screen co-production so the indoor scenes were probably all shot in Belfast.

    Protege, The (2021)

    Protege, The (2021) The protagonist ( Maggie Q ) is the deadliest assassin in the world.

    Proud Mary (2018)

    Proud Mary (2018) Like most female-led action movies, this is named after the protagonist. The fact that Mary ( Taraji P. Henson ) is specified as being Proud is a reference to a Tina Turner song, thus marking this as a modern-day Blaxploitation movie.

    Henson previously played a freelance killer in Smoking Aces . This time she is an assassin who works for a Chicago crime syndicate run by Danny Glover ( Age of Dragons ). One of the killings she commits leaves a young boy orphaned. A year later, the boy is homeless and earns a crust by running errands for a rival gangster, Uncle (Xander Berkley - Barb Wire ). A shocking indictment of Child Protective Services and the foster-care system. Mary intervenes, and things get violent.

    It looks like things might boil over into all-out war with Uncle's gang. Mary needs a patsy, so she picks the black syndicate's token white man - her good buddy Walter (Neal McDonagh - Legends of Tomorrow ). He is implied to be of the same inclination as his character in Justified, but this is still a nasty move for a character to make.

    The gang war breaks out anyway. The Godfather has a small army of thugs and enforcer, but he prefers to use Mary as a one-woman army. After all, he trained her and his son as super-assassins. This is the old cliche, like Liam Neeson in Run All Night or Tom Hanks in Road To Perdition . In other words, this is a very old-fashioned kind of movie.

    In the climax, Mary's unofficial foster-son gets held hostage by her bosses. She must defeat her entire army of cow-orkers in order to save the boy. Obviously, this chevalric motive raises her above the generic hard-boiled revenge-motivated heroes of most film noir movies. However, sad to say this film really has nothing new or original to offer.

    The Quick And The Dead (1995)

    The Quick And The Dead (1995) The protagonist ( Sharon Stone ) is a gunfighter in the wild west. She rides into town, the cliched stranger in search of vengeance.

    Red Sparrow (2018)

    Red Sparrow (2018) This is a star vehicle for Jennifer Lawrence , a capable actress who was boosted to super-stardom status. Since she made it directly after Passengers , a blockbuster that lost money because of a backlash against her casting in a reactive role, she is now cast in a far more active role.

    Lawrence is a Prima Ballerina in Moscow when she gets an injury that ends her career. This is when her character is established, as is the genre of the film. She seeks bloody revenge on those she holds responsible for her injury. Throughout the film, she follows the path of revenge. There is no character development, no learning of morality - the only thing she develops is her ability to destroy peoples' bodies and lives.

    The ex-Ballerina's uncle is Assistant Director of Russian Intelligence. He recruits her for undercover work, and sends her to a special school run by Charlotte Rampling . She is trained to seduce and destroy enemies of the state, like a female James Bond.

    Meanwhile, a CIA Agent (Joel Edgerton - Midnight Special (2015) ) is running a Mole in Moscow. Unfortunately Edgerton's tradecraft is sloppy: his pass-off is clumsy, and draws attention of local beat cops. Worse, he then panicks and then blows his cover. Yes, he is the worst CIA Agent ever. But he has to be, to make the ex-Ballerina look good.

    Finally, Lawrence is posted abroad with flat-mate Thekla Reuten , and ordered to seduce Edgerton in order to uncover the Mole. She tells him that she wants to defect, for some strange reason. Her logic is never realistically explained - however, she is obsessed with revenge for any imagined slight so perhaps it is best to see her as a manipulator akin to Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct . Only without the glamourous sex scenes, of course. At its heart this is a grim and gritty revenge thriller, nothing more.

    Rhythm Section, The (2020)

    Rhythm Section, The (2020) This starts in Tangier, with Stephanie Patrick ( Blake Lively ) on a mission to assassinate someone. The rest of the story is in flashback.

    Stephanie is an English girl whose parents and siblings were killed in a plane crash. Since then, for the last three years, she has fallen on hard times - with addiction issues and a job as a low-end sex worker. A freelance journalist confronts her with his theory that the plane was destroyed by a terrorist's bomb. She sets out to track down and kill the terrorist cell.

    Stephanie is trained by an ex-MI6 agent named Boyd (Jude Law - AI: Artificial Intelligence ). This is a great sequence, developing the characters and their relationship. It is so much better than the other female-led action movie where Law played the heroine's mentor - Captain Marvel .

    Stephanie goes undercover as a freelance assassin named Petra, and gets involved with an underworld fixer named Serra (Sterling K Brown - The Predator (2019) ). For the right price, he will give her info on the terrorists ... and even find some high-paying wet-work for her to do.

    This is a revenge thriller, so there is no chivalry or glamour. The violence is brutal, and Stephanie takes a real beating a few times. Of course, as the protagonist she wins more than she loses.

    The main plot is about hunting down the mysterious mastermind behind the bombing - an Unknown Suspect known only as codename U17. The problem with this is that it is basically a whodunnit that has a very limited list of suspects. Not as bad as the MCU movies, which all have pretty much the same twist, but it still gets a bit predictable.

    Rogue (2020)

    Rogue (2020) The protagonist ( Megan Fox ) is a battle-hardened mercenary.

    Run Hide Fight (2021)

    Run Hide Fight (2021) The protagonist ( Isabel May ) is a High School girl in small-town USA. Her father (Thomas Jane - Punisher ) is a deer-hunter who taught her how to use a hunting rifle, but beyond that she has no special skills. As a result she is a compelling character that is relatable and sympathetic, unlike the two-dimensional Mary Sue protagonists in most contemporary female-led action movies.

    It is Senior Prank Day at High School, when the graduating class play practical jokes on the teachers. A handful of the pupils have taken it a step further, and hold half the school hostage at gunpoint. They have diversions to distract the Sheriff (Treat Williams - The Phantom ), so the girl is left to save the day. If anything, the most unbelievable aspect about it is the fact that the school staff apparently cannot hear the gunshots!

    This is the first movie by Ben Shapiro's production house, and it is nice to see that an indie movie is getting a wide release. While Shapiro is best known as a so-called Alt-Right figure, this movie focuses on entertainment rather than politics. The irony is that, with Shapiro's signing of Gina Carano , he might become the main Producer of female-led action movies.

    Salt (2010)

    Salt (2010) Evelyn Salt ( Angelina Jolie ) is a CIA Agent. She gets accused of being a mole, so she goes on the run to clear her name. Yes, the same plotline that Tom Cruise goes through in every Mission: Predictable movie. Ironically, Cruise apparently turned this movie down. Liev Shriver ( Scream ) is in charge of the (wo-)man hunt.

    When this came out, mainstream critics lauded it as the first female-led action movie. Of course, not only is this a slap in the face to fans of the Resident Evil franchise or the Underworld series, but it also ignores the fact that the female lead in this film had already starred in TWO Lara Croft movies!

    Sentinelle (2021)

    Sentinelle (2021) The protagonist ( Olga Kurylenko ) is a soldier.

  • Momentum (2015)
  • Survivor (2015)

    Survivor (2015) Kate Abbot ( Milla Jovovich ) is a security officer working at the US Embassy in London. When she investigates a visa application by a scientist named Balan (Roger Rees - Robin Hood: Men In Tights (1993) ), she discovers a disturbing pattern that may be linked to international terrorism. The obvious suspect is her boss, Bill Talbot (Robert Forster - ), but rather than report him she continues to blindly trust him.

    When Kate is out with Naomi Rosenbaum ( Antonia Thomas ) and her other cow-orkers, they are targeted by an aging hit-man known as the Watchmaker (Pierce Brosnan - Die Another Day (2002) ). When Kate escapes, she is blamed for the incident and labelled a terrorist. Yes, this is a generic Mission: Predictable plot about a spy who has been disavowed and must save the day by outsmarting their own Agency instead of just working within the system.

    MI5 Agent Paul Anderson (James D'Arcy - Agent Carter ) is after Kate, and US Ambassador Maureen Crane ( Angela Bassett ) gives him her express permission to kill Kate on sight. The only one who seems to believe Kate is Embassy security officer Sam Parker (Dylan McDermott - ). Of course, he might be a mole as well.

    In the third act, Kate starts to hunt the Watchman instead of the other way around. She has deduced that the plot involves a massive bomb in New York City, so she gets there and chases down the plotters.

    Those Who Wish Me Dead (2021)

    Those Who Wish Me Dead (2021) This is an action movie about a former smoke-jumper who has been reduced to alcoholism because of a failed psychiatric evaluation. What makes this different from the usual straight-to-video action fare is the casting of Angelina Jolie as the cliched alcoholic PTSD veteran. She is well suited to action thrillers, having made several in the past, just as she has never made a successful romantic comedy. The problem is that she has such perfect cheekbones and eye makeup that she is reminiscent of Billy Zane in Titanic. Hardly the stuff of a burned-out alcoholic.

    A thousand miles away, Aiden Gillen ( Game of Thrones ) and Nicholas Hoult ( X-Men: First Class ) are a couple of hitmen with a contract to fulfill. Yes, the villains hired an Englishman and an Irishman to pose as Americans for some reason. Their intended victim (Jake Weber - Medium ) stays a step ahead of them, and heads off to stay with his brother-in-law Deputy Ethan (Jon Bernthal - The Walking Dead ).

    The hitmen set a trap for their victim. However, the man's young son ends up in the hands of Jolie the firefighter. This leads to a situation reminiscent of the trope in childrens' fiction that all the adults have to become neutralised or evil. Since this movie has two female action heroes, one of whom is heavily pregnant, the plot demands that the hitmen – who are incredibly competent when they face off against grown men - become incredibly incompetent against the two women.

    The verdict? If you want to see a good movie about the forest service fire-fighters, check out Always - a little-known gem by Steven Spielberg . And if you are looking for a good action movie with Angelina Jolie, try Salt .

    Ultraviolet (2006)

    Ultraviolet (2006) Violet ( Milla Jovovich ) is a vampiric assassin in a Utopian future. She uses her superpowers to challenge the dictatorship in a climax strangely reminiscent of the far superior Equilibrium . They share the same director, though Equilibrium's German locations made it authentic and menacing while in contrast Ultraviolet's over-reliance on CGI makes it look cartoonish.

    Vanquish (2021)

    Vanquish (2021) A former hard-ass is pulled out of retirement when their child is abducted. The hard-ass is strapped with a body-camera, given orders by remote control, and sent on a one-night mission to hit five local organised crime leaders. Yes, this is the same plot as the far superior Seized (2020) .

    One of the main players is the boss of a gang of corrupt cops, like Denzel Washington in Training Day. He gets crippled in the line of duty, like Denzel Washington in The Bone Collector. So which actor was cast in the role? Morgan Freeman ( Shawshank Redemption )!

    What sets this apart from the movie it apes is that the protagonist is Ruby Rose . Unfortunately she is pretty unconvincing, although in all fairness the script is pretty bland. This is the kind of stuff Jason Staham does, although in fairness he probably turned it down.

  • The Doorman (2020)
  • Widows (2018)

    Widows (2018) The movie starts with Liam Neeson ( Taken ) and John Bernthal ( Punisher ) conducting a heist. Their getaway ends badly when the Police SWAT team acts like a murder squad and shoots first rather than ask questions.

    The widows, Viola Davis and Michelle Rodriguez , must team up to complete the next heist their husbands had planned.

    The story has a subplot about the corruption of Chicago politics. The African-American candidate is a gangster who sends his henchman (Daniel Kaluga - Get Out! ) out to retrieve his stolen money by any means necessary. The rival candidate (Colin Farrell - Minority Report ), pushed into a political career by his overbearing father (Robert Duvall - ), is really not much better.

  • The Kitchen (2018)
  • Wildcat (2021)

    Wildcat (2021) Kat ( Georgina Campbell ) is a worker from the US Embassy in Iraq. She and a US Marine from her protection team have survived an ambush, which happened off-screen before the story starts, and they wake up as prisoners locked in a Jihadi's basement.

    Kat holds out under basic torture, while her Marine bodyguard takes far worse abuse. When confronted with the threat of sexual assault she cracks like a nut, although she chides the Marine when he also cracks in order to save her. Surprise, surprise - this was written and directed by a man. Perhaps if one of those roles had been performed by a female then this would be a bit more convincing.

    This is not a big-budget action movie - more like a theatre play adapted to the bog screen. There are two sets used, and less than a dozen actors. Since the violence mostly happens off-screen, Kat does not try to defeat her captors physically but instead tries to gather as much information about them as she can in order to use it against them.

    Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

    Zero Dark Thirty (2012) This is a true-life film about Maya ( Jessica Chastain ), a character based on a top CIA Agent. This movie follows her as she leads the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. Because it tries to stick to the real-life events, she does not perform any super-human action hero antics. Instead, the climactic shoot-out features US Navy Seals. The third act had to be re-shot, and this scene added, because real-life events caught up with the fictionalised version and Bin Laden's assassination took place before the movie's release.

    Kathryn Bigelow made this as the follow-up to her Oscar-winning Iraq War movie, Hurt Locker. That film has been said to be the beneficiary of the American Film Academy's antagonism to Bigelow's ex-husband, James Cameron , whose film Avatar was also up for many awards that year. In contrast, the Academy's members seem to have objected to this film's storyline and instead chose to award the Best Picture oscar to Ben Affleck's movie Argo . If they had been serious about the quality of Affleck's movie, he would have been nominated for the Best Director award. Although Argo is also a Hollywood take on a true-life story about the USA's involvement in Middle East politics, the Affleck movie showed Hollywood tricksters saving the day with non-violent means. In contrast, Bigelow's version depicted real-life CIA torture techniques.

  • The 355 (2021)
  • Ava (2020)
  • Soon

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