Just like Kill Boksoon, these movies captured the energy and thrill of bad-ass feminine rage.
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You probably have seen or heard of Kill Boksoon, Netflix’s latest Korean action film that has been taking the world by storm. Since its premiere on the streaming platform on March 31, the well-received film has been a steady presence on the Top 10 charts. The story of a mother, who also so happens to be an assassin, has compelled many viewers, whether it be for its characters, intense and adrenaline-pumping action, or that epic commercial starring Rufa Mae Quinto. And it goes without saying that Kill Boksoon serves as another reminder of the power of female leads in action roles.
Over the years, the genre of films about women who rack up a body count that can rival John Wick has given us many gems. Life decided to mess with these women, and that quickly proved to be a mistake. After all, there’s something special about watching well-made movies of unhinged women doing what they do best. So, if you’re looking to scratch that itch Kill Boksoon did of seeing women who you shouldn’t mess with, check out the following titles.
Another day, another Korean film about a woman assassin out for revenge. For all her life, Sook-hee has been trained to be an assassin. But after years of service, she finds a way out and lives a new life as a theater actress. Sadly, her past soon comes back to haunt her, causing Sook-hee to take up arms once more. If the movie’s godly first-person action scenes and motorcycle chase sequence are anything to go by, The Villainess is a frenetic action romp not to be missed.
Charlize Theron is no stranger to serving in the action department. And Atomic Blonde stands as one of her best to date. The film follows Lorraine Broughton, an MI6 agent sent to Berlin during the Cold War to retrieve important files and investigate the death of a fellow agent. As you can expect, her mission is anything but straightforward, and what follows is nearly two hours of crunchy punches, impactful gunshots, and a jaw-dropping 10-minute one-take scene.
We head to 8th-century China for this action movie. Nie Yinniang is an assassin dispatched to take out corrupt and cruel local governors. But one day, after a failed task, she is sent back to her hometown. There, she’s offered a new assignment, one that will test her like no other. The Assassin is an action love story in the finest of ways.
No list of killer women in cinema would be complete without this staple of the genre. When a former assassin leaves behind her crew to get married, her old co-workers gun her down on her wedding day. Miraculously, she survives, but her fiancé doesn’t. So, she embarks on a mission to take down every person who ruined her special day. In two movies, Quentin Tarantino delivers a sprawling action epic that pays homage to its Asian influences all while leading the genre forward.
From acclaimed Old Boy director Park Chan-Wook comes this film on, you guessed it, revenge. The finale of Chan-Wook’s The Vengeance Trilogy, the film follows a woman, Geum-ja Lee, who is accused of crimes she did not commit and is sent to jail for them. Years later, she’s finally free and gets ready to enact her sweet revenge. While Lady Vengeance may not be the most action-packed film on this list, it does succeed with its gripping plot, mature themes, and moody atmosphere.
While the movie’s plot does get convoluted by the end, there’s no denying this action film shines with its lead character, played exceptionally by Scarlett Johansson. After Lucy gets caught in a bad deal, causing experimental drugs to mix in her bloodstream, she transforms from a simple woman into a superpowered-like killer. Now, with the full potential of her mind unlocked, Lucy sets about taking revenge on her former captors.
Seeing Filipina rage on screen hits different. It elevates what could be a simple story into something compelling, such as this film. Maja Salvador and Mikhail Red team up for this story of survival. When police officer Mariano (Salvador) finds herself in a perilous situation, she must use every skill she knows to escape her captors.
An action film that features a cast that includes Karen Gillan, Lena Headey, Michelle Yeoh, and Angela Bassett? That’s no wish list, but a real movie from 2021. Gunpowder Milkshake centers on a mom and her daughter, who both are hitwomen, who must put aside their differences to stop those who look to take everything from them. Come for the cast and action, stay for its mother-daughter story.
While Katniss Everdeen will always be our favorite revolutionary, this spot goes to an underrated gem from Jennifer Lawrence. Looking to escape a tough life, ballerina Dominika Egorova is sent to “Sparrow School” where she is trained in the covert art of espionage and learns the importance of using her body as a weapon. It will soon prove useful to her as Dominika’s first mission is to seduce a CIA agent. While the movie was met with mixed reviews on release, Red Sparrow has proven its merits over the years, particularly with Lawrence’s tour de force lead performance and a story that has more twists than a pretzel.
Ah, now that’s a classic. Always count on Angelina Jolie to deliver competent action films. When a Russian spy is interrogated by the CIA and drops the bombshell that agent Evelyn Salt (Jolie) is a Russian spy set to eliminate the Russian president, Evelyn goes on the run. But is she as innocent as she says?
Continue Reading: 13 Female-Directed Filipino Movies To Watch This Women’s Month