Sunday, February 16, 2014

2014 Action Film Heroines

Any action heroine creates excitement in action cinema.I feel the female action heroine has diminished overall within the last decade. In 2014, I feel the best heroines in action are basically Jennifer Lawrence and Scarlett Johansson. Lawrence will again own the year in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 and X-Men Days of Future Past. Johansson will shine in Luc Besson's upcoming Lucy and her well established Black Widow heroine in Captain America The Winter Soldier this year.

Their status definitely adds “superheroine” into the mix. I’m still waiting a heroine without the super, but fickle audiences only seem interested in big budget epics and superhero showcases. Most audiences define progression as having the female characters avoid being “damsels in distress” that have to be saved.

Only real promising trio of 2014 prospects are Ronda Rousey is another great prospect starting in Expendables 3 and there is talk she would possibly headline Expendabelles and Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow …getting momentum from Looper and Zoe Saldana in Guardians of the Galaxy plus she has three Avatar films coming.

Shaliene Woodley (The Descendants) is riding on Lawrence’s coattails in the upcoming Divergent next month (people live in area according to personality, etc.) though Maggie Q will likely steal the show actionwise. Evangeline Lilly will build her role as Tauriel in the next Hobbit film (There and Back Again) Angelina Jolie should do Salt 2… Maleficent won't be a substitute, but I’m sure she’ll make a great villain.   

Kate Beckinsale always looks amazing in her roles, but her characters need to be stronger. Mila Kunis could impress in Jupiter Ascending and she was great in The Book of Eli and Max PayneSigourney Weaver will shine again in Ridley Scott’s Exodus and it would be great to see Uma Thurman and Carrie Anne-Moss

Rosario Dawson and Jessica Alba could see a resurgence with Sin City A Dame to Die For while Jamie Chung could steal the show (depending on her role). Journey to the West is another appealing fantasy film coming from Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle) featuring Qi Shu (The Transporter). Zhang Ziyi resurged in Grandmaster plus... she has an upcoming sequel to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (but only in flashbacks).

So we have heroines who can protect themselves, but where does the evil, antagonism, and selfish motives originate from? …other females? No usually. Though female villains are not uncommon that leaves the male…the conqueror…the hunter…the imperialist. Many possibilities. Production companies certainly know how to make the characters and films look good, but the future of the action heroine will depend on the scripts and narratives.

How can filmmakers get the audience through past familiar narratives, ploys, clich├ęs, and stereotypes. Special effects can give us the escapism, but how to give audiences something they can relate to? Everyone wants to duplicate Katniss for teenage audiences. She has the heart of the people and wants to save them. She must figure that out while encountering a new world that wants to keep her in her place.

I feel the keys are her heart, motivation, and intelligence. The physical talents reflect the heart and motivation while the mental, emotional and charismatic characteristics cover the intelligence. Any heroine or hero I’ve admired always has people to count on as well instead of doing everything his or herself, so it can galvanize the action, the heroine and her legacy…resolutions, happy endings, and closure not required.

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