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June 14, 2007
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Super heroines alive and killing
By -- Sun Media


Uma Thurman in "Kill Bill: Volume 2."




If only Thelma and Louise had driven Catwoman, Electra and Aeon Flux off that cliff with them.

Despite a glut of movies in which uber-babes exchange blows and bullets, a recent spate of flops - Rise: Blood Hunter and Domino among them - is calling into question whether the action movie heroine, in all her high-heels-and-higher-mini-skirted glory, is nearing extinction.

Not that Hollywood is listening - yet. Robert Rodriguez, for one, is remaking Barbarella while A-listers from Angelina Jolie to Nicole Kidman are continuing to court the historically gender-challenged genre. (Jolie wants to do another Tomb Raider, while Kidman has hired the writer of Mr. and Mrs. Smith to pen a spy thriller for her.)

That's likely welcome news for Jessica Alba, who reprises her role as the Invisible Woman in Friday's sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Alba, after all, has already proven she has the chops to play rough, thanks to early work in James Cameron's Dark Angel.

With it presumably only a matter of time before Alba doffs the family-friendly togs of Fantastic Four for stronger stuff, here are five female characters she would be wise to emulate:

SIGOURNEY WEAVER'S RIPLEY: Weaver's stock as one of moviedom's first ladies of mayhem was affirmed seven years after the 1979 original in Cameron's sequel, which saw Ripley transform from a shell-shocked victim to a machine-gun-wielding Rambolina as fierce as the titular engine of terror.

LINDA HAMILTON'S SARAH CONNOR: Like Ripley in Aliens -- and it's no coincidence, since director Cameron was responsible for both -- Sarah Connor's humanity is rekindled by a bond with a child (in this case her son). Before this, though, and for the bulk of Terminator 2, she's a coolant-blooded killing machine as single-minded as her cyborg nemesis. And her pipes are bigger.

SARAH MICHELLE GELLAR'S BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: Has there ever been a more iconic name for a super-heroine? Creator Joss Whedon more than redeemed himself for the forgettable 1992 flop with his subsequent TV series, which fully realized his arch metaphor of high school as hell on Earth. Like the show, Gellar miraculously struck a three-pronged balance between comedy, teen heartbreak and mondo staking.

LA FEMME NIKITA: Remade as Point of No Return with Bridget Fonda and then as a TV series with Peta Wilson, Luc Besson's 1990 original remains the sharpest of the three, starring Anne Parillaud as a lithe, lethal Eliza Doolittle in this bullet-ridden twist on Pygmalion.

UMA THURMAN'S THE BRIDE: From the canary-yellow track suit he swathes her in to the samurai sword he has her impale foes with, Quentin Tarantino's affection for his (mostly) unnamed assassin is evident in every lovingly-crafted, blood-soaked frame of celluloid. As his adoration for a runway-worthy cavalcade of beauteous savagery led by Lucy Liu, an eye-patch-wearing Daryl Hannah and, how could we forget, the mace-whipping, schoolgirl-uniform-clad Gogo (Chiaki Kuriyama).

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