First, I want to say that there were a lot of great women in Sci-Fi that kick ass in the 90’s. From The X-Files to The Matrix, the Sci-Fi genre has long been a refuge for those looking for a few characters with a spine. What I’m focusing on here is the more traditional action hero. One that could conceivably be found in our world right now.
Long Kiss Goodnight
An average American stumbles upon some more than average violence and through sarcasm and pluck finds themselves equal to the task. Also, Samuel L. Jackson is Samuel L. Jackson. No, I did not just describe Die Hard 2!
Gena Davis plays Samantha Cline in this 90’s action classic. I love this movie, not just because it has a woman action hero, but because that hero ends up embodying all the seemingly contradictory characteristics of womanhood and in the end, she makes it work!
When we meet her, she is a milk and cookies school teacher. Soft and sweet and by the book. She is so much the embodiment of the Madonna she even has a child that she can’t explain how she got! Amnesia, wouldn’t you know it. But once her pristine life starts to fall apart her memories start coming back and she becomes the woman she was before that pesky memory loss happened. She is crass. She is hard. She is cruel. She is every level of the whore complex and then some. (And yes, I love that version of her!)
In the end, she is able to let all these sides come to rest in one complete person, and she lays waste to everything that stands in her way as she does so. As much as I love Bruce Willis, Samantha Cline could kick John McClane’s ass!