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Photos: Female action heroes

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  1. I spy

    Not too many women play action heroes, but Angelina Jolie has done it more than once. She plays Evelyn Salt in 2010's "Salt." She's a CIA officer who goes on the run when a defector accuses her of being a Russian sleeper spy. (Columbia Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Name of the game

    Video games are legendary for not translating well to the big screen. Jolie took on the genre twice, with "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" in 2001 and "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life" in 2003. (Paramount Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Mama bear

    Sigourney Weaver was one of the earliest female action heroes, playing Ellen Ripley in the "Alien" series. The first movie, "Alien," came out in 1979. Ripley really came into her own when she discovered a little girl, Newt, who'd been orphaned by the alien attack and defended her as she and the Colonial Marines fought their way off the planet. Carrie Henn, who played Newt, had never acted before or since. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. She'll be back

    Linda Hamilton was one of the first buffed-up female action heroes, showing off her muscles when she played Sarah Connor in 1984's "The Terminator." Connor's son, John, is famously predicted to lead the humans against the Terminator killing machines, so they send Arnold Schwarzenegger back through time to kill her before she can ever give birth. (Orion Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Bloody Bride

    Uma Thurman plays The Bride in "Kill Bill," Quentin Tarantino's two-movie series from 2003 and 2004. After being nearly killed while pregnant at her wedding, she takes her bloody revenge. (Miramax Films) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Back in black

    Carrie-Anne Moss played deadly computer hacker Trinity in 1999's "The Matrix." The movie became known for its acrobatic, slow-motion stunts, while Moss' character became known for her unusual first name and all-black leather wardrobe. (Warner Bros.) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. 20th century fox

    Pam Grier played an early black female action hero in 1974's "Foxy Brown," as a woman who seeks bloody revenge when her boyfriend is shot. (American International Pictures via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Help me, Obi-wan Kenobi

    She may have famously asked Ben Kenobi for help, but Princess Leia Organa could also stand on her own two feet. Carrie Fisher played the princess and rebel leader in 1977's "Star Wars" and its sequels. (20th Century Fox via Everett Collection) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Back to the future

    Jane Fonda played the title character in 1968's "Barbarella," directed by her then-husband, Roger Vadim. The band Duran Duran took their name from the film's mad scientist, Dr. Durand-Durand. (Paramount Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Going under

    Kate Beckinsale plays Selene, a vampire warrior, in 2003's "Underworld" and its sequel 2006's "Underworld: Evolution." In the film, Beckinsale's vampires battle the brutal Lycans, or werewolves. (Columbia Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Here, kitty kitty

    There are fewer women superheroes and supervillains than men, but Halle Berry took on a stand-alone "Catwoman" film in 2004. The film appeared on Roger Ebert's list of his most-hated films. It won four Razzie Awards, including worst picture and worst actress, in 2005. (Warner Bros.) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Taking aim

    Anne Parillaud plays convicted felon Nikita, a French criminal recruited to work as a government assassin, in 1990's "La Femme Nikita." A TV series based on the film ran for five seasons on the USA Network, and the CW is reportedly working on another version of the series. (MGM) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Now they work for me

    Lucy Liu, Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz took on the roles of Alex, Dylan and Natalie in 2000's "Charlie's Angels" and 2003's sequel, "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle." The movies were inspired by the original ABC TV series, but 1970s icons Jill, Kelly and Sabrina wouldn't even recognize them. (Columbia Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Enter the dragon

    Zhang Ziyi as Jen, all but flew through the air in the martial-arts classic "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," released in 2000. The film helped boost the popularity of Chinese films, specifically, the genre known as "wuxia," which features the adventures of martial artists in ancient China. (Sony Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. I dare you

    Ben Affleck played the title role in 2003's superhero flick "Daredevil," but Jennifer Garner saw some action of her own as his love interest, Elektra. She earned her own spinoff film in 2005. Her weapon of choice is a pair of Sai, traditional Okinawan daggers. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Now you see her, now you don't

    Jessica Alba played Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman, in 2005's "Fantastic Four" and 2007's sequel, "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer." (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Go ask Alice

    Milla Jovovich plays Alice in 2002's "Resident Evil," based on the horror video game series. She and police officer Matt attempt to fight off a horde of zombies in a futuristic and bleak land. She returns in 2004's "Resident Evil: Apocalypse," 2007's "Resident Evil: Extinction," and 2010's "Resident Evil: Afterlife." (Screen Gems) Back to slideshow navigation
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