Kickass females of colour
Writer: Dzamira Dzafri
We have never been this excited for an actress in a big blockbuster picture! Rinko Kikuchi is heading to bigger and better places now that she is starring alongside Idris Elba in the long-awaited "Pacific Rim". The film is giving us what we had long wanted....a blockbuster film that is dominated by a mix of races and genders, aside from the robots fighting aliens bit. To celebrate Rinko's contribution to the future of Hollywood films, we share some of our favourite butt-kicking and all-round tough actresses of colour.
Kickass films: "The Brothers Bloom", "Babel" and "Pacific Rim"
One of the favourite actresses in strange and obscure Hollywood films also happens to be a woman of colour. Rinko Kikuchi has been in a few really good roles in films like "Babel" with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett and the cult favourite, "The Brothers Bloom". In "The Brothers Bloom", though Rachel Weisz is the female lead, Rinko's performance as Bang Bang, the Brothers Bloom's mute assistant with a fascination of explosives greatly overshadows Weisz in the film.
Rinko will also play Mako Mori in "Pacific Rim", Becket's co-pilot who lost her family in a Kaiju attack, and we have no doubt that she will be nothing but excellent.
Kickass films: "Battle Royale" and "Kill Bill Vol. 1"
When we speak of "kickass females of colour", one of the spots is bound to go to a woman in Quentin Tarantino's films. Tarantino's films aren't short of coloured women who could beat you into a pulp, and one of the most iconic roles is Chiaki Kuriyama's Gogo Yubari, the homicidal school girl associate of O-Ren Ishii. Chiaki was cast in Quentin Tarantino's widely acclaimed film after he watched her in "Battle Royale", which is said to be where Suzanne Collins had gotten her inspiration for "The Hunger Games".
Kickass films: "Fast And Furious" films, "Resident Evil" and "Machete"
Often described as a mixture between beauty and brawn, Michelle Rodriguez is who you think of when it comes to tough Hollywood chicks. The Puerto Rican and Dominican actress is also has also been on a lot of "Sexiest Women" lists and even joined the cast of "Lost" when it aired. Besides the "Fast And Furious" films, she is known for her roles in "Machete", "Blue Crush", "Avatar", "Resident Evil" and she will be providing her voice for the upcoming DreamWorks's animated film "Turbo".
Kickass films: "RocknRolla", "The Chronicles Of Riddick" and "Crash"
This underrated British actress has been in many unconventionally tough films like Guy Ritchie's "RocknRolla", which also stars Gerard Butler and Tom Hardy and "The Chronicles Of Riddick" starring Vin Diesel, but she also has a sensitive side, as seen in "Crash", in which she plays a woman who is molested by a racist white police officer.
She was also chosen to be a Charlie's Angel alongside Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz, but a delay in the shooting of "Mission Impossible 2" caused her to turn down, which was then given to Lucy Liu.
Kickass films: "Charlie's Angels" and "Kill Bill Vol. 1"
After getting casted as one of the Charlie's Angels with Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz, she shot up through the ranks of Hollywood as one of the very few coloured A-listers. With roles in "Kill Bill", "Lucky Number Slevin", "The Man With The Iron Fists" and "Shanghai Noon", Lucy Liu is certainly known as an actress who has a fair share of tough roles.
The Asian-American actress rose to fame in film but had found her home in television recently with her role as Joan Watson in the American television series "Elementary". She has also appeared in other television series like "Ugly Betty", "Southland" and "The Simpsons".
Kickass films: "Avatar" and "Star Trek" films
Zoe Saldana is also nothing short of tough with roles in films that require a lot of action sequences like "The Losers" and "Avatar". What Zoe had done in "Avatar" is brilliant and it was probably tiring to voice and act like Neytiri. Not many people could have done it as well as she did and that is what makes her kickass. She also played Uhura in J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" films and she has done the difficult job of being tough-as-nails in the fetishized uniform dress Uhura is known for, and not many people could have done that.
Kickass films: "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "Tomorrow Never Dies".
Cinema Online, 08 July 2013
The list wouldn't be complete without mentioning Malaysia's very own Hollywood star Michelle Yeoh. The Malaysian actress gained the attention of a Hong Kong film production company after appearing in a commercial with Jackie Chan and it catapulted her into a long career of films doing her own stunts. She has since been the first Asian Bond Girl in "Tomorrow Never Dies", the only Asian in the 1997 People's 50 Most Beautiful list and recently received the Excellence in Asian Cinema award during the seventh annual Asian Film Awards.