Top 10 Kick-Ass Women in Movies

You may have noticed my tagline for the website is “telling stories with heart, and a little kick-ass.” My guest this week is DV Berkom who writes thrillers with strong women protagonists  — not unlike my Rory Tate thrillers. (Hey when are they going to make *that* movie? 😉 ) DV aka Daphne likes kick-ass chick flicks too and offers up her favorite ladies who make men cry for all the right reasons.

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 I love to watch strong female characters in movies and read about them in books. When I was growing up, I read spy novels and watched a lot of James Bond movies. The Bond women were stunning but one-dimensional. I wanted to be the female equivalent of James Bond. I searched, but couldn’t find much in the way of this kind of female character, so I contented myself with made-up stories of women pirates and spies. Fast-forward to 2014. Everywhere you look, there are more and more strong, capable and kick-ass women.

I am so stoked.

DVBerkom_AOneWayTicketToDead200When I wrote the first novella in my bestselling Kate Jones thriller series, Bad Spirits, I wanted to be sure to make the heroine tough, but I also wanted her to be flawed. She gains in her understanding of herself throughout the series and learns to trust, as well as take care of herself in dangerous situations. In the latest novel, A One Way Ticket to Dead, Kate joins forces with a group of commandos to save the children of her ex-lover from a vicious enemy. Definitely kick-ass. I have heard from as many male readers of the series as I have female, and consider that a compliment in so many ways. The fact that men enjoy a strong woman protagonist as much as women do speaks volumes about the shift in our society and the acceptance of strong, capable women.

In my other thriller series I consciously chose to make the heroine as capable and badass as possible, and she has a ton of flaws. I’d always wanted to write a book about a female assassin, and chose to have Leine Basso, the heroine, opt-out of the business by choice and ‘retire’. In the first book, Serial Date, her estranged daughter is abducted by a man claiming to be a serial killer. Leine’s forced to rely on old skills to find her, and must come to terms with who she really is. The second novel in the series, Bad Traffick, shows more of her badassity when she races to rescue twelve-year-old Mara from the hands of ruthless sex traffickers.

Below is a list of my Top 10 Kick-Ass Women in Movies. The list is by no means exhaustive—in fact, I came up with 25 off the top of my head, but this is a blog post, not an epic :-). I also didn’t include the many television characters who have contributed so much to female kick-assity.

And now, for the Top 10 Kick-Ass Women in Movies (In alphabetical order)

  • Captain NiobeThe Matrix Reloaded (Jada Pinkett-Smith) Awesome, competent, resilient and fierce. I definitely want her in my corner.
  • Captain Trudy ChaconAvatar (Michelle Rodriguez) I totally love Michelle Rodriguez and the women she portrays. Captain Trudy Chacon is one of the many characters she plays so well with a gnarly kick-butt attitude.
  • CarolinaOnce Upon a Time in Mexico (Salma Hayek) If Salma Hayek isn’t the whole package, I don’t know who is. She’s gorgeous-sexy, intelligent and can wield a machine gun like a pro.
  • Evelyn SaltSalt (Angelina Jolie) Say what you like about Angelina Jolie– I adore her willingness to take on the roles she does. She takes her image seriously when it comes to the message being sent to young women and I applaud her. Go, Angelina!
  • Katniss EverdeenThe Hunger Games (Jennifer Lawrence) The character of Katniss tapped into the powerful belief that a person can win through effort, perseverance and ability. The awesomeness of this story is that she’s also a young woman.
  • Mallory KaneHaywire (Gina Carano) When I watched this movie I was struck by the pure physicality of Gina Carano in the lead role of Mallory. She’s all woman with sex appeal to burn, knows her way around a firearm and totally owns her power. So refreshing.
  • RipleyAlien (Sigourney Weaver) What can I say? Sigourney Weaver is a total badass when she comes up against a freaking alien! Scifi/Fantasy delivers its share of kick-butt women, and Ripley’s an all-time favorite.
  • The BrideKill Bill Vols. 1 & 2 (Uma Thurman) OMG. I love these movies. Uma’s character has more determination than an army of Visigoths.
  • Tina TurnerWhat’s Love Got to Do with It? (Angela Bassett) Yes, Ms. Turner is a real person, not a character, but her tenacity and grace are inspiring, I think she’s a kick-ass woman bar none and I had to include her. (Besides, Angela Bassett was amazing in the movie!)
  • TrinityThe Matrix Reloaded (Carrie-Anne Moss) How can you have a top list of kick-ass women without Trinity? Great emotional control and she knows her weaponry.

How about you? Which strong women characters do you love to see on the screen?

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DV Berkom is a slave to the voices in her head. As the author of two bestselling thriller series (Leine Basso and Kate Jones), her love of creating resilient, kick-ass female characters stems from a lifelong addiction to reading spy novels, mysteries, and thrillers, and longing to find the female equivalent within those pages.

Raised in the Midwest, she received her BA in political science from the University of Minnesota and promptly moved to Mexico to live on a sailboat. She now lives just outside of Seattle, Washington with the love of her life, Mark, an ex-chef-turned contractor, and writes every chance she gets.

For more information, you can find her at, or at








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