Kick-Ass Women - The Michelles

I know this was supposed to be a WEEK of Kick-Ass Women, but I've been a little busy this week prepping for Spring Bada Bing, so I think I'm going to turn this into an ongoing series on them instead. Because, let's face it - I will never get tired of talking about them.

The next Kick-Ass Woman is actually THREE women who all impacted my view of what at a kick-ass woman could be. And they all happen to be named Michelle!

No, not Michelle Obama, even though she has charmed the entire country with her guns:

The three Michelles I want to talk about are Pfeiffer, Rodriguez, and Yeoh.

MICHELLE #1: Michelle Pfeiffer

After I saw Tim Burton's Batman, I wanted to be Vicki Vale. I don't know what it was about her I admired so much - the blond hair, the big red lips, the awkward way she handled herself around The Joker? I would draw her face over and over again, I suppose thinking I could transfer some of her power into my own body.  I couldn't see her being surpassed in my mind as a memorable female character in Batmanverse until, of course, Batman Returns rolled around.

Michelle Pfeiffer was amazing as the pitiable, weak "administrative assistant" who, at the beginning of the film, lets people walk all over her. So great, that even when she transforms into the whirligig force that is Catwoman, we don't have to squint too hard to see Selina still in there, calling the shots. Catwoman is incredibly sexy, but she wields her sexiness as an accessory. Her motivation and her appeal is her craziness, her craftiness. (After all, she did whip up her whole black vinyl outfit on her cute little pink sewing machine she had tucked away amid her stuffed animal collection.)

One of my favorite scenes is when Catwoman stops a mugger attacking a woman in a lone alleyway - the stereotypical set-up for a hero to save a damsel in distress. Catwoman instantly recognizes the opportunity for what it is, and DOES save the woman, but she also takes a dig at the woman for letting herself be vulnerable. It's an interesting parallel to her past, having been manipulated and abused at the hands of her boss, Max Shreck. Catwoman abhors the part of herself that was victimized but luckily doesn't use that as a weapon against other victims. She still has her humanity left.


MICHELLE #2: Michelle Rodriguez

I don't pretend to know anything about Michelle other than in her role as Anna Lucia on LOST (Although my 17-year-old cousin thinks the only movies are the Fast & The Furious movies). Anna Lucia was a damaged ex-cop who wound up amongst the unlucky pack of Tailies on the island TV show. Before the island, Anna Lucia had brought vigilante justice down on the guy who had shot her and unwittingly killed her unborn child. As soon as craziness starts happening to her little group on the island, Anna Lucia defaults into protector mode the only way she knows how -- by blurring the lines between necessary force and an excuse to shoot everything that moves. And yet, even though she lost her confidence in herself as a police officer, she's still damn good enough to recognize Goodwin for being the lying murderer that he is.


I really wish they hadn't cut short her character on the show and had allowed her more time to develop. And, I also wish I looked as buff as her in a tank top.

MICHELLE #3: Michelle Yeoh

Michelle Yeoh is the only honest-to-god action star I've mentioned so far. She doesn't just play one onscreen, she IS one. She's in it, doing the action, fighting the fights, falling the falls.

I first saw her alongside Jackie in Supercop, and then in the regrettable Tomorrow Never Dies, playing probably the most competent and bad-ass of the Bond Girls in any of the movies.

But in the graceful, beautiful Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, you get to see how incredible she is in every single scene. LONG, continuous scenes that show you the range of her skills and talent and don't try to hobble it together with cuts and fancy angles.


She's the real deal.

I'll admit it's been several years since I've seen CTHD, so I won't discuss the aspects of that particular character in terms of an action star. Michelle Yeoh is an action star that WAYYY supercedes any single role.

Those are your Michelle's for the day. Anyone else got a Michelle who's particularly bad-ass that they want to bring up?

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