Monday, July 12, 2010

Predators and the only girl around

Saw Predators today. I have the same opinion that's been going around - fun flick, not an Oscar winning piece of brilliance, but exactly what a solid action film should be. I would probably have enjoyed it even more were it not for the old dude in the back who kept yelling "OH NO!" every time a new complication arose.

Anyhow, I like Isabelle.

We all know how generally unsuccessful female action heroes have been, and I think the main reason is the difficulty so many writers have separating strength from compassion. Even though this film doesn't pass the Blechdel test - there's only one woman, although I kind of want to see what a female Predator looks like - I still felt that Isabelle is a perfect example of how to write a female badass.

I think there's a feeling that a woman must be either compassionate or strong, and that if she's strong she's a bitch, but if she cares about people, she's weak. In reality, a woman in a man's world generally tends to be the one who reminds everybody that we don't have to kill each other. I've often maintained that if one of the Lord of the Flies had been a Lady of the Fly, they may not have destroyed each other. Everybody needs a mommy. That doesn't mean Mommy has to choose between being a harpie or a pushover.

Isabelle has a heart. She also has a gun, and she sees no reason she can't balance both. At one point in the story Walton Goggins character, the convict, stares at her ass and tells her it's awesome. In a lot of films, that's when Michelle Rodriguez would have pinned him in some kind of thumb lock and told him to shut his fucking mouth or she'd shove her sniper rifle up his ass.

Instead, in this version, Alice Braga lets it go and moves on to more important things. She might be able to kick his ass - we never find out - but what would that prove? She's not an angry butch lesbian, she's just a warrior with a vagina.

I don't necessarily agree with how she was handled at the end of the film, but overall I felt that she was handled with realism and respect. Action writers would do well to pay attention.


  1. good analysis on female action heroes. I didnt see the movie.

    another two good examples of female action heroes with compassion and strong bravado (ok I know it's cliched but so what) are Sarah Connor, who has so much love for her son, and Ellen Ripley, who cares for the cat in the 1st film, and then the little girl in part 2. I like that.

  2. Anyhow, Adrien Brody still showed her who the man is. :D

  3. I saw Predators this weekend too. I think often what is wrong with female action heroes is when they want the girl to be tough, they have her act like a man. It's boring.

    Liked the kitten with guns pix.

    Jihad Punk 77 -- when Ripley went back for the cat, I started rooting for the Alien.

  4. Anonymous7:00 AM

    Sorry folks, PREDATORS was made for a very very tight demographic.
    its not for you or me, its for folks who love action violent video games AND live in the monther's basement and never dated a a cool woman good looking ever!
    did you play ANY violent video games lately?
    then go see INCEPTION, it will Kubrick cry in his grve, stick to those, those are regular movies for you folks
    Predators, the movie is for us guys who refuse to grow up

  5. Well one thing is true. I never dated a cool woman good looking ever.

  6. Anonymous11:20 AM

    My favorite badass female action star is Vasquez from Aliens. You got to love a girl that can do as many pull-ups as her fellow space marines.

    Plus, she never loses that damn red bandana during any of those insane battle scenes.

    Personally, it's hard for me to keep my ball cap on during a slight breeze. Go figure.


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