Partnering with any strong-headed law enforcement type or do-gooder can be risky. Not only do they tend to be loners whose partners don’t last very long, but they also have plenty of murderous enemies intent on the hero’s demise. Pairing up with one of these He-Man macho-types can be even harder for a woman because some of these fellas think the fairer sex isn’t up to the task of keeping the peace or taking down the bad guys. We plan on discounting that prejudice by presenting some of the most badass women around who proved themselves equal to or better than their male counterparts. Some of them actively signed up to protect the innocent while others were drafted into saving the world, but all of them proved their mettle alongside some of the most durable men in the world of action flicks. Note that spoilers follow for some of the movies mentioned.
10) Playboy Playmate Jordan Tate, Under Siege
She might have started the Steven Segal action flick Under Siege off as a simple stripper, but by the end of the flick about terrorists trying to steal missiles from a submarine, Erika Eleniak’s Jordan Tate transforms from ass-shaker to ass-kicker. Heck, we know grown men who wouldn’t have the stones to go up against the combined creepiness of Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey. Especially Busey, he haunts our dreams.
9) Flight Attendant Cindy, Commando
Commando’s Cindy (Rae Dawn Chong) was just trying to go home after a long flight, but instead wound up as the at-first-unwilling accomplice to John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in his quest to not only reclaim his kidnapped daughter, but also get revenge on the men who took her. While not nearly as brutal or calculating as Matrix, Cindy did help Matrix get away from the cops, flew him to the bad guy’s headquarters and called in the cavalry. That makes up for her trying to tell the cops she’d been kidnapped and kicking off a huge action scene in a mall, right? Matrix seemed to think so as he flew off into the sunset with her and his daughter at the end of the flick.
8) Inspector Kate Moore, The Enforcer
Getting partnered with Inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan can be a dangerous gig. His partners have a tendency to, well, get murdered and maimed. But, Inspector Kate Moore (Tyne Daly) persisted even with his reputation and Harry’s clear disdain for her as a cop in 1976’s The Enforcer. That doesn’t stop her from doing her part to help stop not one but two terrorist groups from holding San Francisco hostage. “You laugh at me you bastard and I’ll shoot you where you stand,” she said towards the end before blowing a guy away and saving the city’s kidnapped mayor. Soon after she takes some slugs in the chest trying to save her partner. Moore (and Daly who suggested the script change) gets bonus points for doing her job and not getting romantically involved with Dirty Harry.
7) April O’Neil, TMNT
We all love April O’Neil for being the one human in the world who’s not absolutely terrified by walking, talking turtles who carry weapons, know karate and love pizza just a little too much. However, in the movies, she doesn’t get a whole lot to do. Sure, she throws a punch every now and then and distracts the occasional Foot Clan member so one of the Turtles can knock them out, but she didn’t really get her chance to kick ass until the 2007 computer generated TMNT. Towards the end of the film, she donned a skin tight fighting suit, sword and actually got to help save the world with the fight skills she picked up from knowing the Turtles all those years… and dating Casey Jones.
6) Officer Anne Lewis, Robocop
It takes a certain kind of officer to partner up with an emotionless walking tank who sticks to the exact letter of the law. You’ve got to be tough and a little crazy, which describes Robocop’s partner Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen) to the letter. At Robo’s side she’s taken on rampant street gangs, evil corporations, lethal drug runners, a murderous little kid and her fair share of robots. Officer Anne Lewis wound up giving her life to defend the people she swore to protect, showing exactly how heroic she was, a moment lessened by the goofiness of Robocop 3 as well as the fact that it was spoiled in the trailer.
5) Wai Lin, Tomorrow Never Dies
Originally Halle Berry’s Jinx from Die Another Day was going to make the list, but upon watching that flick again, Berry’s lack of action and wooden delivery soon paled in comparison to Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh) in Tomorrow Never Dies. Between being one of the few Bond Girls who can actually handle herself in a fight and not just the bedroom to that killer motorcycle stunt where she’s handcuffed to Bond, Wai Lin does not mess around. Like many of the other Bond Girls, though, Wai gives in to the undeniable walking sexual charisma that is James Bond and beds the super spy.
4) Gail, Sin City
Gail might not be the toughest woman in Frank Miller’s Sin City — we’d grant that title to deadly little Miho — but she certainly knows how to play well with others when it comes to keeping her and the other working girls of Old Town safe. When her on-again-off-again lover Dwight falls on the wrong side of the law, Gail gathers her soldiers to take care of her man’s problem. Rosario Dawson played the role perfectly in the 2005 Sin City film, her scene based on the miniseries A Dame To Kill For, with an ending that not only accomplished her goals, but left a small army of dead dirty cops on the streets of Old Town.
3) Marion Ravenwood, Raiders of the Last Ark
Saying that Indiana Jones has trouble keeping friends might be the understatement of the century. It’s like saying that he has a mild dislike of snakes or only kind of thinks artifacts should be in museums. The guy can’t seem to turn around without getting betrayed or disappointed by someone he considered a friend. Except when it comes to Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen). Marion has not only stayed loyal to Indy all these years, but also knows how to handle herself even when up against Nazis and crystal skull-loving aliens. It also happens that she not only raised Jones’ kid but also turned out to be the great love of Indy’s life. That’s like the double whammy of partners! As if all that wasn’t enough, she can drink like a champ!
2) Hermione Granger, the Harry Potter Series
When it comes to magic, no one knows her stuff better than Hermione Granger. That Potter kid might be “the boy who lived” and have the mission against “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named,” but this teenage mudblood is the real magical muscle of the group. Left to her own devices, she probably would have figured out this whole Voldemort problem in like one, maybe two installments, tops. Why she ended up with that dud Ron Weasley, though, we’ll never know. He must be packing some magic of his own.
1) Trinity, The Matrix Series
It would be fair to say that Neo was actually Trinity’s partner in the Matrix flicks. Sure he was thought to be The One, but she was the one who not only helped him get out of the Matrix, but also learn how to use it. A true ass kicker in her own right, Neo eventually came into his own and helped bring down that mean old computer program (we think, no one really remembers what happened in Matrix Revelations) and even saved Neo’s life with, of course, the power of love. That she continually kicks ass for the very survival of the world makes her the asskickingest partner around.