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Author Topic: Women In Action Films. Why Is Hollywood So Clueless?  (Read 1958 times)

Cher

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Women In Action Films. Why Is Hollywood So Clueless?
« on: October 28, 2012, 07:35:10 PM »
I would like to talk to you about something that is close to my heart – Action films, specifically women in action films. I love action movies. I enjoy car chases, explosions, insane martial arts moves, bullets whizzing by and witty one-liners. I am not alone. Some of the top-grossing films of all time are action movies. For example, the 2012 blockbuster hit Marvel’s The Avengers is currently listed at number three. I won’t bore you with the details but it has made something like a gazillion dollars. It is one of the greatest action flicks of all time and this is where we shall begin.

Hollywood places an ad. Seeking actress for part of the Black Widow aka Natasha Romanova. Assassin, Russian spy, operative for the super secret organization of S.H.I.E.L.D. Knowledge of martial arts and weapons a plus. 
Hollywood’s choice? Scarlett Johansson. Huh? This is Hollywood’s idea of a trained killing machine? Did anyone else think the typecasting here was a little weak, or is it just me?

Hollywood does this sort of stuff all the time. I’m not sure what the excuse is but I’m going with wacky weed. They smoke a lot of it there. I don’t know what else it could be. Just for fun one day I gathered a group of friends together, all women, and we had a sort of round table discussion about this very subject. What is it with Hollywood? Why are they so clueless? We came up with a list of strong, athletic women and the roles they’ve had in movies and on television. What makes a great female action-hero? We narrowed the criteria down to four items –
1.) Believability. 2.) Physicality. 3.) Skill set. 4.) Could I beat the crap out of her or vice versa?
Yeah, the last one is my favorite too. So, let’s start with the worst…

Natasha Romanova from The Avengers.
This is a great woman’s role. A strong, physical female. But Scarlett Johansson?
Believability -- Maybe a 2.
Physicality -- The woman is 5’3” and maybe a hundred pounds if she is wearing heavy shoes. 2 again.
Skill set -- Nice voice. She has pretty eyes.
Could I beat the crap out of her? -- Uh… yeah. And I’m pretty sure my 12-year-old nephew could too.
That’s just pathetic, Hollywood.
Fail.
     
Catwoman aka Selina Kyle from any Batman flick.
Catwoman is another awesome female action-hero type role. Let’s look at Hollywood’s choices for her, shall we? Michelle Pfeiffer, Halle Berry and the chick from The Princess Diaries. (What the heck?)
I hate to lump Michelle, one of America’s greatest actresses in with these two but I wanted to make my point. This is how Hollywood thinks. Catwoman could have been an awesome role, but they made her into a joke. Michelle did the best she could with what she had but she scores low on all the criteria. I’m not even going to waste my time on the other two.
   
Batgirl aka Barbara Gordon.
Hollywood goes with Alicia Silverstone. I loved Alicia in Clueless, one of the greatest comedies ever made, and Blast From the Past, but she is not female action-hero material.
Fail.
     
Charlie’s Angels with Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu.
Let’s face it, the television show was cheesy but, when I was a kid, I loved it and I wanted Jill’s car. That Cobra Mustang was sweet! But the movies were the WORST. A lame story and stupidly unrealistic wire work, all in an effort to help the actresses look like they might be able to fight. Out of the three, Lucy Liu has the best skill set. From the way she moves, it is obvious she has some martial arts training and the woman speaks 6 languages. Unfortunately she can’t cancel out the other two.
Fail.
   
Barb Wire. Nightclub owner. Bounty hunter. Pamela Anderson.
Do I need to say anything more? Why would anyone waste good money turning this piece of crap into a movie?
Typical lame Hollywood.
     
Columbiana. Stone cold assassin.
Hollywood goes with Zoe Saladana. Zoe was awesome as Uhura in the last Star Trek film. She has a confidence about her that makes her very appealing, but her physicality is probably a five. I doubt she could lift fifty pounds let alone throw a six-foot guy around a room. She’s way too skinny to be believable as an action-hero.
Fail.
     
Selene from the Underworld franchise. She’s a Death Dealer, a vampire super soldier. She hunts down and kills werewolves and wears tight, shiny black clothes. Hollywood casts Kate Beckinsale.
Kate scores a little higher on physicality and skill set. At 5’7” she is almost life-sized, and she looks like she knows how to handle a gun fairly well. She doesn’t blink when she shoots, which is pretty tough to do. If you don’t believe me, go try it yourself. I’m teetering on this one but I don’t totally buy her as an action-hero because... Have you seen her run? Nothing ruins the female action star as much as poor running, arms flailing about, looking like a go go dancer. You might be able to train someone to look like a fighter, but girly running is always a giveaway.

Katniss from The Hunger Games. I do not categorize this as an action film, but Hollywood does. Jennifer Lawrence received a Critics Choice nomination for best performance by an actress in an action film for this role. If you have not seen this movie it is NOT an action film. It is a real snoozer. At best it is a Sci Fi movie about an over-controlling and domineering government. It is The Running Man with whiny kids and no action at all, unless you consider hunting critters with a bow and arrow, sleeping in trees, and having a dress that bursts into flames some form of action.

     
Now let us look at some successful athletic actresses and the roles they’ve made famous. How does Hollywood respond?

     


Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Linda was in insane shape for this role and audiences everywhere went a little crazy for her. How does Hollywood respond? Linda was cast in a few movies afterwards, most notably the volcano disaster film Dante’s Peak, but nothing action related.
Her recent work includes television appearances on Weeds and Chuck.
     


Michelle Rodriguez in Girlfight. Not a well-known film, it is the role that put Michelle on the map. The film showcases her athleticism but it was her acting that garnered rave reviews. She plays a boxer and looks the part. Word is Michelle became so skilled that she was approached about fighting for real. Michelle scores high on all the criteria. She is an actual tough chick and I love that about her. She is one of the more successful actresses with the Resident Evil and Fast & Furious franchises keeping her in the public eye. But Hollywood continues to overlook her acting ability and is content to keep Michelle fenced into tough girl only roles.



Michelle Yeoh in Tomorrow Never Dies. Michelle was a huge star in Asia and known as the female Jackie Chan when she decided to kick her way into the Bond franchise. She was not your typical Bond girl. She did her own stunts, kicked major booty and was freakin’ awesome in this movie. It had me hoping the Bond movies would finally go in a new direction -- stronger women, less eye candy -- then Halle Berry appeared in the next one and my hopes were dashed.  Oh well.
Hollywood threw Michelle a few crumbs afterwards. Hidden Tiger, Crouching Dragon was a success and she did appear in one of those mummy movies. That’s about it.
Hollywood, shame on you.
     


Andrea Parker in The Pretender.  Oh my gosh. I LOVE Andrea Parker! If you haven’t seen her in the television series take the time to check it out on NetFlix. It is truly one of the greatest roles ever written for a woman. Andrea scores high on all the criteria. She’s almost six-feet tall, a trained dancer, an excellent marksman, a certified stunt driver and not a bad poker player. Her role as Miss Parker, the ice queen is legendary. I was sure she was destined for greatness, but after The Pretender was cancelled, Andrea practically vanished. She was cast on the television show Less Than Perfect as Lydia, a blonde secretary (Huh?) and on Desperate Housewives. (Ugh.) She still does guest appearances on other shows from time to time and I keep thinking someone will snatch her up. She would make an awesome addition on one of those CSI or NCIS shows.
So far… Nothing.
What a waste of amazing talent. Hollywood, you suck.

     

Jennifer Garner in Alias. CIA Super Spy Sydney Bristow, ‘nuff said. Jennifer appeared in Daredevil, Elektra and The Kingdom -- All films that showcased her butt-kicking ability. Then she got married, had a few babies and Hollywood developed amnesia and forgot she could totally kick their ass. Bummer.


     
Angelina Jolie. She is the most successful of our actresses. She has achieved super stardom with Tomb Raider, Salt, and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. All great action roles. Angie scores high in most of the criteria but her physicality bounces up and down all over the scale. She packed on weight and muscle for the Tomb Raider films and looked amazing, but she looked almost anorexic in Salt. She is highly skilled with knives and I think she’s a little crazy. I mean, I think if you looked at her wrong, she might punch you in the mouth. That’s my personal feeling. Am I wrong?


 
Jessica Biel in Blade : Trinity. Wow. She rocked that movie and Ryan Reynolds was cute too. Jessica scores high. She is a decent fighter and a heck of a physical specimen. They said she got down to something like thirteen percent body fat for this movie? How is that even possible? She is a versatile actress and appears in an action flick every now and then like Stealth, The A Team and Total Recall so I have hope for her. I can’t figure out why she was not cast as the Black Widow in The Avengers movie. Can anyone explain that?
     


Gina Carano in Haywire. Gina is the only actress that gets high tens across the board. Holy crap. I’m pretty sure she could kill me with her foot, possibly her toe. No one can compete with her skill set. She’s the real deal. She’s only just starting out, so here’s hoping Hollywood doesn’t stuff her into the lame, B-Movie, action-girl-in-tight-spandex box. Gina is kind of a rebel so I don’t see that happening. Please, Hollywood. Don’t screw up this opportunity. Gina is one of a kind. Treat her well. Do something magnificent for once.


So what do you think? Did I miss anyone? Who are your favorites? Who do you think were horribly miscast? Do you think Hollywood will ever get it right? What kind of roles do you think will benefit Gina Carano? Inquiring minds want to know…
« Last Edit: January 15, 2013, 01:34:19 PM by Cher »
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Cher

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Re: Women In Action Films. Why Is Hollywood So Clueless?
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2013, 01:33:12 PM »
Hollywood just confirmed everything I wrote. Jennifer Lawrence receives the Critic's Choice Award for best actress in an action film. "Hunger Games" is NOT an action movie.
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Phoenix

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Re: Women In Action Films. Why Is Hollywood So Clueless?
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2013, 02:27:02 AM »
I couldn't agree with you more, Cher! It really makes a person think and wonder. I especially liked Jen Garner in Alias.. That was an awesome show, and that woman could kick serious butt! Small, but deadly. :P

I think Haywire was a good start for Gina, and Fast 6 was by far the best choice for her to continue in the action flick genre. Would love to see her in more A-grade films like that one.

I didn't watch the Critics Choice Awards. Jennifer Lawrence took it.. Seriously? What a joke! Then again, I hardly ever agree with what Hollywood says.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 02:28:11 AM by Phoenix »
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sorbina

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Re: Women In Action Films. Why Is Hollywood So Clueless?
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2013, 11:05:22 AM »
Quote
Angelina Jolie. She is the most successful of our actresses. She has achieved super stardom with Tomb Raider, Salt, and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. All great action roles. Angie scores high in most of the criteria but her physicality bounces up and down all over the scale. She packed on weight and muscle for the Tomb Raider films and looked amazing, but she looked almost anorexic in Salt. She is highly skilled with knives and I think she’s a little crazy. I mean, I think if you looked at her wrong, she might punch you in the mouth. That’s my personal feeling. Am I wrong?

well...dear Cher i wouldnt agree with the Angelina΄s choice, she is damm skinny!!! I dont doubt her acting skills or her beauty but she cant do the job in real terms...i guess for all the reasons you analysed above for all the other actresses. You cant beat a foe by squeezing your lips. Well...you can but ...(censored) :D

Quote
Hollywood just confirmed everything I wrote. Jennifer Lawrence receives the Critic's Choice Award for best actress in an action film. "Hunger Games" is NOT an action movie.

Shame indeed but oh well, everything takes time. I m positive that Hollywood if find worthy alternatives such as Gina will do the flip in all that status.
Once i watched fanatically a tv series and admired a female action figure myself too, she was Peta Wilson in La femme Nikita.


When the made a remake recenlty they hired Maggie Q

Jesus! Commonnnnnn!
Peta wilson had everything, the height the well structured body the physical beauty and the convicing acting. If she kicked someone , or she sized with men in a battle she was so worthy! Maggie Q is like a pin.I liked her as an actress in other parts but not on this!  A spy?her? ok maybe a spy trained to be at an office or something like that. ..She seemed so fragile at the tv series, that is was lame as hell!

That thing with being role models the skinny women has to stop. They have to come more close to reality without turning it ugly. I know reality many times isnt a beauty but at least they could give movies a more realistic view.  Hollywood has a major influence at the worlds trends.
European world cinema is more in the realistic aproach if can describe it like that
« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 11:51:26 AM by sorbina »
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Cher

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Re: Women In Action Films. Why Is Hollywood So Clueless?
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2013, 12:17:49 PM »
Ugh. Yes. Jennifer Lawrence got the award. I don't watch them either. Award shows are lame. I read who won on the internet and my head almost exploded. These skinny actresses as action heroes drive me crazy. I'm so glad I am not the only one it bugs.

"Alias" has got to be one of my favorite shows. Have you guys seen "Covert Affairs"? It's a blatant knock-off. It's an okay show starring Piper Perabo but she's no Jennifer Garner, that's for sure.

Sorbina -- I am glad you brought up Peta! She was GREAT in that show! And where is she now? Has anyone seen her? Peta! Where are you, girlfriend?
Maggie Q in the remake is laughable. I did watch the premiere for about ten minutes, then I did one of those, "Are you kidding me?" laughs and turned it off.
My husband thought she was pretty but he said that couldn't save the show. He wondered why they didn't cast an athletic woman. Maybe Hollywood has a different concept of "athletic". Maybe to them it just means skinny.

Speaking of... Yes, Angie is WAY too skinny. I thought I was the only one who thought that!
When these quality action roles for women come up for casting, it seems Angie gets first pop at them. I'm guessing it's because she's more established and a safe choice because the producers know they can recoup their investment. Angie has a lot of fans and movie making is a big business. (Though it is hard to tell with all the crap they've been releasing lately.)

I am hoping with the release of Fast Six this year, that Gina will gain more exposure and have her pick of better written roles. I hope she makes smart choices.
But the thing is... Hollywood doesn't seem to know how to write these kinds of roles for women and they do even worse when it comes to casting them.

I would love to see Gina starring alongside The Rock in another action flick. That would be awesome! And Sorbina, I find your Amazon / 300 / Immortals idea intriguing. From an artistic viewpoint, the way they film those is kind of beautiful but the story would need to be top notch. I wonder if someone could pull it off?
« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 05:53:47 PM by Cher »
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Cher

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Re: Women In Action Films. Why Is Hollywood So Clueless?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2013, 07:14:51 PM »
On the slim chance that they ever bring Wonder Woman to the big screen, I had to post these photos.



First of all -- Cathy Lee Crosby? What were they thinking? Does she look remotely like Wonder Woman to anyone? And what is with the weird outfit? It looks like a 70's warm up suit for the Olympic Games.
There are really no words.

Lynda Carter looks EXACTLY like the comic book version of Wonder Woman. But let's talk outfits, shall we? Any woman alive will tell you it is impossible to do anything remotely athletic in a halter top swimsuit unless you don't mind flashing your assets to the world. (Insert Wonder Bra / Wonder Twins joke here.) There will have to be some major re-tooling of that outfit if Wonder Woman ever hits the silver screen. You can't be beating up guys and kicking anyone in that outfit without some type of wardrobe malfunction. From what I've read of some of Gina's interviews, she feels the same way.

And then there is this little gem  ??? --



WHAT IN THE WORLD?!  :o Yes. Debra Winger as Wonder Girl.
Debra Winger from "Urban Cowboy"!  Oh. My. Gosh. She must die every time this image comes up.
That's just funny, that's what that is.




« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 07:34:22 PM by Cher »
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sorbina

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Re: Women In Action Films. Why Is Hollywood So Clueless?
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2013, 10:15:27 PM »
Funny you mentioned it, yesterday I checked info about Wonder woman. Well all we know about this fictional comic character is that it comes from a comic book and her idea is based on that, the physical appearance and her general attitude. Ok she comes from the society of Amazons, but the whole story from the comic has a lot of differences between the Greek myth. What I was talking about is, regardless the wonder woman character, is a movie about the Amazons, without any attachments from comics or anything else that could twist the original story as Hollywood has done in many many Greek stories and myths in sake of a better story perhaps. Anyhow, I m not in the movie business obviously :D but that whole thing is just a thought, a suggestion if you prefer.  A good guide could be the best seller book “Last of the Amazons” by  Steven Pressfield (http://www.amazon.com/Last-Amazons-Steven-Pressfield/dp/0553382047).
I would also like the artistic point of view that is given with the “300”, and not the exaggerations of “immortals”.  What I mean is a solid scenario, with the emphasis both in action scenes and special effects but mostly in the acting. Anyhow, that’s a long talk, and I am not here to promote my artistic point of view :D, I m just saying that the Amazons story is not well developed in Hollywood area, and it’s a diamond in script writers for an upcoming hit. If they want to give emphasis in acting or the quality as a whole for the movie, they will choose carefully the actresses. They cant be athletic and self-sustaining by having long nails, skinny body without any athletic curves, nor the charisma for such personalities. It will end up a caricature with some women who ultimately they don’t like guys probably because they are lesbians, they are outcast and strong but by miracle they are all hot babes who among the worship of artemis or aries they have hot tabs all together in a hole with hot water. :D
The Gina Carano figure is a step for Hollywood, a step closer to realistic performances and overall to  female role models with great physical athletic statues-abilities combined with physical beauty. That combination is the key for selling more in what comes to movies. After all they want to entertain and give the audience something they would enjoy to see
I m very optimistic about Gina, and its not the fan that is talking inside me 
*By the way if you have the chance read that book, if you are in to those themes, read it! It talks about values and virtues combined with a wonderful story.

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sorbina

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Re: Women In Action Films. Why Is Hollywood So Clueless?
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2013, 10:26:48 PM »
As for the wonder woman, studios are appealed by the idea to give that character a room. Ofcaurse they are, its a combination of beauty values and streght who cooperates with the audience favorites such as superman etc...
I really hope that all this internet pressure that comes from us Ginas fans or random ppl will come to the point they will pick her for the role. Plus the whole thing with Henry and the publicity that comes from that dating suits them perfectly! Ofcaurse i m not implaying that G dates Henry for that, dont get me wrong, if i had such thoughts for G i probably wouldnt be here anyway
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Phoenix

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Re: Women In Action Films. Why Is Hollywood So Clueless?
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2013, 01:24:23 AM »
"Alias" has got to be one of my favorite shows. Have you guys seen "Covert Affairs"? It's a blatant knock-off. It's an okay show starring Piper Perabo but she's no Jennifer Garner, that's for sure.

Yeah, I've watched Covert Affairs. It's good, but nowhere near as good as Alias. It's like a watered down version, lol.

Cher

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Re: Women In Action Films. Why Is Hollywood So Clueless?
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2013, 09:18:08 AM »
Because of her statuesque persona, Gina is going to be limited in the roles she will be a fit for. I would love to see her in a female James Bond type of role, sort of like Mallory Kane from Haywire, but more in tune to Gina's fun personality. She is tailor made for Sci Fi Action. I can see two film directors who would be perfect at developing these kinds of roles -- Joss Whedon (The Avengers, Serenity) and J.J. Abrams. (Mission Impossible, Star Trek). I hope she gets to work with these guys. Truthfully I don't care what she's in as long as she gets to kick butt.

On the flip side, it would be great to see her in a romantic comedy / buddy film too, but Hollywood has limited vision when it comes to anything with athletic women. And as action movies are made by men for men, there will be that tendency to try get Gina out of her clothes. (And right now all the men reading this are going -- And what's wrong with that!?) Gina, if you are reading this, please resist the urge. It's bad enough reading the tactless comments these pervs post on your YouTube fights and interviews.


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sorbina

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Re: Women In Action Films. Why Is Hollywood So Clueless?
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2013, 01:45:24 PM »
Oh oh, how can i forgot the outstanding perfomance of Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby!


She is a very good actress indeed, and thats why she can make that diversity in her appearance. Although that movie focused on the drama element, the action part was equally important. In fact for the needs of this movie a world symbol in women boxing was sparring in some scenes with Sawng, that woman is the famous Lucia Rijker.
Well about Hilary Swank...
She is skinny? yes. She is short? yes? she can convince that she can kick butt? Yes again. 

It would be too bold if i imagined G as a fragile character in any movie? I love diversities that kind.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2013, 01:49:19 PM by sorbina »
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Re: Women In Action Films. Why Is Hollywood So Clueless?
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2013, 12:40:43 AM »
Because of her statuesque persona, Gina is going to be limited in the roles she will be a fit for. I would love to see her in a female James Bond type of role, sort of like Mallory Kane from Haywire, but more in tune to Gina's fun personality. She is tailor made for Sci Fi Action. I can see two film directors who would be perfect at developing these kinds of roles -- Joss Whedon (The Avengers, Serenity) and J.J. Abrams. (Mission Impossible, Star Trek). I hope she gets to work with these guys. Truthfully I don't care what she's in as long as she gets to kick butt.

On the flip side, it would be great to see her in a romantic comedy / buddy film too, but Hollywood has limited vision when it comes to anything with athletic women. And as action movies are made by men for men, there will be that tendency to try get Gina out of her clothes. (And right now all the men reading this are going -- And what's wrong with that!?) Gina, if you are reading this, please resist the urge. It's bad enough reading the tactless comments these pervs post on your YouTube fights and interviews.


The Romantic comedy type movies will come later, right now Gina has to prove she can kill it at the box office and that she is the ONLY believable female action star,  her fighting and action is off the hook and light years better than anyone else out there and I believe her acting is good for someone with basically no experience and will only get better............But right now she NEEDS to take action or superhero type roles where the movie will make lots of money and build her name recognition..........once the Hollywood studios have confidence in her then other roles will come.............We as fans also have to do our part and that means seeing her movies several times in theaters, telling friends, family and coworkers how badass she is and how cool her movies and posting on movie threads and message boards how good Gina was and that she was the reason you saw liked the movie.
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Cher

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Re: Women In Action Films. Why Is Hollywood So Clueless?
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2013, 06:06:55 PM »

Really great discussion, guys!
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M

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Re: Women In Action Films. Why Is Hollywood So Clueless?
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2013, 05:06:38 PM »
Just read your first post Cher...........I think Michelle Rodrieguez and Jennifer Garner were believable as female action stars.........No where near Gina's level in athleticism and believable realistically brutal fighting but they are solid actresses and definately are good enough to dispel disbelief that they can kick ass......The fact is we have NEVER had a REAL female action star like we have for the men with Arnold, Stallone, The Rock, Jason Statham etc.......I think and hope Gina will break down doors in Hollywood just like she did in MMA and become the first, because I she has the talent and skills to do it, and its about time we had a real female action star!!!
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Paul

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Re: Women In Action Films. Why Is Hollywood So Clueless?
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2013, 07:52:04 AM »
Don`t forget Cynthia rothrock
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