An 8.21 Denver Post article about films starring female action heroines underlines a basic fact — women are simply not big or strong enough to defeat male opponents in hand-to-hand combat. They can wound or cripple but they cannot kick real-life butt unless their male opponent is some Woody Allen– or Arnold Stang-sized guy. Even larger-proportioned women just don’t have that upper-body-weight advantage.
Which means that it’s doubly ludicrous to see slender, smallish women like Angelina Jolie and Chloe Moretz deliver serious ass-stompings to male opponents, some of whom are bigger and brawnier with gorilla-sized arms, legs and feet.
There are dozens of ways female action stars can go bad-ass in movies (cops, assassins, soldiers, spies, MOSSAD agents, CIA agents, homicide detectives) but they really aren’t that good at beating up most guys — not in real life, they’re not. And if you ask any guy out there the suspension-of-disbelief required to buy into this is just too much to ask for. The knock-downs that Salt‘s Jolie and Kick-Ass‘s Moretz have handed out (among others) are pure hokum.
Does this mean they’ll eventually cease? Laughed off the screen by popular demand? Of course not. I went with Salt because it was so well put together, so as long as there’s a clever director at work these films will seem semi-palatable. On top of which they seem to fulfill a fantasy. Women enjoy female action stars demonstrating physical superiority over male opponents…right? And so these kick-butt sequences will continue to happen in the same way every superhero gets to jump off buildings and ignore gravity. Action has been ruined by the mid’ 90s Hong Kong influence and CGI, but no one seems to care all that much.