Top 10 Badass Women in Pop Culture

ronda rousey

Part one of a series celebrating badassery in film and TV.

Cris Cyborg and Amanda Nunes may pulverize their opponents in the ring. But when it comes to kicking butt and taking names on the big and small screen, these pop culture heroines just might have them beat.

Read on for a tribute to some of the most badass female brawlers from your favorite TV shows and movies. And for more women (and men) who kick butt and take names, be sure to catch the premiere of Into the Badlands’ third season on Sunday, April 22nd at 10/9c on AMC.

The Widow (Emily Beecham), Into the Badlands
As deadly as she is regal, The Widow utilizes balletic martial arts moves and an array of swords and knives to defend the Butterfly Territory of the Badlands and consolidate her power. Minerva, who earned her nickname by murdering her husband, dispatches those who would threaten her rule with acrobatic flips, swift kicks and expert swordsmanship. If you’re facing off against The Widow, get ready to feel her sting.

emily beecham fight scene

The Bride (Uma Thurman), Kill Bill
Returning from the grave to exact revenge on the titular Bill and everyone else who wronged her, Beatrix Kiddo, aka The Bride, is the personification of determined badassery. Swinging her Hattori Hanzo sword at whoever crosses her path, The Bride utilizes the deadly skills she learned from martial arts master Pai Mei (Gordon Liu) like the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique. Bill sure didn’t see that one coming.

Mallory Kane (Gina Carano), Haywire
MMA powerhouse Gina Carano proved her action movie prowess in director Steven Soderbergh’s high-octane action thriller. As a black ops assassin targeted by her own government, Carano’s Mallory Kane takes down her targets with a brutal mix of jabs, leglocks and roundhouse kicks. Carano performed her own stunts for the movie, and the result is brutal spy action that makes Jason Bourne look like Mr. Rogers.

Helena (Tatiana Maslany), Orphan Black
Introduced as an assassin bent on killing her fellow clones, Helena became an unstoppable fighting machine whenever her “sestras” were threatened. Whether it’s with a sniper rifle, her bare fists or whatever sharp object is within reach, Helena always takes down her targets. She’s the Clone Club’s resident badass, and the one whose constantly blood-stained clothing racks up the highest laundry bill.

Helena of Orphan Black

Michonne (Dania Guria), The Walking Dead
Slashing through the undead with her trusty katana and dragging their rotting corpses along as her personal bodyguards, Michonne knows that the best way to survive the zombie apocalypse is to slice first, ask questions later. Adept at hand-to-hand combat and able to do more damage with her trusty sword than with a noisy gun, this fan-favorite Walker slayer stays alive through sheer grit and some seriously silent-but-deadly fighting skills.

michonne walking dead

Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), Game of Thrones
Proof that deadly things come in small packages, Arya Stark seeks vengeance against those who have wronged her family through a combination of stealth and good old-fashioned slicing and dicing. A master of disguise thanks to her training with the Faceless Men, Arya moves in on anyone unlucky enough to be on her “kill list” with her trusty blade Needle before her prey sees her coming. And when they do see her, their necks are usually gushing blood.

Arya Stark Game of Thrones

Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Jessica Jones and The Defenders
Whenever private investigator and Defenders member Jessica Jones is on the case, heads will roll. They’ll also be punched, twisted and thrown through plate glass windows. With super strength and the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound, Jessica is a one-woman army. But her greatest strength is her caustic wit – being on the receiving end of one Jessica’s sharp insults hurts more than getting slammed up against a wall.

jessica-jones

Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Flipping through the air thanks to the “wire-fu” mastery of fight choreographer Yuen Woo-ping, Michelle Yeoh as Yu Shu Lien utilizes a variety of bladed weapons, spears and even a giant, heavy staff while battling Jen Yu (Zhang Ziyi) in a beautifully staged fight scene. In addition to being a master with a sword, Yu Shu Lien’s loyalty to Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun-fat) and sense of honor make her a valuable ally in battle.

Yu Shu Lien

Kara (Ronda Rousey), Furious 7
Whether she’s putting the hurt on Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) from Entourage or Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) in Furious 7, MMA champ Ronda Rousey takes down her opponents through a lethal mix of leglocks, knees to the face and pure brute force jabs. Her technique in Furious 7 was so savage, it gave Michelle Rodriguez some serious golf-ball sized knots. Ronda probably could’ve used some of her Furious 7 moves when she stepped into the ring with Holly Holm.

ronda-rousey

Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), The Matrix
With high-flying kung-fu moves courtesy of fight choreographer extraordinaire Yuen Woo-ping (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Trinity proved that hackers can be serious badasses. As skilled with oversized handguns as she is with her bare fists, Trinity defies gravity as she leaps across buildings, dodges bullets and freezes in mid-air before delivering a devastating kick. Neo might be The One, but Trinity is the one you’d want covering your back.

Carrie Anne Moss

To see The Widow and other badass fighters in action, catch the third season premiere of Into the Badlands Sunday, April 22nd at 10/9c on AMC.