Thursday, August 16, 2007

Die Hard has hardcore heroines

Ok, this post came to be for two reasons. Reason number one, yesterday I went to see Live Free or Die Hard and I'm still on an adrenaline high. Reason number two, while answering an anonymous on my previous Girl Characters post, and chatting with my friend Leigh I remembered something that happened during the movie and it all makes sense in my head so...

Die Hard.

(Warning, there will be spoilers here)

If I tell anyone that Die Hard has kickass heroes, no one will doubt me. Maybe the plural part, but come on, Jhon McClane is worth at least two Batmans (Sue me, I'm highly biased). The man could take out 12 terrorists without shoes, and how cool is that?

However, if I say that the women in Die Hard are kickass, I will be meet by blank stares.

But stay with me. I'll make my point. I swear.

See Die Hard 1. We meet Holly Gennero, and just by that name we know that she's a take charge lady. She's married, yeah, but she put her career first. She loves her husband, but she had to do some hard choices, and her career came first. And she might sound a bit bitchy, compared to mr. I just bought our kid a giant teddy bear, but she's a take charge kind of woman. When the terrorists arrive, she doesn't lose her cool. She's the one person who confronts Hans, and in the moment she realizes that her husband is the one making short work of the terrorists, she makes damn sure she won't make things more difficult to him. She might not be out there shooting guns and breaking necks, but she keeps her cool, and even at the end, having a gun point blank at her face, she tries to stay calm enough not to be on the way of her husband.

Now that's a cool lady.

See Die Hard 2. She's still Holly McClean, she's still out of the action for most of the film, but then we realize that the one who actually took the idiot reporter to task for what he did was her. We saw her punch him at the end of the first one, mostly as a gag, but now we find that she actually broke two of his teeth, AND that there's a restriction order against her (Why, when he put her and her husband in danger, I don't know). Anyway, when everyone in the plane gets hysterical over the reporter's irresponsible reveal of the terrorist plot, Holly doesn't panic, she doesn't get hysterical. She grabs a taser and takes care of the idiot. THEN she goes to pray, and hopes as hell that someone down there is doing their job.

Man, she's still a cool lady.

I don't remember much of the third movie, to be honest. It's the one I like less of the three, but I do remember that there are no important women in that film, even when Holly is still an important part of Jhon's life.

Which bring us to Live Free or Die Hard.

While there was a woman henchmen in Die Hard 3 -and I honestly don't remember what happens to her- Mai, the girlfriend of the main baddie this time, is as take charge as her boyfriend. In fact, she's more of a take charge type of person, as we notice from the beginning that the henchmen report to her first, and later to her boyfriend. And when she fights McClean? That scene alone was worth my ticket.

Why? Well, for starters, it's a vicious fight.

Vicious in both parts. While the camera cuts and we never see his fist connect to her face, it is obvious that he does punch her with all his strength. And she answers in kind. She, in fact, throws him out of the window, forcing him to then have to use a van to stop her.

There was nothing in that fight that required that Mai was a woman. There was nothing in that fight that requiered a male henchman. Mai had to be there, because her character was the type that would be there, and the type that, after McClane did short work of her other henchmen, would take things in her hands. She dies, of course, but she goes down kicking ass, and even her last action is, in a mirror to that of Alan Rickman, an attempt to shoot McClane. (It also has to be noted that, of all the bad guys it is her the one who thinks of bringing up the file on Jhon McClane. Smart, strong, and evil. Cool woman)

Someone next to me complained that the scene was violent against woman. I answered "What? Did you expect him to ask her to surrender nicely?" Because that would've been a lot more disrespectful, and something seen in many action movies. The woman fighter gets the upper hand because the main bad guy (Or the main good guy, depending of the type of film) underestimated her. And of course 'gentlemen don't hit women' which is a perfectly good thing in real life (In my book, anyone who hits anyone else is an idiot. Violence doesn't solve anything) but in writing someone who is trying to save his own life... One can forgive a moment of not caring of the gender of the person pointing the gun at you.

So yeah, Mai dies. And she dies after the longest, coolest fight scene in the whole film. Because man, of all the henchmen that the main baddie had, she was the coolest. (Or maybe, second coolest. Spiderboy was cool too)

And then there's Lucy Gennero, Jhon's daughter who in her mom's tradition is now denying his surname. That happens to McClean a lot. And of course, the terrorists kidnap her. But from moment one is obvious that she's not that dumb, as she does ask for identification before trusting the fake FBI guys -so she can't distinguish a fake ID. So can't I. That doesn't make any of us dumb- and she is dragged kicking and biting to the main bad's headquarters.

And when the bad guy lets her talk through a walkie to her dad so she'll beg for her life, what does she say?

"There are still five."

At gunpoint, kidnapped, just having heard that she's going to die, and what does she do? She tells her father how many terrorist are still there. She doesn't scream, she doesn't cry, she doesn't beg.

That's a hard core heroine.

That's the kind of heroines I like to read about. If it makes sense for her to literally kick ass, then have her literally kick ass. If it doesn't make sense, if she has to be kidnapped and tied up, well, kidnap and tie her up, but don't reduce her to a drooling mess of quivering fear if it doesn't make sense for her to be like that.

I could guarantee there would be less complains from women readers if that happened, you know?


Steven R. Stewart said...

Heh heh. I used this exact template for my drawn bad blog. Minima Black. Gotsta love it.

Hey, just wanted to let you know I put your banner up on my links page. Looks pretty good there, too. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey, cool post! Thanks for sharing:)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this.