Interestingly, it has become more common of late to base dystopian films around a strong female lead, kicking ass and taking names. Lest we fall under the delusion that such films are all about empowerment and the rise of females in film, however, it should be noted that these post-apocalyptic heroines are often more flash than substance, in films that win in the style department, and lose out in the depth department. Not that that’s a criticism which can be reserved solely for those films with a female protagonist. While I enjoyed each of I Am Legend, I, Robot and Minority Report for what they represented, it would be difficult to say the least to argue that the focus in any of those films was the story, rather than the scenery.
A good dystopian film can of course merge the silly with the sublime, the abstract with the concrete, and the philosophical depth with visceral sex appeal. In recognition of that, and without too much more commentary on the quality of the underlying film, here are my picks for the 5 Hottest Dystopian Heroines, not necessarily in any order. If you disagree, well it doesn’t really matter, this is a list of personal taste, but write your own list and post it in the comments anyway.
|5. Leeloo in The Fifth Element (Milla Jovovich)
After earth, air, water and fire, Leeloo is the fifth element, the perfect being, and a memorable highlight in a film that was good, but could have been better. Milla Jovovich plays Leeloo as a wide-eyed manifestation of spirit, stealing any scene she’s in, which is quite a feat when sharing the screen with Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, and a louf-mouthed Chris Tucker in demented drag, and it’s only partly because of one of the most memorable wardrobes out there.
|4. Eden Sinclair in Doomsday (Rhona Mitra)
Rhona Mitra’s name could well have been Mad Maxine for this film, as the hard-assed soldier with a bionic eye battling post-apocalyptic punks straight out of The Road Warrior. There’s nothing particularly special about her jacket-and-tank-top ensemble, she’s really just about kicking some ass. Besides the Mad Max-style post-apocalyptic leather warriors, there’s a deadly virus and a fascist Britain thrown into the mix as well. For a film that looked like it was going to be a B-movie at best, it’s actually pretty good.
|3. Violet in Ultraviolet (Milla Jovovich)
Yes, Milla makes the list again, this time as an infected hemophage (science run amok, virulent pandemic, infected get amazing abilities and a radically shoretened lifespan). Violet is a violent, nearly-conscience free killing machine. Despite a poor showing, the film isn’t bad, with the director’s cut being far superior to the theatrical cut, and the original cut (apparently) being better still. The film is very stylized, and Milla fills the role perfectly, alternately acting and posing as the scene calls for.
|2. Æon Flux in Æon Flux (Charlise Theron)
First off, Charlize Theron with a black bob hairdo works really well. Æon Flux is a revolutionary assassin that falls for the leader of the enemy, a man she was sent to kill. This is another film that’s very much about style, and Æon’s constantly changing, clingy wardrobe is of course inspired by, but not nearly as risque, as the original manga stylings, so as to be completely preposterous, but not at all unappealing. The sex appeal in no way diminishes Æon’s ability to kick serious ass throughout the film.
|1. Alice in the Resident Evil series (Milla Jovovich)
OK, Milla again, this time as Alice, the tool of the Umbrella Corporation turned against her creators. Throughout the series, Alice personifies post-apocalyptic stylings, with her big boots, her deconstructionist outfits, and her habit of knocking the crap out of damn near anyone in her way. She’s stylish, sexy and tough, all at once. The series itself takes some odd turns, not always along the best cinematic routes, but Alice is always enjoyable. In the first installment, Alice battles her way out of the Hive, an underground research and development bunker full of infected, undead, and a malevolent master computer. In the second (Apocalypse), she battles her way through a locked down Raccoon City. In the third (Extinction), she travels through the Nevada wastelands, living off the grid, eventually hooking up with a caravan of survivors and taking out another massive underground bunker. In the fourth (Afterlife), she’s a world traveller, from Japan to Alaska to Los Angeles, uncovering more sinister Umbrella Corporation projects, slaughtering the undead, and saving the day. Throughout the series, Alice learns more about her self, her history with the Umbrella Corporation, and her strange abilities. A fifth (and likely final) installment is in the works.