By S. PAUL BRYAN
Foot fetishes and masochism aside, Quentin Tarantino is (and should be recognized as) a feminist. Are the women in his films beautiful? Yes. Are they sexy? Yes. But why? Is it because they are slutty, submissive and second rate to their male counterparts? Hell no. They are confident, strong, independent alpha women who don’t take shit from anyone.
As Patricia Garcia noted in a Dec 22, 2015 article for Vogue, “Tarantino’s work is so known for graphic violence and explicit language. It’s easy to overlook the fact that the director has created some of the most empowered female characters on-screen.”
Let’s take a look at Tarantino’s most awe-inspiring heroines.
10. Zoë Bell (self), “Death Proof” Zoë Bell is a Hollywood stunt double and actress. During her “ship’s mast” scene in “Death Proof,” she spent the majority of her time on the hood of a speeding car. Bell has a background in martial arts and is not to be crossed, on screen or off.
9. Gogo Yubari (Chiaki Kuriyama), “Kill Bill Vol. 1” Gogo Yubari, Kuriyama’s character in “Kill Bill Vol 1,” appears to be an innocent Japanese schoolgirl. Oh how looks can deceive. She is a killing machine. She is more than proficient in martial arts and her weapon of choice is a meteor hammer. Run, run the other way, as fast as possible.
8. Kim Mathis (Tracie Thoms), “Death Proof” Don’t let this Juilliard graduate fool you. Tracie Thoms is one bad mother. She exacts revenge in the film “Death Proof.” With her ass-kicking style, slick talking mouth and gun-toting ways, she’s the baddest woman around.
7. Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman), “Pulp Fiction” Uma Thurman said it best in the classic “Pulp Fiction” while starring in her role as Mia Wallace: “I said Goddamn. Goddamn.”
6. Jackie Brown (Pam Grier), “Jackie Brown” Pam Grier starred in well-known Blaxploitation films in the ‘70s. “Coffy” and “Foxy Brown” are classics in their own way. In Tarantino’s “Jackie Brown,” she is smart, beautiful and confident. Grier’s role as Jackie Brown is powerful … and so is she.
5. Shosanna (Mélanie Laurent), “Inglorious Basterds” Mélanie Laurent is not just gorgeous, brilliant and in a league of her own. As Shosanna in “Inglorious Basterds,” she’s also a ruthless Nazi killer. Her efforts help burn to death a room full of Nazis. Ah, revenge is sweet.
4. O-Ren Ishii aka Cottonmouth (Lucy Liu), “Kill Bill Vol. 1” Lucy Liu’s character, O-Ren Ishii, is a half Japanese, half Chinese-American assassin. When a fellow crime-boss accuses her of degrading their group with her “half-breed” bloodline, O-Ren runs across the table from where they are sitting and cuts the man’s head off. She then threatens to repeat this act upon anyone else who has a problem with her heritage. Enough said.
3. Mallory Knox (Juliette Lewis), “Natural Born Killers” Juliette Lewis as Mallory Knox is every man’s desire and fear. Beautiful but belligerent. Sexy but murderous. Fragile but brutal. As caring as a mother and as cruel as an executioner. What’s not to love? Mallory Knox was truly, undeniably, born bad-blooded.
2. Beatrix Kiddo aka The Bride (Uma Thurman), “Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2” The essence of revenge, the definition of determination. Uma Thurman’s best acting performance (yes that includes “Pulp Fiction”). Pure, 100 percent badass. The Bride: “We’ve got some unfinished business.”
1. Alabama Whitman (Patricia Arquette), “True Romance” She’s No. 1 on this list for good reason. If you’ve seen the film, you know. If not, go watch it today. On a side note, her character was this writer’s first true love. “Amid the chaos of that day, when all I could hear was the thunder of gunshots, and all I could smell was the violence in the air, I look back and am amazed that my thoughts were so clear and true, that three words went through my mind endlessly, repeating themselves like a broken record: you’re so cool, you’re so cool, you’re so cool.” – Alabama Whitman