This article is authored by CHRISTY LEMIRE at THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

ANGELINA JOLIE plays an indestructible CIA officer accused of being a Russian spy in SALT.

The role allows her to do so much of what she does so well: kick ass and look impossibly sexy doing it. Following the TOMB RAIDER films and WANTED, SALT solidifies her standing as the most alluring and reliable female action star working today.

ANGELINA has truly carved out her own niche. But many female actors before her have shaken things up as intensely as the big boys and with a bit of feminine flair.

Thanks to this role, SIGOURNEY is synonymous with fierceness. But part of the allure of the performance is that she didn’t start out as a bad ass.

She transformed herself into one out of sheer survival and a ferocious protective force. In the 1979 original, directed by RIDLEY SCOTT, SIGOURNEY’S ELLEN RIPLEY means business but she isn’t quite the killing machine she turns into under JAMES CAMERON’S direction in part two.

Her climactic battle against The Queen — with her threatening line, “Get away from her, you bitch!” — is so iconic, it’s even been reenacted for DirecTV commercials.

UMA THURMAN in the KILL BILL movies (2003/2004) THE BRIDE, BEATRIX KIDDO — whatever you want to call her, just be sure not to cross her. UMA’S character has maternal instinct as a motivating force behind her trail of death and destruction.

But The Bride is primarily out for revenge against the other assassins who tried to kill her on her wedding day. Her knock down drag out trailer fight against Daryl Hannah is a doozy. But she’s just as capable of taking on a pack of 100 samurai sword wielding thugs. QUENTIN TARANTINO’S films are, of course, hugely stylish homages to the genres he loves, but since he and UMA crafted the role together, it also feels personal. Almost sweet.

Sure, go ahead and laugh. But you can only imagine how difficult it is to operate a laser gun effectively while dressed in go go dominatrix gear. The boots alone would make it tough to run and chase bad guys.

This wasn’t exactly considered a good movie when it came out, but it’s cultivated a certain kitschy charm. JANE, under the direction of her then husband Roger Vadim, was all hair and legs and campy sex appeal as a futuristic, intergalactic warrior goddess.

There was even talk in recent years about QUENTIN TARANTINO’S Grindhouse codirector ROBERT RODRIGUEZ doing a remake. And any movie that influenced DURAN DURAN can’t be all bad.

Think of any other examples? Share them with AP Movie Critic CHRISTY LEMIRE through Twitter:

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