X is for — Xena, Warrior Princess
As I’ve mentioned (probably too many times now), I love a good swashbuckling adventure with lots of action and sword fighting — particularly sword fighting. And I’ve found many books, movies, and TV shows with exciting sword fights and duels. The problem is that most of the time it’s the men who get to have all the fun. Female swordswomen, other than Red Sonja and Athos’ Musketeer daughter, are few and far between, which is why I like Xena. She’s strong and fierce and can handle a sword as well as, if not better than, any man out there.
Xena, Warrior Princess was a TV series spin-off from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys with Kevin Sorbo, that ran from 1995 to 2001. In her past, Xena, played by Lucy Lawless, was a ruthless warrior and warlord, but at the start of the series, she has renounced her cruel and power-hungry ways and turned to the side of good. She travels through a fictional world of ancient Greece and surrounding areas, along with her sidekick and conscience Gabrielle, played by Renee O’Connor. Xena seeks to redeem herself for her past evils by helping the weak and oppressed. Her new chosen path isn’t easy. Sometimes she struggles with her inner demons and teeters on the brink of reverting to her old ways, but Gabrielle’s influence keeps her going in the right direction.
I liked Xena, Warrior Princess, not just because of the sword fighting and adventure, but also because of the camaraderie between Xena and Gabrielle, the humor, and the quirky supporting characters that added so much to the show.
One interesting bit of trivia: Xena executive producer Sam Raimi also directed the Spider-man trilogy, the Evil Dead series, and Oz the Great and Powerful, among other things. His younger brother, Ted Raimi, played the recurring role of Joxer in Xena.
If anyone knows of other movies/TV shows with female sword fighters, please let me know in the comments. I’m always on the lookout for more.
Xena was a fun show. Besides Red Sonja, don’t forget Valeria in Conan the Barbarian. Don’t foget Michonne in The Walking Dead, or The Bride in Kill Bill.
You’ll find several female sword fighters in Chinese and Japanese films. Yu Shu Lien from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Drago played by Michelle Yeoh, and she also wields swords in many other movies. Ichi (2008) and of course, Ichi from original Zatoichi movies. Saya is the lead in the animated short, Blood: The Last Vampire (2000).
Ah, yes, Valeria — I need to watch that movie again. It’s been a long time. I haven’t seen Kill Bill or The Walking Dead (not much into zombies). I did see Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I’ll have to check out more of the Asian films. Thanks for the suggestions!
Xena was a lot of fun. I haven’t run across too many female swordfighters (which is too bad) – the only show I can think of offhand (other than Crouching Tiger) is the short-lived TV show Queen of Swords.
I used to watch that show and was disappointed it was canceled so quickly.
I can’t think of any. Well, Lara Croft, but no swords there. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which David mentioned.
I like the Lara Croft movies and wish they would make more of them. And I’m definitely looking up more of the Asian films.