The Equalizer series reboot starring Queen Latifah will debut after the Super Bowl on February 7th. Now is the time to remind you of her greatness. This should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: Queen Latifah is iconic. She has been an entertainment Swiss Army knife for decades. Without including her musical contributions, which are nothing to sneeze at, her acting credits alone have been nothing short of amazing, especially for a Black woman like Latifah.
Throughout her illustrious acting career, she’s had several roles before becoming The Equalizer’s Robyn McCall that have been in the spirit of the type of action hero we deserve. Not that I ever need an excuse to encourage people to watch movies that have been blessed by Queen Latifah’s presence, I’m taking this opportunity to do so here, just in case you need convincing that what I’ve said has some validity.
House Party 2 (1991)
One of Latifah’s first appearances on the silver screen was in the 1991 comedy House Party 2. She played the role of Tisha Campbell’s radical femme roommate, Zora. We don’t get much of her character in the House Party sequel, which is unfortunate. However, what we do get lets us know that Zora is a passionate activist and knows how to organize. The best action heroes should inspire those around them to stand up for themselves.
Set It Off (1996)
The action heist film, Set It Off, is about a group of Black women fed up with their situations, so they decide to take matters into their own hands by teaming up to rob a few banks. Morally you can do with that what you will, but action heroes often stand in the gray areas of what’s deemed right or wrong. Queen Latifah plays the role of Cleopatra “Cleo” Sims, the muscle in the group. She wasn’t at all methodical when it came to things like stealing cars, but what she lacked in criminal efficiency she made up for in heart. When one last heist goes wrong for Cleo and her friends, she tells them they have to split up and does what she can so they have a chance to getaway. It’s a selfless act that costs Cleo her life, and it’s one of the most memorable moments from the movie. She goes out in a blaze of glory, but it’s on her terms and someone like an equalizer who is all about handling things on their terms.
Queen Latifah plays Belle Williams in this 2004 remake of the French film of the same name, Taxi. Belle is a talented auto mechanic, an aspiring Nascar driver, can ride the hell out of a BMX bike, and just so happens to have an insanely fine boyfriend who loves her dearly. Action heroes are usually good at multiple things, I mean, look at James Bond. Jimmy Fallon plays Andy, a cop who is absolutely horrendous at his job. He is actually one of the many reasons you wouldn’t call 911 and would have to reach out to someone like The Equalizer’s Robyn McCall. Belle also has some moves. She makes Andy look like a fool repeatedly in this movie, and we could use more of that energy.
Last Holiday (2006)
In this romantic dramedy, Queen Latifah stars as Georgia, a department store assistant who learns she has a rare brain condition and only has a few weeks to live. She immediately decides to spend the rest of her funds on a luxury holiday in Europe before her tie is up. Georgia doesn’t merely spend her time lounging around, something Georgia could have done. Instead, she taps into her adventurous side and does everything from snowboarding to base jumping off a dam. What gives Georgia her action hero quality is not just being brave enough to spend your last days doing what you’ve always wanted, but she is a multitasker and helps others in tandem. Her ability to help others while her life is in utter chaos sounds like a textbook trait for an action hero.
Just Wright (2010)
Queen Latifah has contributed a lot to romantic comedies. In Just Wright, her character is a physical therapist, Leslie Wright, who falls in love with a professional basketball player who doesn’t deserve her at all. Janky men aside, Leslie herself is pretty dope. She’s an incredible physical therapist, drives an old school Mustang, and can wear the hell out of a little black dress or a Nets jersey. Honestly, anyone who can make a Nets jersey look good deserve it all. So, what does this have to do with action heroes? Well, for one, she saves this fictional version of the Nets season by rehabilitating their star player. Secondly, and most importantly, she secures two bags by the end of the movie. She joins the Nets organization as the head athletic trainer, and even though Scott McKnight (Common) doesn’t deserve her, he does have deep pockets. Leslie has the winners’ energy, and that’s definitely something you want in your action hero.
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