sportingkitchenmartial arts

The 50 Hottest Women Sword Fighters

Posted by Ken

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20. So-Yi Yoon

Looks: 3
Acting: 3
Swordplay: 5

So-Yi Yoon is a promising newcomer from South Korea.

She does an excellent job carrying on the great tradition of female Wuxia practitioners in "Legend of the Shadowless Sword". It's a fine movie, though maybe not quite as stylish as "Hero" nor as engaging as "Crouching Tiger".

See it for the underwater brawl or just to see So-Yi Yoon show her stuff. "Shadowless Sword" should be out on DVD soon, but hopefully So-Yi is working on her next gig already.

So-Yi Yoon
So-Yi YoonSo-Yi Yoon

19. Cate Blanchett

Looks: 3
Acting: 5
Swordplay: 3

Can Cate pull off the Triple-Crown?

She's certainly got the acting chops, as her Best Supporting Actress Oscar can attest. And, while she isn't usually thought of as a hottie, she's certainly no slouch in the looks department either.

But sword fighting? C'mon, wispy little Cate? Not a chance, you say. But you know what? She K.O.'d co-star Shia LaBeouf's groin during the filming of their sword fight in the latest Indiana Jones movie. Ouch!

Okay, Cate, you win, I'll add another star to the swordplay rating.

Cate Blanchett
Cate BlanchettCate and Indiana Jones

18. Pei-Pei Cheng

Looks: 3
Acting: 3
Swordplay: 5

Beauty fades. And so do sword fighting skills.

Or do they? Pei-Pei Cheng would say otherwise. She first appeared on the scene in 1966 in the ground-breaking "Come Drink With Me". I say ground-breaking because it paved the way for modern martial arts movies featuring women. "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" for example. That one also featured -- you guessed it -- Pei-Pei Cheng.

Nearly forty years later, she still kicks butt. Her original work is phenomenal and a must-see for any fan of the genre.

Pei-Pei Cheng
Pei-Pei ChengPei-Pei Cheng

17. Faye Dunaway

Looks: 4
Acting: 5
Swordplay: 2

Faye Dunaway has had a long and illustrious career as an elegant beauty who can act circles around most of the other women on this list.

As a result, she she probably thought that her performance in 1988's "The Gamble" would be long since forgotten by the time this list was compiled.

But no, I've resurrected that one from the junkyard to tell you that it probably should stay there. Matthew Modine is his usual wooden self and it's not one of Faye's best showings either.

It does have a single redeeming quality, however, and that is a highly-choreographed cliff-top sword fight between Faye and Matt. I won't spoil the surprise by telling you who wins.

Faye DunawayFaye Dunaway
Faye Dunaway

16. Sienna Miller

Looks: 4
Acting: 4
Swordplay: 3

Sienna Miller -- not to be confused with fellow sword babe Sienna Guillory -- puts on a good show in "Casanova". She battles Heath Ledger in a spirited duel. Sadly, she wears a mask the whole time.

Luckily, since she's quite the looker, you get to see her unmasked throughout the rest of the film. She even does a bit more sword fighting near the end, though that's a little less convincing.

She'll be in the upcoming "Nottingham". If she dons a sword in that one, I'll have to revisit her score.

Sienna Miller 

Sienna MillerSienna Miller


15. Rosamund Pike

Looks: 3
Acting: 4
Swordplay: 4

Rosamund Pike will forever be known as the babe that brought fencing to the James Bond series. Either that or playing second-fiddle to Keira Knightley in "Pride and Prejudice". I prefer to emphasize the former and try to ignore the latter.

Rosamund does a good job convincing us that she's an Olympic fencer in "Die Another Day", even as the action gets a little over-the-top toward the end. No surprise there, really -- it is a Bond movie, after all. But since sword fighting plays a central role in the plot and Rosamund's a hottie, she scores quite well on this list.

Rosamund PikeRosamund Pike
Rosamund Pike

14. Kristanna Loken

Looks: 5
Acting: 2
Swordplay: 4

What happens when one of the worst directors of all time -- Uwe Boll -- gets together with a supermodel whose most relevant acting experience consists of playing a nude, mute robot alongside the Governor of California?

You get "Blood Rayne". It's just a terrible movie, and Kristanna's no Meryl Streep. But she charges ahead enthusiastically, does a decent job convincing us that her swordplay is improving as the movie goes on, and looks insanely hot while doing it.

Not sure exactly why she turned down the sequel. I guess she had had enough of Uwe.

Kristanna Loken
Kristanna LokenKristanna Loken

13. Milla Jovovich

Looks: 5
Acting: 2
Swordplay: 4

Milla Jovovich is gorgeous. She's been a supermodel, gracing the covers of over 100 magazines as well as earning over $10 million dollars from her modelling in 2004 alone.

She can certainly handle her sword too. She wields it threateningly and convincingly in "Messenger: Story of Joan of Arc", "Ultraviolet" as well as in all of the "Resident Evil" series.

And her acting? Well... Did I mention that she was gorgeous?

Milla JovovichMilla JovovichMilla Jovovich


12. Maggie Q

Looks: 4
Acting: 3
Swordplay: 5

Maggie Q (aka Maggie Quigley) may be the only American to become successful first on the Hong Kong martial arts scene and then do a reverse transition to become a Hollywood movie star.

You've likely seen her skills in "Mission Impossible 3", "Die Hard 4" and "Balls of Fury", but you may have missed "Naked Weapon". In that movie, she's kidnapped and raised by assassins to be one of them, wins a battle royale between a dozen or so other trained assassins, and then goes on a globe-trotting assassin adventure. It's a silly movie, but she stands out, so it's no surprise that Maggie has risen up from that genre to become a mainstream star.

Maggie Q

11. Jennifer Garner

Looks: 4
Acting: 4
Swordplay: 4

Jennifer Garner first got everyone's attention in "Alias". I can't recall if she ever used a sword in that TV series, but she made up for it in "Daredevil" and "Elektra".

She's held her own in some non-action movies as well, which means she'll likely be moving away from the swordplay as she gets older. That's a real shame for us blade fans.

Jennifer Garner

64 Responses

  1. Darren Says:

    Uma Thurman was way too high on the list. She has giant man-hands.

  2. xenafan Says:

    Where’s Lucy Lawless, one of the sexiest sword fighters on TV, ever.

  3. admin Says:

    Movies only for now. TV swordswomen coming soon. The intro mentions that, but it’s not in bold or anything ;)

    Update: now it is in bold. Sorry it wasn’t clearer earlier!

  4. G Says:

    Meiko Kaji, star of Lady Snowblood. Noteworthy for doing her own swordwork plus starring in two sequels, but also famous as the character the world’s highest paid plagerist, Quentin Whatanassho, stole when he “made” Kill Bill.

  5. Yoyo Says:

    I prefer Uma Thurman to the rest! Beautiful but great in action (using swords).

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  7. Karsten Says:

    Well done list, mate. Now go over it and give us the best swordfighting scene of each girl as a Youtube vid…

    (Thanks for the great work)

  8. Chuckie Says:

    Where’s Maureen O’Hara? (At Sword’s Point – 1951)

  9. Mike in Ambler, PA Says:

    Where’s Summer Glau?

    She was crazy-hot in Serenity.

  10. Baz Says:

    You Kate Beckinsale ranked lower than some absolute mongrels. Should be at least top 20. Some of them have faces like a bag of hammers.

  11. Tim Says:

    Kate Beckinsale should be way higher. She’s hotter than Uma by far.

  12. Ironman Says:

    Maybe because it was a show it wasnt considered, but Xena Maybe?

  13. Ian Says:

    lucy lawless…as xena?

  14. Bozjam Says:

    Having Kate Beckinsale #38 is a crime. Way too low.

  15. Mdans Says:

    LUCY LAWLESS?! PSSH! You suck for not including her in the list.

  16. Danny Says:

    regarding Shu qi: The picture in the middle is actually Vicky Zhao Wei holding the sword, not Shu Qi :-)
    Shu Qi didnt do any swordfighting in So Close, for reasons i wont spoil here.
    Zhao Wei did all of it, and shes way hotter. So maybe she should be number 22 instead :<

    Author’s Note: Great catch, Danny, thanks! And nice call on Vicky. I’ve updated number 22.

  17. D4v3 Says:

    Elizabeth Gracen, from Highlander the series (for your TV list, of course).

  18. Holodeck Says:

    When you compiled this list and proclaimed that these were the top 50 hottest women sword fighters, I assumed you would have sword fighters. A sai is not a sword, so say goodbye to Rachael Weiss and Jennifer Garner, both of whom are using sais. And where the hell is Cynthia Rothrock, Cat Sasoon, and Karen Sheperd ??

  19. TsuKata Says:

    This list is a rip-off. This is the 50 hottest actresses who happen to have held a sword in a movie once…this has nothing to do with being a hot sword-fighting female character. Blech.

    1) It should have been by character, not by actress.
    2) If you held a sword for less then ten seconds of film time, IT DOESN’T COUNT!

  20. Buh Says:

    I have nothing but scorn for this obvious “I-love-somewhat-ugly-brunettes-only” list. I mean really. Every good-looking blond or brunette is rated lower than those actresses who are generally acknowledged to be “okay-looking”.
    Since the author is obviously playing extreme favorites within his/her narrow experience, the list is a waste of time for all those people who really wanted to see a good, definitive list.

  21. dawn Says:

    Thanks for the tip :)
    But according to Google I’m more of a Slayer not a sword woman!!!

    http://totally-pissed-off.blogspot.com/2008/08/dawn-needs-miracle.html

  22. >.> Says:

    Aya Ueto as the title character in Azumi. Amazing sword fighting by a super-hottie. How did you miss this one?

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  24. lisa_mynx Says:

    Where’s Kelly Hu??? She’s hotter than at least 45 gals on this list and is quite skilled with a sword…

  25. Brian Says:

    Great list. You’re not going to EVER please everyone, though.
    Gotta throw another vote for Summer Glau in Serenity, though. Now THAT was an awesome scene…

  26. Devin Says:

    You have done a good job in making a list of something that was very hard to do.
    No doubt you will have others complaining about who they want on the list but if they were to really think about their choice and place them against the ones on your list. They should realize their choice was a bad one.
    With Uma and Catherine, I would move them further down the list and move Ziyi,Yeoh, Cheung and the others further up the list. Mind you Ziyi is beautiful but her swordplay would put her below Yeoh.
    Otherwise you did a kick ass job with a very hard subject.
    P.S. Rai is hot as hell, no wonder she won the Miss World contest at the age of 19 back in 1994.

  27. SGT Mac in Iraq Says:

    Hatge to diappoint the creator of this list, but Kate Garner did NOT weild a bladed weapon in Daredevil or Elektra. They were sai. Sai are daggers, not swords, plus they don’t have an edge for cutting, they’re for stabbing. She did look hot in Daredevil, though, I will agree.

  28. SGT Mac in Iraq Says:

    Oops, I should have read the whole list first. Those weapons in Rachel Weisz’s hands in The Mummy Returns? They look an awflu lot like sai daggers like the ones Kate Garner weilded. And, as I satated before, sai daggers are thrusting weapons,not blades.

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  32. cjpt Says:

    Asummpta Serna (“Wild Orchid”; Theresa in BBC “Sharpe” series; a ton of Spanish stuff) stared in the 1992 Spanish film “The Fencing Master” (“El Maestro De Esgrima”); her sword work was incredible and she is stunning;

  33. devakar Says:

    michelle yeoh is the best swords performer, if we observe in crouching tiger and hidden dragon she plays with every kind of sword and instrument. that proves her skill in swords play

  34. DJ Rick Says:

    Where’s Lucy Lawless?

  35. Jim Shoe Says:

    Sarah Carter is very underrated in this list. Probably not so much with the acting, but her cuteness deserves her 5 stars in looks, and her moves in DOA is 5 stars in swords or all around fighting

  36. Queen of swords Says:

    Where is Tessie Santiago? She is the best!

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  39. attitude Says:

    Great list but need an update. There are some girls on this list who just touch a sword for a moment. I missed some really sword role women. What about Elizabeth Gracen? Amanda from Highlander.

  40. priest Says:

    soooo, where’s Aya Ueto .. After two great Azumi pictures she should be in!

  41. Charley Says:

    Aya Ueto really should be on this list.

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  43. jill Says:

    why are they all white and blonde?

    this list sucks.

  44. some guy Says:

    Sarah Carter was hotter than most of the girls on that list… why such a low rank?

  45. Roy Says:

    Geena Davis above Kate Beckinsale!!!!? Are you NUTS??

  46. Cass1dy Says:

    @ jill
    Aishwarya Rai is not white
    9/50 Asians are not white
    18/50 blondes is not “all” (and most of them are dyed)

    sorry to be picky
    this is a good list

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  48. angela Says:

    No Lucy Lawless/Xena? I don’t care if she wasn’t in a film, she still has to be on the list!

    And Jennifer Garner/Elektra uses sais, not a sword.

  49. Cobrastyle Says:

    Hi…
    im new at this
    anybody from mexico??

    Uma Thurman is the best with her yellow outfitt

  50. Nepenthos Says:

    No way did you leave out Xena! Lucy Lawless is the sexiest sword-wielding, scantily-dressed woman out there. I expected her to be in the Top 10.

  51. silentsurfur Says:

    Cool collection of top 50 women sword fighters… :)

  52. GeekVox Says:

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  53. Johan Says:

    Kate Beckinsale should be much higher, and the actress from Azumi should definately be on the list.
    Likewise I think you missed Kristanna Loken in “Curse of the Ring: Ring of the Nibelungs” where she plays the Warrior Queen Brunnhilde (although she doesn’t fight that much). In that movie she’s good enough to earn one more star for her acting, and move into the top 10.

    But it was still a great list, and I’ve found many movies that I want to see =)

  54. Em Says:

    Previously mentioned, but I’ll add my own observation also – Tessie Santiago DIDN’T make this list?
    (gimme a break)

  55. wingsofshadow Says:

    I know t.v. is supposed to be another list and I know the series kinda sucked, but Yancy Butler in “witchblade” should be on there somewhere.

  56. Chris R Says:

    I know I’m late to this thread, but, what about Devon Aoki, the sword-wielding assasin-enforcer Miho for the prostitutes in Sin City.

  57. Dan R Says:

    Well, Bridget Regan has been in a few flicks, but I guess her fineness only swings her Legend of the Seeker sword on the tube.

  58. CherieO Says:

    Lucy Lawless, Xena by far!!!!!!

  59. Reggie Says:

    bull! Lucy Lawless is so f***** hot! you should’ve added her in the list!

  60. Kauai Tom Says:

    SUMMER GLAU SUMMER GLAU SUMMER GLAU!!!
    Serenity and The Sarah Conner Chronicles, and more to come we pray…

  61. Anonamous Says:

    What about Summer Glau? Her role in Serenity, I believe, earns her a spot on the list.

  62. JuciyJJ..xox Says:

    i think tht swordfighting woman in a film would be a strong character to play and show tht woman dont necessarily need men in their lives ! girl power all the way ! xxx <3 xxxx

  63. billiam Says:

    I agree….no Yancy Butler bad form and also no LeeLee Sobieski? come on….. the best Joan of Arc next to Ingrid. No Liv Tyler???

  64. M.T. "Bull" Jones Says:

    Great work on a tough list to build. My only complaint is that that you missed one that should have been fitted in there somewhere… Chiaki Kuriyama.