The potent cordite musk of sweaty ’80s action heroes is emanating from UK cinemas as Sylvester Stallone’s gunfire gang-bang, The Expendables 2, racks up receipts along with the bodies of countless Eastern European henchmen. One odd press release accompanying the film suggested that a female version could be on the cards. Dutifully, the internet was awash with wishlists citing the same group of actors from the famously gun shy Sigourney Weaver to Benetton adoption policy purveyor, Angelina Jolie.
What these lists all failed to acknowledge was the near total disappearance of some seriously fantastic female actors from around the ’80s & ’90s. Their only crime seemed to be allowing the ageing process to occur on their faces or, in some cases, being too damn cool and weird to fit in. In honour of these lesser spotted stars here is a Flickin’ alternative Expendables: The Disposables.
The Boss: Jenette Goldstein
Every group needs a leader and Jenette would be first choice, easily. Her screen debut as Pvt. Vasquez in James Cameron’s Aliens was about as searingly brilliant as a supporting number could be. She followed it up with bit parts in other Cameron films Titanic and Terminator 2 but has since semi-retired from acting taking her zero-tolerance outlook to underwear sales instead; just check out the blurb on the Jenette Bras website.
The Mystery: Jenny Wright
A fringe member of the Brat Pack, Wright brought an ethereal, animalistic quality to her roles and in films like Near Dark and The Chocolate War; she was electric, interrogating anything that showed an interest. Then, the odd bit part aside, she disappeared. Recently Wright has cropped up on the horror convention autograph circuit, but we think it’s about time she returned to the screen.
The Fatale: Linda Fiorentino
The Last Seduction cemented Linda Fiorentino as a modern noir schemer. Rumours abound (courtesy of Kevin Smith mainly) that she was difficult to work with but the truth of her disappearance might be that there weren’t roles to sustain an actor like her. Since 2000 she’s appeared in only two films and all but disappeared from the moviegoing consciousness. Fiorentino hasn’t announced retirement and has recently started up an internet presence at www.lindafiorentino.com
The Royalty: Bridget Fonda
Eternally young and sparky, even when she was playinga washed up prostitute in Jet Li film Kiss of the Dragon. Fonda was versatile, from her near feral hitwoman in The Assassin to her beach bum/sex kitten in Jackie Brown, there was always energy in her roles. A nasty car accident, increasingly B-movie output and a marriage to composer Danny Elfman seems to have put paid to her acting career entirely and it seems (judging by Jane Fonda’s blog anyway) that Bridget is happy raising a family.
The Unpredictable: Fairuza Balk
Female actors like Fairuza Balk are rare, she has one of the best assets for playing crazy – a very interesting face. But whilst she’s not been out of work but since Almost Famous in 2000 she hasn’t been on many cinema at all. Which is a crying shame because she’s got the kind of presence that suggests anything is possible when she’s on, often appearing in films where you wish the camera would follow her because it could be infinitely more interesting. We want Balk, bring back Balk.
Honourable mentions go to Sondra Locke, Rene Russo, Phoebe Cates Kline (now running a ‘general store’), Debra Winger, Joey Lauren Adams, Rae Dawn Chong, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Lori Petty, Mary Stuart Masterson and more I’ve definitely forgotten until they crop up in a late night showing of Law & Order.