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SYFY WIRE Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie's Best Action and Sci-Fi Roles, Ranked 

Angelina Jolie has been kicking butt and taking names for decades. Time to celebrate her action roles!

By Tara Bennett
Angelina Jolie

When you think of Angeline Jolie, the first thing that comes to mind may not be "action superstar" legend. However, Jolie has been knocking skulls and chasing bad guys going back to 1993's Cyborg 2. Not exactly an action title for the ages, but you gotta start somewhere. From there, she really embraced the action genre in 2000's Gone in 60 Seconds with Nic Cage, and she's returned to the genre time and time again ever since. 

SYFY WIRE thinks that Jolie deserves more love for the action bangers that fill her resume so we've decided to rank our favorite straight-up action roles that make us cheer for more. 

RELATED: Eternals: Angelina Jolie trained with swords and ballet to prepare for role as Thena

8. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)

Sky Captain is more about style than substance, exuding a Metropolis meets The Rocketeer visual aesthetic that was more of an experiment than a fully-formed movie. Jolie has a cameo role as Commander Francesca "Franky" Cook. She looks amazing with an eye patch but she doesn't see any action. 

7. Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)

A Jerry Bruckheimer adrenaline shot of a movie, Gone stars Nicolas Cage as "Memphis" Raines and Angelina Jolie as Sway, former lovers and luxury car thieves who agree to steal 50 cars within 72 hours to free his dope of a brother from the police. Jolie looks like she's spent her whole life boosting cars in the coolest ways possible. The movie also features crazy action beats with cars and a great ticking-clock element. An underrated, fun watch with a very charismatic Jolie and Cage.

6. Eternals (2021)

A polarizing movie for Marvel Studios fans, Eternals is an ensemble piece about 10 super-powered beings who exist in the shadows on Earth. They reconnect to battle the Deviants. Jolie is one of the 10, Thena, who is mentally fragile and suffers from Mahd Wy'ry. The elite warrior of the group, Jolie does get to do some impressive, graceful battling in this one. But arguably, the story of her bond with Gilgamesh (Don Lee) and her fragility with her memory are the more compelling aspects of her role.

5. Those Who Wish Me Dead (2021)

A pandemic lockdown release on HBOMax, Those Who Wish Me Dead stars Jolie as a Hannah Faber, a grumpy smokejumper in Montana. She's grappling with PTSD from a tragic fire incident and exists mostly as a loner until she has to help save a young boy (Finn Little) kidnapped by assassins. Jolie is excellent in this surprisingly effective thriller that uses an impending forest fire to up the stakes of the search and rescue mission. She's scrappy, industrious and sells her prowess in the wild. 

4. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

A more baby-faced Jolie embodied video game icon adventurer, Lara Croft, in two films. Without a doubt, Jolie absolutely looked the part and sold the sass and confidence of her digital counterpart. Neither film was especially great in terms of story, but Jolie made up for the flaws with her action chops and charisma. These are the definition of press play and let your brain out for two hours of fun. 

3. Wanted (2008)

Jolie is pretty terrifying as Fox, a brutal assassin and member of the Fraternity in this adaptation of Mark Millar and J. G. Jones' comic book, Wanted. She helps reawaken mild-mannered everyman, Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy), into the super-powered assassin that he's been tamping down with medication. Jolie is a full-out badass in this super violent, quasi-superhero action flick. It's slick, bloody and remains one of those movies where everyone asks, "Why was there no sequel?" 

2. Salt (2010)

If you ever wanted to see Jolie as Bond, then Salt is your movie. She is fantastic as Evelyn Salt, a canny, smart CIA operative who gets accused of being a double-crossing KGB agent. The engaging cat and mouse of the movie is that Salt herself isn't sure if she's on the up and up. But she is going to find out. She outwits everyone in a progression of thrilling escape scenarios, but she pays for it dearly, getting banged up along the way. We deserved more Salt adventures with Jolie. Stream it now on Peacock.

1. Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)

Pinnacle sexy-era Jolie and Brad Pitt play bored married couple, Jane and John Smith. The couple live the suburban life, but cheat on the side with secret jobs as deadly assassins. Neither know the other are killers until their jobs follow them home as they're assigned to kill one another. They tango, they tease and blow a whole lot of things up. It's the film in which Pitt and Jolie fell in love with one another and you can see their chemistry is molten at the time. Jolie, in particular, is in peak form as the smooth killer who charms her marks to death. 

Celebrate Jolie's action status by watching Salt now on Peacock.