An occasionally appealing modern archetype, done prominently in "The Matrix", for example, and cutely in the "You're Under Arrest!" anime and manga (okay, and countless others). Sometimes just irritating, though. Girls with guns are often just generic supporting characters given a larger role because there needs to be a love interest and something sexy for the guys to look at in between explosions. There's often nothing particularly female about them besides their artificially-created curves. Nonetheless, they're frequent objects of fantasy, popular from Hong Kong to Hollywood, from the dime novel of the 1920s to Lara Croft--and probably stretching back to the endless male fascination with Amazon myths. There's all sorts of theory about this, from pop culture to psychology. A search on women in film in a university library database should turn up several works.

For the record, I thought "The Long Kiss Goodnight" was a better example of the character/genre.

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