06/30/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Angelina Jolie: Summer's Female Action Hero

Here's a fun game: Try to imagine Angelina Jolie in the "Sex and the City" movie. You know, hanging with Carrie and the girls. Shoe shopping, giggling, brunching. Kind of makes your head hurt, doesn't it?

Now picture her playing Tony Stark's dutiful assistant in "Iron Man." Or Bruce Banner's long-suffering love interest in "The Incredible Hulk." Not much easier, right?

No, Jolie is in a category all her own - and she's nobody's best girlfriend. Just in the nick of time, this real-life superhero is here to rescue us from a summer movie season monopolized by testosterone and handbags.

In Timur Bekmambetov's Matrixy thriller "Wanted," out Friday, Jolie is in top form: lean, scowling, firing big guns at bad guys - and not exactly taking it easy on the good guy, either.

Watching the film, you get the feeling that Jolie intimidated every male actor around her, and she probably did - as critic Pauline Kael once said of her, "this girl would scare the crap out of Jack Nicholson in 'Cuckoo's Nest.'"

So why isn't she getting more lead action roles?

In "Wanted," Jolie plays Fox, an assassin in a league known as the Fraternity (oh, the symbolism!). Plot-wise, she's not exactly in the driver's seat; Fox is charged with shaping James McAvoy's wimpy office-drone character into the hero he'll eventually become. It's a plum role, but not a starring one.

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