Rob Cohen (director of The Fast and the Furious) wasn’t exaggerating when he suggested that, in terms of screen presence, Michelle Rodriguez is worth ten men. Maybe more. The opening shot of her debut feature, GirlFight, where the camera hesitantly tiptoes towards her piercing glare is astonishing. You wouldn’t want to mess with that girl, even before she took up boxing lessons! But there’s also a wounded vulnerability about her performance, and she carries the film with astounding confidence.
It’s a shame that her true talent has never been adequately utilised since then, although it was great to see her adopted into the cast of Lost. I drank up her work on the show like a thirsty castaway, and feel a tad sad that the majority of viewers didn’t share my enthusiasm. At least ‘Ana Lucia’ got “fired” in a memorable way, and a plot-significant scene, I suppose. I even sat through S.W.A.T. for her, which was quite a frustrating experience. They make a big to-do about what an unlikely candidate her character was for the team, and so you might naturally expect her to prove her mettle at some point in the plot, but she doesn’t actually contribute anything to the team’s efforts past an initial training exercise on a plane. She isn’t really a love interest either, and is one of the first to drop out during the showdown finale. Okay, one might argue that it would be ludicrous for a petite female to be the strongest member of the group, but would that really be any more ludicrous than anything else that happened in the movie? Regardless, it was a waste… although I did get a laugh from the way she introduced herself on the commentary: “I’m your momma on crack”. There’s also a line that was cut from the film itself, but included in the trailer, that makes me laugh every time I hear it. There’s no point trying to reproduce it here, because it’s all about the delivery. God love her, she needs to do more comedy. Scratch that, she needs to do more films, period.