Maybe they don't all qualify for action heroine-dom exactly, but the ones who don't are certainly in some kind of a proto-action heroine stage I think. One nuclear accident away from a lycra uniform and unique new skill-set.
Some of the characters here will get their own entries later, but hey...who can resist a good list every now and then.
1.) Ana Pascal - "Stranger Than Fiction"
She's tattooed, anti-establishment, and she makes one heck of a chocolate chip cookie. She's passionate and stands up for what she believes in. She's not a snob, she gives back to her community, and she doesn't bow to governmental authority. (Not that I recommend this course of action on a regular basis.)
2.) Leeloo - "The Fifth Element"
Orange hair, stronger than an ox, not afraid to eat in front of people, and here to save the world. As a character, she's a little naive, a bit oblivious to the way the world works, and disappointed by the state of modern affairs. And I like that. Milla Jovovich is a powerhouse of the action heroine world, but that's for another day.)
3.) Clementine Kruczynski - "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"
Clementine has the art of self-expression down. She has emotion in spades and she's highly spontaneous. Every time I watch this character, I just want to reconnect with all my inspirations. I think we all have a voice inside our heads saying, "You're too old for that!" to everything we really want to do. Clementine makes me want to rebel against that voice.
Lola is the very incarnation of the phrase, "won't take no for an answer". She's a motivator of a character and a visually stunning reminder to make no excuses for yourself. (And I'm really starting to notice a theme here, what is it with me and women with artificially colored hair? Hmmm...)
5.) Morticia Addams - "The Addams Family"
She looks like she stepped right off the page of a Gorey drawing, and yet somehow...it works. She is our anti-hero. Everything we wish we had the courage to be, our dark side incarnate, completely in touch with herself and a devoted spouse, protective, maternal, and loving all at the same time. She's concentrated womanhood.
6.) Allison - "Yes Man"
What if you invested yourself in everything you were interested in and did everything you said you wanted to do without worrying about being self-conscious? You may be spread a little thin, you may not be very good at any of the things you're doing, but you wouldn't have any regrets. You'd be Allison from, "Yes Man". (Consequently, you'd have a lovely singing voice and resemble Debra Winger too...)
7.) Mary Poppins - "Mary Poppins"
Sure, she seems straight-laced at first. But she flies and makes paintings come to life and magic follows her wherever she goes. What's her motivation? Why does she seem to have two faces? Why won't she let Burt love her? Why, why why?!
8.) Sally - "The Nightmare Before Christmas"
Like the rest of our leading ladies, Sally is smart. So smart that she sees everything coming long before anyone else does. This creates a very lonely life for Sally as she waits for everyone else to catch up. Then there's the metaphor of "falling to pieces" and feeling, literally in her case, like she's never whole or complete. Who can relate...anyone, anyone?
9.) Bellatrix Lestrange - The Harry Potter Films
You know, Helena Bonham Carter herself could count, but since we're talking fictional characters here, I figured Bellatrix was a natural choice. Sure, she's pure evil. But sometimes evil on film is far more interesting than good. More complex, understandable, stylized, more...everything.
10.) Catwoman - "Batman Returns"
Catwoman is a political activist, a thief, and she's "mad as hell and she's not gonna take it anymore!" She turned the very idea of the crazy cat lady on its ear, making a female stereotype into a symbol of power and control. And let's face it, you have to be pretty weird to follow through with a plan like that, anything that involves a costume and an alias scores extra points for uniqueness.