What is it about eye patches that seem to be a growing trend in tough-as-nails film heroines and villains? Or, more of a mystery, why do these female eye patch wearers all wear their eye patches on the left eye rather than on the right? It’s questions like these that seem to connect to the badass character Shé Michelle Rodriguez will play again in upcoming sequel “Machete Kills.”
If you go by the new promo poster for “Machete Kills”, you’ll see that Rodriguez’s character is now of the same ilk that produced Darryl Hannah’s Elle Driver in “Kill Bill” and Angelina Jolie’s Commander Franky Cook in “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.” These were just some of the eye-patched cinematic heroines that wore their patch on the left side. The only standout might be Swoosie Kurtz’s Lilly Charles on the now defunct TV series “Pushing Daisies” where we saw an eye patch adorned with a diamond.
Despite Michelle Rodriguez more or less reinventing herself playing a character with an eye patch after years of playing tough characters, how does it compare when going up against similar male characters? Whether an inside plot behind it all, many male characters wearing eye patches wear theirs on the right side.
Just take a look at the most famous right side example: Kurt Russell’s Snake Plissken in “Escape From New York.” As well, look at Brendan Gleeson’s Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody from the “Harry Potter” movies. Then again, you also have Robert Wagner’s Number Two from the “Austin Powers” franchise wearing his patch on the left, as did a few other characters mostly from TV.
With Darryl Hannah’s Elle Driver character taking the rough and tumble female to new heights, there may be some kind of secret protocol behind it since she began the eye patch fad. Never before did we see women in movies wear eye patches until Quentin Tarantino made it so in the “Kill Bill” movies. In that regard, Michelle Rodriguez may be a little late to the party.
Nevertheless, she’s reinventing the strong female character to untold machismo. Rodriguez may even be the leader in that category now that she’s recurring a popular baddie in the “Fast & Furious” movie series. If there’s anyone who could wipe out an entire group of people with those “Machete Kills” guns, it’s her.
The one downside to it all is that every other actress is following Rodriguez’s lead to reinvent themselves into more masculine heroines. Wearing an eye patch might be the new crutch in acting out that part as much as it used to be with actresses playing prostitutes or crazy people to win Oscars. Not that playing baddies with an eye patch will garner an Oscar any time soon.
For many actresses, they may not care. That’s because playing more masculine characters has an appeal to let them do something different from the ordinary. With such a dearth of strong women roles lately, it’s a fairly good compromise.
For once, though, let’s have plausible explanations for why these characters have an eye patch. Otherwise, they may end up going the way of unexplained scars on villain faces that used to look menacing and now look contrived.