When it comes to think of a iconic Female within Martial art cinema 'who do you think of?.With the guys it's easy you can pick as many as you want From Jackie to Jet or Sammo and Bruce among many others.With the ladies it's not so easy OK you have Angela Mao she was kicking arse in the east in the early seventies along side Bruce Lee.And of course Polly Shang Kwan was a force to reckon with.
After that you have to come right up to the eighties and Michele Khan or Yeoh as she now is. But as a full champion martial artist who trained before the films and became a international star in Hong Kong and the States and Europe there is only one.that is CYNTHIA ROTHROCK
She holds Black belts in six various Far Eastern martial Arts , including Tang Soo Do, Tae Kwon Do , Eagle Claw Kung Fu , Wu Shu , Northern Shaolin Kung Fu which is of classical Chinese origins , and Pai Lum Tao Kung Fu which is a Contemporary Chinese art . She received her sixth degree black belt in Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan in 2006 and was tested by Grand Master Robert Kovaleski, 7th Dan and chair of the I.T.M.A. S.
Hong Kong Beckons
It was 1983 and Cynthia was residing in North California ,at the time she was doing demonstrations with the West Coast Demonstration Team.Golden Harvest ,the film company that launched Bruce Lee and later signed Jackie Chan were in California scouting for there next big martial arts star.It was here that Cynthia was spotted ,a contract was signed .
Now with many Caucasian actors and actresses or fighters for that matter ,when they get signed to films in the East they are normally used as Villains or unimportant bit parts.This was not the case for Cynthia ,as in 1985 she was to star in a film called ''Yes Madam'' (see Police Assassins below).This was the first time a Caucasian had been used in a heroic role in a Hong Kong Movie.
Cynthia Kicks Back in Police Assassins aka Yes Madam.
In the West Cynthia Rothrock came to fame in a a couple of films Namely the Sequel to No Retreat 'No Surrender ,when Ng Se Yuen wanted to make a sequel to his box office film which starred Kurt Mc'kinney and the then unknown Jean Claude Van Damme he thought it's a sure fire thing but Kurt refused as he wanted to focus on training and the martial arts as opposed to film making at least that's what i read and Jean Claude refused because Kurt Refused ?.
Any Ways enter new stars Loren Avedon and champion martial artist Cynthia Rothrock to star in the new film Raging Thunder,also a new bad guy for the role who was Matthias Hues.Cynthia ends up helping Loren's character after his girl friend is kidnapped and Loren seeks help from a army buddy who happens to know Cynthia.
Cynthia and Loren Avedon have words in Raging Thunder
What we have here is a show case of good martial arts were every one seems to be doing there own stunts and Cynthia rocks with the best of them.
The other film was Police Assassins whom she starred along side the other major female star at that time Michele Khan ( now yeoh). Here's the confusing bit Police assassins was released as police assassins 2 in the UK even though it was the first film it's also known as ''Yes Madam '' and '' IN THE LINE OF DUTY '' in it's local ,which spawned a few sequels and launched a few stars as well.
Police assassins as we will call it now paired Cynthia and Michele as two cops one from Hong Kong and Cynthia;'s character from Scotland Yard (well in the English version,along with a bad english dub to go with it)There after a gang boss and get involved with two crooks to help find him and take him to justice ,but the kind we like were they fight there way in and out .with a great cast including Tsui Hark and Dick Wei this is pure martial bliss and you should track it down.
The other film she did around this time was Shanghai Express ,even though her role was small ,she got probably the best scene in the film ,when she confronts Sammo Hung in Bruce Lee mode in a duel at towards the end of the film.
Cynthia Rothrock Above the Law
The other major break through in Hong Kong for Cynthia was Above The Law with Yuen Biao which she got to star in after the deal to Fight Jackie in Armour of God fell through when Jackie fell out of a tree and nearly died and it was a while before filming resumed.I wont go to much into this film but watch the videos below to find out how tough this film was to make for Cynthia .
After her stint in the East ,to the West Cynthia returned ,it was here she was to establish herself as a major player in martial art flicks for the next ten years.Producer Pierre David offered her a role in a film starring along side Chad Mc'Queen ''Martial Law''.The film also starred Mr ,Kung Fu himself ,the late David Carradine.In the West ,well in the UK Martial Law was a pretty huge on the video circuit and was very Prominent ( i still have my original poster of the film).
But it was a Collaboration between Golden Harvest and Fred Weintraub and Director Robert Clouse ( he off ''Enter the Dragon'' and ''Big Brawl'' fame ) that would give Cynthia a showcase to show off her Moves .Yes it was China O'Brien who she starred alongside Richard Norton and super Kicker Keith Cooke .
It was here that Cynthia really took of ,the story of China O'Brien is one ''in my opinion'' borrowed from a 1973 film called ''Walking Tall'' which in it self was based on a actual true story of a Sheriff in Tennessee.The story was once again used when in 2004 Dwayne ''The Rock '' Johnson starred in a remake of Walking Tall.The story is too familiar for the writers to have not thought about the film i mention.
But hey' it works and it works brilliantly,i can not say how many times i have watched this film as it's far to many to count.
Since then Cynthia has starred in some 45 films or so from the brilliant Rage and Honor films to slightly more budget films like Undefeatable , Sworn to Justice and Guardian Angel .Slowly here at K.I.T.G. we will review them all and the links will be below .Just gotta dig out those old Video tapes and hope they still play.
The last film Cynthia made was in 2004 ,she resides in the United States and has a daughter named Skyler and co'owns a Martial arts studio in California as part of a group.Her time is spent teaching and doing seminars ,here's hoping she visits the UK some time soon.
To find out more on Cynthia Rothrock please visit her official web site,which also has a link to her facebook page.Official web site address: http://www.cynthiarothrock.org/
Cynthia Rothrock in Pose Cynthia with Xena
Cynthia in Above the Law - 1986
Cynthia with Michele Yeoh in Yes Madam - 1985
A Old Flyer from one of Cynthia's Visits to the UK ,no year on this but I'm sure it was 1991.Anybody attend,leave a message on the guest book.
Here at K.I.T.G. we would like to thank Cynthia for her friendship and being our Banner star of the month for June 2010.
It's always a pleasure to connect with Martial artists around the globe whether they be people from film or sport or average Joe who trains for himself once or twice a week.Because there 's always one thing in common with these people and that's Honor and Respect and in this world it's nice to see that.The Snake.
Cynthia on Stage with Richard Norton in Berlin
In a event that all martial art fans have been waiting for ,Cynthia Rothrock appeared with 10 other top martial arts stars at the Berlin Movie Convention ,where fans got to meet the stars.
K.I.T.G. was there and a marvelous event it was.So the Snake got to thank Cynthia in person for being a K.I.T.G. Banner star.
To see more on this event visit the dedicated page ,Here!
At the Berlin Movie Convention Cynthia revealed she would be returning to films now that her daughter is older.So once again our screens will be alive with the action from Ms Rothrock.
She revealed that she will be doing a Horror film in the UK and that her and Richard Norton are looking to make 'Rage and Honor 3' ,there are other projects too ,but we will have to wait and see.
And at K.I.T.G. WE WAIT WITH ANTICIPATION.
Cynthia Rothrock appeared in the UK at TMAS 2011 ,this will be her first time back in the UK for eight years.Luckily my good self and a fellow member Cloudtoe attended the show on the Saturday the 7th of May and got to spend some time with Cynthia.
Cynthia appeared on stage in a Q&A session and signed autographs and posed for pictures ,giving time to the fans and being a fantastic ambassador for Martial arts .
And those lucky enough got to do a seminar with Cynthia for about a hour to.Of course Myself and Cloudtoe where on hand at this seminar to.
After the seminar Cynthia spent the last hour of the show (not even changing out of her Gi) signing photos and taking pictures for those that had missed her allotted meet and Greet Schedule.
It was great to meet Cynthia after last years Berlin Movie Con and when i walked in to have my picture done with her she remembered me and greeted me as if i had known her for years . Though we have met only 3 times and the first was some 18 years ago.
Cynthia Rothrock on stage at TMAS 2011 (above)
Cynthia's Seminar at TMAS 2011 ( above and below)
Seminar pictures courtesy of Koku-Ryu Karate
I would like to once again thank Cynthia for her friendship and hope she has a good stay in the UK .So from Cloudtoe and Myself i wish Cynthia a safe Journey Home and i am sure we'll meet again some time soon.
The Snake and Cynthia Ready for action.
For more on the 2011 Martial arts show in Birmingham click here for the K.I.T.G. Overview.
Cynthia is back in action ,after her 8 year break from films due to not wanting to leave her young daughter while she grew up ,now her daughter is Old Enough ,Cynthia is back in action on the big screen , Starring as the villain in a new film called ''White Tiger'' and starring with old time friend and fellow martial artist Don''The Dragon''Wilson.
Also on the project is 5 times Champion Martial Artist Matt Mullins and another favorite of mine ,Patrick Tang aka Kazu who also is the choreographer .
Other films are on the horizons including one shot in London which is a horror ,but shooting relies on the financing Film Maker Dean Meadows can get.
There's also word of another project where Cynthia will return to the screen with Richard Norton ,but more on that as we here about it. So for the meantime enjoy the set pics from ''White Tiger'' which Cynthia allowed me to use here. What a Lady!
Cynthia on set with the guys.
The never aging Cynthia Rothrock, looking as good as ever.
Cynthia battles Don Wilson ,can't wait for this one folks!
Yes Madam 1985 - Cynthia stars alongside Michelle Yeoh in there debut,Awesome
Millionaires Express 1986 - Cynthia stars in Sammo Hungs Chinese Western.
No Retreat No Surrender 2 1987 - Cynthia plays Terry a fighter and Pilot in this classic.
Rage and Honour 1992 - One of Cynthia and Richard's most popular films
Sworn To Justice 1996 - Cynthia gains psychic Abilities after a tragic incident
Sci-Fighter 2004 - Cynthia appears as a white Goddess in this Don Wilson Action flick
Honor and Glory 1992 - Cynthia's a FBI agent looking for a warhead trigger
Angel of Fury 1992 - She is raped and her Husband Murdered ,and Cynthia's upset!
Undefeatable 1994 - Cynthia's a streetfighter ,that wants revenge for her sisters death
Outside The Law 2001 - Cynthia is a FBI agent on the run .
Redemption 2002 - Cynthia Gets blown Up in this Don 'The Dragon' Wilson Film