Bruce Forer
August 02, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

China O'Brien

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
performer
Cynthia Rothrock, Richard Norton, Doug Wright
director
Robert Clouse
genre
ActionAdventure, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a C+

Not exactly born in high-concept heaven, this kung fu Billy Jack follows the formula for most of the big-screen martial arts flicks, but with one important distinction: in China O’Brien the hero is a heroine. Pretty and pert, Cynthia Rothrock looks and acts like the perfect suburban blond housewife — not the most threatening of species. But as one of her macho victims laments, ”She fights as good as she looks.” When this ex-cop retreats to her Western hometown for some R&R, she finds it overrun by a band of overweight rednecks who quickly become ducks in a shooting gallery for her lethal feet and hands. But the violence is so antiseptic and the situations so ridiculous that the most threatening danger in China O’Brien is how close the film comes to pure camp. C+

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