Video Review

China O'Brien (1991)

MPAA Rating: R
EW's GRADE
C+

Details Movie Rated: R; Genres: Action/Adventure, Mystery and Thriller; With: Cynthia Rothrock and Richard Norton

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+

Originally posted Aug 02, 1991 Published in issue #77 Aug 02, 1991 Order article reprints