KFMG Podcast S06 Episode 72: Cynthia Rothrock

Posted in Podcasts by - June 28, 2021
KFMG Podcast S06 Episode 72: Cynthia Rothrock

“We are put on this earth to follow a specific path that is designed for us. Some of us find it, and some of us don’t – and I definitely think I found the path of what I should be doing in this life.”

Cynthia Rothrock – the undisputed ‘Queen of martial arts movies’ – never anticipated a career as an action film star. The Scranton-raised martial artist initially headed west in search of furthering her kung fu knowledge, often competing in men’s divisions to become a national champion, and touring the world in the process. It was a portentous audition for the Hong Kong action director Corey Yuen which would bring her fame and fortune; an audition which would catch the attention of Sammo Hung, who cast Cynthia in her first breakout film, Police Assassins (1985), alongside another relative newcomer, Michelle Yeoh – and the rest, as they say, is history. Although, not quite, because Cynthia’s journey in the film business has been full of highs and lows; huge successes, and false starts. Her three years in Hong Kong would produce undoubtedly her best on-screen fight work – a westerner who became the headline act in a new sub-genre of high-energy, stunt-filled fight films predominantly led by women – before success in the English-language Hong Kong-produced China O’Brien films would see her travel back to the USA and into the highly lucrative world of straight-to-video actioners. She is, quite simply, a trailblazer – a performer who became a bankable star in both the east and the west at a time when the industry, and the martial arts genre in particular, was dominated by men. As a forerunner to Hollywood’s pursuit in achieving greater gender parity in the action film world, Cynthia’s legacy cannot be underestimated. Even now, aged 64, she shows no signs of slowing down, continuing to train, travel the world, appear in movies and teach martial arts. You can follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. For more information, visit her website, cynthiarothrock.com.

Cynthia Rothrock in the April 1993 issue of German magazine, Kicksider.

Sammo Hung fights Cynthia Rothrock in Millionaires Express (1986).

Cynthia Rothrock in Righting Wrongs (1986)

Cynthia Rothrock and Richard Norton, the so-called ‘Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers of martial arts movies’.

To this day, Cynthia Rothrock remains dedicated to the martial arts.

Cynthia Rothrock at the San Diego Comic Con in 2019.

This post was written by
Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a keyboard in London, UK.

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