Lady Reporter a.k.a. Blonde Fury


In 1985 Sammo brought martial artist Cynthia Rothrock over to Hong Kong to co-star in the classic film Yes Madam. Cynthia stayed on for a few years and continued making films in HK before she shifted her main efforts to US productions. During these years a number of gwielo stars were utilized in Hong Kong action films – but almost always as a villain. For the most part actors such as Sophia Crawford, Jeff Falcon, Mark Houghton, Kim Maree Penn, Richard Norton and Karen Shepard were simply cannon fodder for the Chinese hero to beat up and usually kill.
Cynthia Rothrock
Cynthia was the real exception to this. She had films that were produced specifically with her in mind and she was usually the hero – beating up Chinese villains. Why this was the case I am not entirely sure – perhaps the popularity of Yes Madam or the sponsorship of Sammo or simply her astonishing physical skills that allowed this to occur. This film was produced by Sammo’s film company Bo Ho Films and directed by his friend Mang Hoi. The film actually was first started in 1987, interrupted and then finished much later and one can see Cynthia’s hair change shades from bright blonde to dirty blonde over the course of the film. Probably not to get confused, many of the actors used their own names for their characters – so you get Billy Chow as Billy Chow, Melvin Wong as Melvin Wong and Cindy as Cynthia Rothrock!
Tai Bo, Mang Hoi, Elizabeth Lee and Cynthia
Perhaps because of this broken production schedule, the story is not particularly well focused with the plot going off in all sorts of directions and more characters than you can keep track of. It has all the earmarks of a playful “B” movie – with everyone scampering like a crazy hamster on a treadmill in their attempts to entertain the audience. They throw in loads of action and mix in some limp humor and present it like a proud father to the public. Even though it is inarguably a cross-eyed baby – you can’t help but find it charmingly cheesy. This was a film built for fun – a midnight movie for the crowd to hoot and holler and throw popcorn at the screen.
Chin Siu Ho and Roy Chiao
Sammo and Mang fill the movie with loads of well known character actors – many of them from Sammo’s stunt team – and gives them all a few minutes of choice screen time. The spotlight though is clearly on Cynthia  - and Mang (who also did the choreography) designs a couple splendid action scenarios to really showcase Cynthia’s incredible agility.
The film begins with some gritty grimy shots of New York City (why? I don’t know – but then why not) – but the action immediately switches to Hong Kong. There is a counterfeit ring in HK that is making US dollars and FBI agent Cynthia is sent in to investigate. They suspect that the counterfeiting is occurring in a newspaper plant and so Cynthia gets a job as a reporter (she of course speaks perfect Cantonese!). On the first assignment she covers a fire (and rescues a child) – and bumps into rival newsmen – Mang Hoi and Tai Bo.
Ronnie Yu and Billy Chow
She is staying with an old friend – Elizabeth Lee – and it turns out her father (Roy Chiao) is a prosecutor looking for evidence to put the head of the counterfeiters away (director Ronnie Yu playing this role). Chiao is kidnapped though – and injected with a chemical that makes him lose his mind. At the same time a minion (Chung Fat) is sent to steal an incriminating file from Elizabeth’s house and gets waylaid by a large rat in a hilarious scene. Cynthia teams up with Mang Hoi and Chin Siu Ho to go after the bad guys. A few of these would be Billy Chow, Jeff Falcon and Vincent Lyn. Also showing up are Melvin Wong as a police superintendent, James Tien as Chiao’s assistant, Yip Wing-cho as the judge, Peter Ngor as the mental patient and Wu Ma as Mang’s father.
As you might expect there is a lot of action in the film – in particular during the second half – and there are three scenes involving Cynthia that were really well done and a lot of fun. One takes place on some high bamboo scaffolding in which she fights against a bunch of guys and performs some amazing acrobatics as she flips from level to level and levels her opponents. Another is just a mano y mano fight against first Billy Chow and then against a very large fellow whose name I don’t know. To top it all off – in another fight Cynthia has to scramble to the top of a high pyramid spider like net – and then take on all comers like a game of King of the Mountain. Even with the use of some wires and undercranking – what Cynthia does is still incredibly impressive.
Elizabeth, Chung Fat and the rat
Cynthia comes off as schlockingly appealing in this film – never quite at ease with the goofy bits and always looking uncomfortable when she has to make silly faces – but incredibly comfortable when she goes into action. Perhaps it was just in my evil head – but there seemed to be a real sexual undercurrent between Cynthia and Elizabeth – and I kept fully expecting them in go into a heated clinch. At one point Elizabeth – who looks as plush as a velvet cushion in this film – describes Cynthia as “half woman half man” and I could not help but wonder what part she seemed so attracted to!
Go Girls!

My rating for this film: 6.0