10 Unsung Movie Heroes Of The Video Rental Era

9. Cynthia Rothrock

The Punisher
Whe Europe Limited

Rothrock is a legitimate badass. She holds black belts in Karate and Tae-Kwon-Do, as well as being proficient in various styles of Kung Fu - so cool she is even said to be the inspiration for the Sonya Blade character in arcade beat ‘em up Mortal Kombat.

Initially, she made her name in Hong Kong cinema but would soon start making waves in the west, impressing audiences with her part as Terry, a helicopter flying kickboxing instructor in No Retreat, No Surrender 2: Raging Thunder. She had the title role in China O’Brien and China O’Brien 2, as a big city cop returning to her small hometown to beat up the residents. In the 1990s she was the undisputed queen of straight-to-video martial arts action movies. Some independent video shops even had whole shelves devoted to her, like she was a genre all her own.

Audiences loved watching her beat the life out of crooks and creeps. Despite varying degrees of goofiness, people loved these films, and the boxes for the tapes often displayed the “on loan” tag. Titles such as Karate Cop, Lady Dragon, Undefeatable and Guardian Angel earned her a devoted fanbase.

These days the martial arts sensation is very active on social media, showing her prowess even in her 60s. She still has plenty of movie work but never regained the glory of her video days. An example of this point would be her recent role as Momma Cat in the bizarre Cool Cat Kids Superhero.

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Cat Gentleman and bookworm. Huge fan of martial arts action movies, sci-fi and especially horror, from Bela Lugosi to the Walking Dead. Love heavy music, retro gaming and pro wrestling.