Talks & Interviews — February 12, 2018 at 10:28 am

“Queen of martial arts films” talks about her career, new documentary

Photo credit: Doc Ajay Johnson

By Tim Tal

To fans of action and martial arts cinema, Cynthia Rothrock needs no introduction.

Named the “Queen of Martial Arts films”, Rothrock kickstarted her film career in Hong Kong film productions, Rothrock soon moved on to US action films, going toe to toe with such screen legends as Sammo Hong, Yuen Biao, Richard Norton, Bolo Yeung, Don Dragon Wilson, Loren Avedon and others.

A martial arts legend, with some 60 film appearances under her belt, Rothrock today continues to star in films, as well as teaching martial arts. And she is still able to do her trademark “scorpion kick”.

I first interviewed C.Rothrock back in 2009, at a time when her film career took a pause, however today, she’s going strong, as well as preparing her own special project. More on that below.


Today, the film industry is overtaken by new breed of action stars. In your opinion, who today could be considered the leading female action/martial arts star?

I don’t know if there is a leading action star….there are actresses that really don’t know martial arts and there are martial artists not in big action pictures. I do think now there are a lot more movies using women in fighting roles, which is great.

Looking back at your early career in Hong-Kong martial arts films, what was the one most important thing you can recall learning from that experience?

The most important thing is that I became tough. Even thought I got hurt quite a bit, and some of the stunts seemed like they could kill me, I did everything I was told.

Let’s talk about “The Martial Arts Kid”. The film was very well received, despite that some said it was just a different version of the “Karate Kid”. Where do you think “The Martial Arts Kid” surpassed “The Karate Kid”?

The Martial Arts Kid was a small independent picture, unlike the big studio budgets on the Karate Kid. Even though our movie was small we hung in with the big guys competing for the Dove awards, for best action family picture. Our movie was real. Our karate kid was a real kid, getting to a green belt and learning how to defend himself for real.

He was not able to take on the champion competitor in the world, just know enough to defend yourself. Our film deals with Bullying. We don’t accept it nor tolerate it and nor should any child today. Our film also had real martial arts masters teaching real techniques, not wash on wash off.

The sequel for “The Martial Arts Kid” is already in plans, with you returning to reprise your character. What can the fans expect from the sequel?

The sequel will be better than the first. It will still have good morals and good messages but the fights will be more gritty and tougher as Glen and Aunt Cindy face off the bad guys.

How much are you involved in martial arts at this point in your life?

Martial arts are my life everyday and always will be. I train, teach, do movies and in the process of shooting my first project, a documentary on my life.

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