When Thelma and Louise indulged in a little gunplay, audiences were either outraged or delighted – as if nothing like this had ever previously been seen on the movie screen.
This is perhaps true of mainstream cinema, but there are a number of women on the martial arts shelves of the video shop who do some really eye-popping things in the name of sisterly revenge.
Angel of Fury proves that Cynthia Rothrock (Rage and Honor, 1992) is the absolute video Queen of Righteous Mean. Rothrock is phenomenal. With her lightning moves, her parade of disguises and chic outfits, and her convincing portrayal of dramatic emotions – particularly down the hatred and rage end of the acting scale – Rothrock puts most other B movie action stars to shame.
This is a revenge tale that dispenses with conventional moral values. Having suffered rape and the murder of her husband, Rothrock becomes a sadistic vigilante hunting down a perverse bunch of criminals led by Billy Drago.
Contrary to the unthinking racism of many current action movies, here Rothrock eventually becomes a Robin Hood figure fighting for the poor and downtrodden of Jakarta.
By any conventional standards, Angel of Fury is a rough hewn, at times amateurish film. But, as directed and photographed by David Worth, it has a headlong energy and oddball charm worthy of the B movies of Samuel Fuller.
The astonishingly violent finale earns the film its severe censorship rating – even after the obvious cuts that have already subtracted the goriest moments from Rothrock's magnificent payback.
MORE ladies of action: C.I.A. II – Target: Alexa
© Adrian Martin September 1993