25 October 2016 | BrickNash
Solid enough film with superb fight scenes
China O' Brien II picks up where the first film left off, and it's almost literally more of the same. This means TV movie quality plot interspersed with some great martial arts action.
As a film, it's certainly not the worst ever made. It's about as solidly entertaining as any episode of Columbo or Walker Texas Ranger, and really no worse than any other martial arts flick. As with the first one, where the film excels is the fight scenes, which are dynamic and very well choreographed, with some brilliant OTT sound effects.
The film's plot centres around some bog standard pap about an escaped convict terrorising the town, and in that it makes some mistakes. As with the first film, the main bad guy is an older dude with no fighting skills whatsoever, and so there is really no final threat or showdown. Just a big free for all brawl involving loads of people.
It would have been nice to have China go up against another female martial arts villain as the main baddie, but we are talking early 90s here.
Where the film excels other than the fights is its lead character. The appeal of China O'Brien is her wholesomeness, which juxtaposes her fighting skill very well. There's no need to rely on blatant sex appeal, nudity, or an "edgy" persona, and the film does a very good job of showing that you can be tough, but still be a nice person - an important and very good role model.
Also, watching China beat the s-h-i-t out of endless waves of plaid shirted goons is infinitely satisfying.
While it starts ok, the film has some issues in the second half. A lot of the action scenes feel very cobbled together, and while the choreography is still great, the fights end all too soon - most notably the Keith Cooke/Billy Blanks duel, and the fight with the clawed henchmen played my Toshiro Obata of Turtles fame (why wasn't he the main villain?). They feel like runtime extenders which were shot post production, and they're just not long enough.
Still, as thin as the plot is, it's executed well enough to keep the pace going, and fans won't be disappointed by the highly satisfying action one bit.
One for the collection!