Bullet Points: China O’Brien 2
There is no denying the fact that Cynthia Rothrock broke down barriers and laid the groundwork for women to be viewed as more than damsels in distress or pretty sidekicks in action movies, more specifically the martial arts sub-genre of action entertainment.
After making her mark in the world of Hong Kong cinema, Rothrock returned to the United States to get her piece of the direct to video pie in movies like Martial Law, China O’Brien, Martial Law II: Undercover and the subject of this edition of Bullet Points, China O’Brien 2…
- We’re Putting the Band Back Together: Since the sequel went into production directly following the original, all the main players from China O’Brien were on board for China O’Brien 2. Cynthia Rothrock returned as China O’Brien, the sheriff of Beaver Creek, Utah. Richard Norton reprised his role as Matt Conroy, an old high school flame of China’s, who helps her police the small town. Keith Cooke, who stole the show in the original, was back as Dakota. And once again at the helm was director Robert Clouse of Enter the Dragon fame and Ironheart infamy.
- There Goes the Neighborhood: When drug kingpin Charlie Baskin escapes prison his first order of business is to seek vengeance on those who put him behind bars. Baskin has the prosecutor who convicted him gunned down. The judge who sentenced him is killed while he was out with his wife enjoying a magic show per Baskin’s orders. Charlie Baskin’s second order of business, get back the $5 millions a fellow associate of his embezzled from him. The embezzler is a man by the name of Frank Atkins (played by Frank Magner, who portrayed a completely different character in the first China O’Brien movie). Atkins now lives in of all places Beaver Creek, Utah where he married a local woman named Annie and is the step father to Annie’s daughter Jill.
- My Little China Girl: When Baskin and his bunch of crooks come in to town looking for Frank and the missing money, they don’t find either. But they improvise and kidnap Annie, Jill and Dakota (Jill’s boyfriend) and take them to an old rock crushing plant on the outskirts of town. It is a classic criminal plan, take some hostages as bargaining chips in order to get your demands met. But one X factor that Baskin didn’t think about when he utilized this plan to get his $5 million back is that Beaver Creek’s sheriff is China Freaking O’Brien! She’s the reason Beaver Creek has the lowest crime rates in all of Utah!
- Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting: This will probably come as no surprise to anyone familiar with martial arts based action films, but the best parts of China O’Brien 2 are the fight scenes. When you have accomplished martial artists like Keith Cooke, Richard Norton and Cynthia Rothrock, who has earned Black Belts in 7 martial arts disciplines, and you put them in unique scenarios and give them interesting foes, you have found a recipe for success. In China O’Brien 2, you get to see Keith Cooke square off against Billy Blanks, you get to see Richard Norton take on an Indiana Jones wannabe with a bullwhip AND you get to see China take on an Asian Freddy Krueger!
Some might say that China O’Brien 2 was an unnecessary sequel and that it simply rehashed everything from the original and didn’t take things in a new direction. I say if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! I personally enjoyed both China O’Brien films (although I would give a slight edge to the original if I had to choose which was better). And I would have been on board if there was a China O’Brien 3 or even a China O’Brien: The Series. The character and the premise of China being a small town sheriff would have made for a perfect television series for Rothrock in the 1990’s not unlike Lorenzo Lamas in Renegade or Chuck Norris in Walker, Texas Ranger.
I couldn’t be the only one who wanted more China O’Brien, could I? I have some more China O’Brien 2 for all of you in the form of some bonus Bullet Points…
- Introducing Chester: One of the new characters that was introduced in China O’Brien 2 was Chester. He is a country boy, who is known for getting rowdy at the local watering hole. Where Chester comes from there are only two types of country boys… Good Ol’ Biggens or Big Ol’ Goodens.
- If You Ever: …wanted to see Keith Cooke beat up a guy while he had both arms tied behind his back, then this is the movie for you.
- Give a Hoot: Early on in the movie (before he was taken hostage) Dakota comes to the aid of a woman being harassed in the park. His response when the woman thanks him, “Just keepin’ the park clean.” Woodsy Owl would be proud.
- Denim Warrior: Who wears an all denim ensemble to a funeral? Richard Norton that’s who!