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If you’ve already watched WONDER WOMAN and already re-binged the WONDER WOMAN 70’s TV show with Lynda Carter like a sensible person would, and are still pining for more heroic women action, I have a few films to recommend from the very vast world of Asian cinema.

SISTER STREET FIGHTER (1974)

Sometimes namechecked in Quentin Tarantino films, SISTER STREET FIGHTER is a classic Japanese action flick starring Etsuko Shiomi as a madly skilled martial artist/secret agent. Martial arts films were the superhero craze of their era, fascinating audiences with acrobatic heroes trouncing hordes of goons in (largely) unarmed combat. SISTER STREET FIGHTER displays some of the cheeze-iness and cheap titillation of its era, but its sharp fight sequences make it essential viewing for fans of the Warrior Woman genre.

THE HEROIC TRIO (1993)

THE HEROIC TRIO stars Anita Mui as a character actually named “Wonder Woman” (or a Chinese transliteration thereof) and is simply the greatest female super-team film I know of. Certainly it’s the most campy and fantastical of this batch, but the triad of Chinese superstars (Mui, Michelle Yeoh, and Maggie Cheung) are constantly erupting with cool.

AKIRA (2016)

A much more recent movie that has nothing to do with the Japanese AKIRA, this Indian film stars Sonakshi Sinha as the titular hero. After witnessing a horrifying acid attack on a young woman, Akira trains in martial arts so that she can gain vengeance on the thugs responsible. It’s at times unsettling but also a powerful piece, and I am fully confident it will remain the superior live-action AKIRA even if they get around to messing up Otomo’s AKIRA.

SUPERCOP (1992)

A.K.A. POLICE STORY 3, this Jackie Chan vehicle offers one of the finest cinematic action duos of all time: Chan and Michelle Yeoh teaming up to kick all sorts of behinds. Admittedly, the fully exhaustive version of this list would feature basically every film that has Michelle Yeoh in it.

And there are so many more films in which Asian women rise to the occasion of combat using physical prowess rather than guns (okay, there are a bunch of guns in THE HEROIC TRIO, but they’re not the main focus of the action). These are just a few that came to my mind in the wake of WONDER WOMAN. Feel free to suggest more titles in the comments!

6 Comments

  1. I do Have some suggestions

    Supercop 2 Aka Project S
    In the line of duty series
    Raging Phoenix, Chocolate, This Girl is Badass( all those films star Jeeja Yanin)
    any Wuxia flick that stars Brigitte Lin

  2. Bride With White Hair. I know that most people dislike the sequel, but I like it almost as much as the first.

    Part 2 has a Badass army of women taking revenge on the men of the world for the many injustices visited on their gender, so in that one way it’s the more feminist movie.

  3. How about So Close with Shu Qi, Karen Mok and Zhao Wei. They skirt the line between good and bad, ok, mostly bad but its has a great cast and interesting story.

  4. Virtually every Hong Kong action movie has badass female fighters.

  5. Wing Chun
    Butterfly and Sword
    My Young Auntie
    Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain
    Peking Opera Blues
    Female Prisoner 701 series with Meiko Kaji
    Darna movies with Vilma Santos
    So Close with Karen Mok
    Black Cat I and II with Jade Leung
    She Shoots Straight with Joyce Godenzi
    Various Angela Mao films
    Various Moon Lee films
    Various Yukari Oshima films

  6. Wing Chun was FUCKING amazing!!! Badass female empowerment right there. Fights are hella amazing. And guess what? It all ends in a happy ending, even for some of the bad guys too! Great film. Go watch!