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.
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.
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!