Queen Boxer/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Queen Boxer

Ma Su (Ling Chia; promoted for this film as “Judy Lee,” Bruce Lee’s daughter—she isn’t!) wanders into a small village in Shanghai without much notice. Diminutive and pretty, she looks like an easy mark for five thugs who attempt to assault her in an alley. In no time at all Ma Su, a Kung Fu kickboxer, proves them all wrong: men go flying through the air, teeth are knocked out, and the moaning of the injured is deafening!

But Ma Su isn't the only person in town who can take care of themselves. There’s a charismatic reformer named Ma Yung (David Wei Tang), a confident young man bent on changing the corrupt underworld run system in which laborers are forced to pay their bosses a percentage of their daily earnings. With great flourish and a bevy of high kicks, back flips, and gut punches, (he has more screen time than Ma Su), Ma Yung reminds us that things aren’t always what they seem—and that organized good can triumph over evil.


Director Feng-Chi Yu (a rare female director in the Martial Arts genre) presents audiences with several elaborately choreographed, set-smashing, multi-cast fight scenes. The novelty, of course, is lovely Ma Su, who proves to be as ruthless, unrelenting and gory/violent than any man in the film—check what’s in her hand on the poster art.

Can Ma Su infiltrate the world of organized crime and avenge her brother’s murder? Can Ma Yung get everyday laborers to join him in a revolt? Is there a connection between Ma Su and Ma Yung?

Noteworthy for its shameless, unapologetic, and unauthorized use of Isaac Hayes’ Oscar/Grammy-winning “Theme From Shaft” throughout the film-as well as music from the James Bond series of films, Queen Boxer (AKA The Avenger) is one of the very first “female hero” karate-centric pictures, beating both Coffy and Cleopatra Jones to market by a full year. It’s a lively, feminist revenge tale told without sexual situations or any female nudity. (Mandarin with subtitles and/or overdubbing.)


Josiah Howard is the author of four books including Blaxploitation Cinema: The Essential Reference Guide (now in a fourth printing). His writing credits include articles for the American Library of Congress, The New York Times and Readers Digest. A veteran of more than one hundred radio broadcasts, Howard also lectures on cinema and is a frequent guest on entertainment news television. Visit his Official Website.

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