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Women in Martial Arts
by Olivia Chang
"Silly me," I thought as I snapped out or my daydream. How could I possibly have imagined that I could fight side-by-side with Jean-Claude Van Damme to ward off evil villains. Maybe it was the movie Lethal Weapon 3 that shed a glimmer of hope. Rene Russo played a feisty Internal Affairs officer with impressive martial arts skills who held her own as she and Mel Gibson fought off "cop-killers" - hardly your usual femme fatale role. She repeated her role as Sergeant Lorna Cole in Lethal Weapon 4.
As a martial arts movie buff, it was refreshing to see a female action hero. In years past, martial artists Van Damme, Chuck Norris, and Bruce Lee were afforded the opportunity to bring their skills to their larger-than-life characters on screen. This was not so for their female counterparts. Russo's role seemed to be the exception. For decades, female action heroes were few and far in between.
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