Definitions

China_O'Brien

China O'Brien

China O'Brien was the first in a series of low-budget atypical 1980s martial arts films ("China O'Brien 2," etc...) starring actress and martial artist Cynthia Rothrock.

Plot summaries

Faced with heat from her superiors after shooting and killing a gang member, police officer China O'Brien (Cynthia Rothrock) resigns from the force, and then she returns to her hometown of Beaver Creek, Utah, where her father, John O'Brien (David Blackwell), is the sheriff.

China discovers that John is gradually losing control of the town to local crime boss Edwin Sommers (Steven Kerby), who controls corrupt deputy Marty Lickner (Patrick Adamson) and corrupt local judge Harry Godar (Will Hazlett).

When John and honest deputy Ross Tyler (Chad Walker) are killed by car bombs that were planted by Sommers's henchmen, there is an emergency election to elect a new sheriff.

China runs for sheriff against Lickner to see who take John's place while, at the same time, she starts cleaning up the town with the help of her former high school sweetheart Matt Conroy (Richard Norton).

They get extra help from a Native American biker named Dakota (Keith Cooke), whose mother (Judy Kotok) was murdered by Sommers.

China wins the election, and then her mother Maria O'Brien (Gae Cowley) is murdered by Sommers's men in a drive-by shooting during the victory celebration.

Having won the election, China ends up having to force Godar to swear her in as the new sheriff. China deputizes Matt and Dakota, and they set out to free Beaver Creek from Sommers's stranglehold.

The China O'Brien films have a limited cult film status but have gained notoriety in the late 1990s because a then-unheard of singer/songwriter Tori Amos (then going by her birth name Ellen Amos) recorded a song, "Distant Storm," which can only be heard by viewing the original film. Amos is billed in the credits as "Ellen" but the song is attributed to a band called "Tess Makes Good," with "additional vocals by Ellen Amos."

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