ByJerome Maida, writer at
Jerome Maida

There are many reasons why kickboxing legend Cheryl Wheeler-Duncan chose "The Martial Arts Kid" as her initial project to produce.

As she has stressed many times, she wanted to produce a martial arts film that wasn't just about fighting, but one that had a strong positive message.

But when it did come time to film the fight scenes, she wanted them to be as realistic and kick-ass as possible.

To that end, there was never a question of who she wanted as the female headliner in the film.

There was never any question she wanted Cynthia Rothrock, who she says has "obviously done really, really well" as an action/martial arts movie star."

"Cynthia spent years over in Hong Kong, doing nothing but that type of martial arts movie that would have KILLED a lesser person", says Wheeler-Duncan. "I mean, there is a LOT of stress, physical abuse that goes into those movies that she was doing over there."

"The Martial Arts Kid" tells the tale of a troubled teen named Robbie (played by Jansen Panettiere) who moves to Cocoa Beach, Florida from Detroit after his grandmother has had enough of his antics. He soon realizes that everywhere he goes there is somebody who doesn’t want him to be happy… and in Cocoa Beach, that somebody is Bo Whitelaw, the toughest and most popular guy at the high school.

From the moment Bo (played by Matthew Ziff) gives Robbie a beat-down in front of Rina, the prettiest girl in school (played by Kathryn Newton) we know Robbie’s chances of living in a happy neighborhood are just not realistic. To help Robbie stand a chance of survival in a dangerous teen world, his estranged Aunt Cindy (played by Rothrock) and Uncle Glen (played by Don "The Dragon" Wilson) coach and train Robbie to learn how to defend himself.

"The Martial Arts Kid" is set to hit theaters in 2015.


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