The 10 Best Lucy Liu Roles
As an actress, Lucy Liu has played some of the most iconic characters on film and television. From her breakout role as the acerbically funny lawyer Ling Woo in Ally McBeal to no-nonsense Yakuza leader O-Ren Ishii in the cult classic Kill Bill series, and most recently as Dr. Joan Watson the hit crime drama Elementary. Liu has not only grown as an actress on-screen she has developed a career as a voice actor in animated films such as the extremely successful Kung Fu Panda franchise, and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya developed by Studio Ghibli. Over the last few years, she has branched out and utilized her talents behind the camera, to directing episodes of Elementary and the first episode of season two of Marvel’s Luke Cage, which showed on Netflix, hopefully, a feature film isn’t too far away.
Elementary is a modern-day take on the famous Sherlock Holmes series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Set in New York, Holmes, a recovering heroin addict is played by the suitably dry-witted Johnny Lee Miller, and Liu as his trusted partner Dr. Joan Watson, they work as consultants for the New York Police Department while evading Holmes’s long many nemeses like Moriarty. Liu and Miller have a wonderful dynamic as partners and with the extended cast that grounds the show.
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Natalie (Cameron Diaz), Dylan (Drew Barrymore) and Alex (Lucy Liu) are private detectives known as the “Angels” hired to find missing tech inventor and entrepreneur Eric Knox (Sam Rockwell) and retrieve his stolen voice-recognition software. For some, it would be easy to dismiss Charlie’s Angels as a simple comedy, but Liu along with her co-stars not only have great comedic timing, chemistry, and fun action sequences elevate the film making it one of the most popular and successful films with female leads. They show that women can be funny, serious and more than capable of kicking butt while looking fabulous.
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Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)
After waking up from a four-year coma, a former assassin known only as “The Bride” (Uma Thurman) goes on the warpath as she seeks revenge against the ones who betrayed and almost killed her. Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill Vol. 1 is one of the most famous martial arts films in the last twenty years. As Liu’s portrayal of the O-Ren Ishii, a Yakuza crime boss, made her one of the most memorable and quotable characters in the series.
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Set It Up
when two assistants Harper (Zoey Deutch), and Charlie (Glenn Powell) decide that they’ve had enough of the frustration provided by their bosses, they hatch a plan to set them up, and thus begins a delightful rom-com about one couple finding their way to romance as another realize what could be. As ESPN sorts-reporter Kirsten, Liu makes audiences relate and empathize with Kirsten as a woman who has to be tough in a world where women in high-powered positions are always made to prove their worth. Hopefully, we get to see Liu in more roles like this, maybe even a Set It Up sequel.
Kung Fu Panda
With its beautiful watercolor inspired animation, cinematography, entertaining characters and fast-paced martial arts action sequences DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda, is a fun watch for the whole family. In an ensemble voice cast that includes Jackie Chan, and Angelina Jolie, Liu is great as Master Viper, and upbeat green tree viper, and martial arts expert.
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The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
When woodcutter Sanuki no Miyatsuko happens upon a tiny girl sleeping in a bamboo shoot, he takes her home to his wife. The couple names her “Princess” and raise her as their own, believing her to be divine, Miyatsuko does his best to make her into Princess Kaguya. But through unfortunate circumstances, Kaguya learns she has to face the consequences for a crime she committed. co-written and directed by Isao Takahata, the film is based on the Japanese folklore of The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, and like every Studio Ghibli film, Princess Kaguya, is a beautiful film both visually and narratively, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Originally released in Japan, the English dub features a stellar voice cast with Liu voicing Lady Sagami.
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After accepting a position at a prestigious law firm, Ally McBeal (Callista Flockhart) discovers that she’ll be working alongside her first love and his wife. Throughout the run of the series, Ally faces the many challenges that women face while balancing work and their personal lives. Along the way she meets some of the most interesting characters in television, including fan favorite Ling Woo, known for her serious and blunt personality, because of the role Liu became one of the most recognizable actresses in Hollywood.
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Kung Fu Panda 3
After years of training, Po is deemed worthy of replacing Master Shifu as a teacher, but he soon learns that he himself has much to learn when he and the Furious Five encounter a new foe. Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni, this third film in the popular franchise captures the heart of the first with beautiful animation and a story that audiences connect with.
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Lucky Number Slevin
Plot twists, sharp dialogue are the hallmarks of the film, Written by Jason Smilovic (War Dogs) Liu plays Lindsey, a woman who gets caught up in a dangerous game of cat an mouse when she meets Slevin (Josh Hartnett), a man who is begin hunted by a notorious assassin and the mob bosses who hired him.
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Based on the stage production of the same name, Chicago is the multi-award Oscar-winning musical about women from director and choreography Rob Marshall. From beginning to end the film is a visual skeptical with flashy early 1920’s costumes, set pieces and memorable performances from the ensemble cast led by Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Though her role as heiress Kitty Baxter was small, Liu made every second she was on screen count, making sure audiences remembered her.
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