Baddies That Need Movie Love: Lady Deathstrike
It's time to highlight another femme fatale of the comic book world, and I'm going with a villain who could actually make another on-screen appearance quite soon. One of Wolverine's most dilligent and disturbed foes, Deathstrike has also proven difficult for other X-Men and Marvel characters.
Yup, it's me, back again with part eleven of my on-going series, Baddies That Need Movie Love; a series of articles where I examine characters in the comic book world that have yet to grace the silver screen. However, there are some characters who deserve a second chance, much like my article on Kingpin a while back. This time, while doing research on which character I wanted to highlight, I was hoping to show off another female. I've previously done an article on Harley Quinn and I felt it was time to go after another femme fatale: Lady Death Strike.
Yuriko Oyama is the daughter of Lord Dark Wind (Kenji Oyama), the man who created the process of bonding adamantuim to the skeleton, which was later forced upon Wolverine. Dark Wind, was a former Kamikazi pilot during WWII, and his face was badly scarred in a failed attack on an American battleship. As part of his retribution for this failure, Kenji scarred the faces of his children, including Yuriko. Her two brothers would later die in service for their father. Later on in life, Yuriko teamed with Daredevil to free her then lover, Kiro, from the servitude of her father and to slay her father in return for his treatment of her. Just when Kenji was about to kill Daredevil, Yuriko killed her father. Kiro, in order to honor his master, chose suicide.
Saddened and anger over her father's demise, Yuriko embraced his ideals and donned a Samurai's uniform and sought vengeance on all who dishonored him and their country of Japan. In an attempt to re-discover her father's work with adamantium, she found her way to Wolverine, whom she desired to capture for study, as well as kill him for what she considered to be the theft of her father's ideas. After being defeated, she found her way to Mojoverse in search of Spiral, who through cybernetic enhancments, converted Yuriko into a cyborg, including adamantium bones and talons.
In a battle with Wolverine, shortly after Magneto was successful in removing the adamantium from his skeleton, Wolverine reveals his now boned claws to Deathstrike, who is shocked by this revelation. She peacefully walked from this battle, seeing no further reason to gain vengeance for Logan "stealing" her father's work.
Lady Deathstrike has, at times, actually worked with Logan and the X-Men to achieve a common end, such as the take-down of Stryfe. But she is still an assassin at heart and despite being emotionally disturbed, she adheres to a strict honor code, as seen with the above-mentioned battle with Wolverine. She has battled many other Marvel characters, including Captain America, as well as mutilating and nearly killing Sunfire, but she continues to work as an assassin for whomever is in need.
Now, as we all know, Lady Deathstrike appeared in Bryan Singer's X2: X-Men United, played by Kelly Hu. While I didn't hate the portrayal, I didn't love it. The character was simply a mind-controlled mutant with no backstory....at all. A character like this deserves some acknowledgemnt and some history. She was portrayed as "cyborg-like" in her mannerisms, but not a cyborg proper like she should be. Not that I want to see a robot take on the X-Men, but some acknowledgment to her origins would be nice. The action scenes she was part of were decent and fun to watch, specifically her battle with Wolverine, but they failed to capture the "disturbed" side of the character; the drive she has for retribution.
With The Wolverine headed to Japan in the coming months to bring us the ever-popular "Japan Saga," written by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, this may be the opportunity to bring Lady Deathstrike some retribution of a different kind. Obviously, the Silver Samurai will be the main baddy of the film, but what if Yuriko shows up to complicate things? Maybe as an angry jealous lover? Who knows?! There have been some rumors tossed around that Kelly Hu would be returning to play the character once again, but nothing has ever come of those rumors, save for the always un-reliable IMDB.
As I mentioned earlier, I didn't hate Kelly Hu's version of the character, my biggest gripe was how she was written, so I wouldn't mind seeing her come back in to take on the character once again. But, if I were to select a new actress for the role, my mind went instantly to Ziyi Zhang. She may be a bit younger, but her skills far surpass her age. She first made her presence known in the award-winning Ang Lee film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and has since gone on to show off not only her acting skills, but her martial arts skills as well in films like Hero, House of Flying Daggers and the critically acclaimed Memoirs of a Geisha.
Regardless of who portrays this deadly assassin on screen again, I hope that next time she appears, she will be given the proper treatment this bad-ass villain deserves. She is a character of skill and power and needs to be handled properly. With both an X-Men and Wolverine movie franchise currently underway, I'm sure it is just a matter of time before this Baddie strikes again.
Be sure to check out the past installments of "Baddies that Need Movie Love:"
Black Tom Cassidy
Ventriliquist & Scarface
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