Culture

9 Underrated, Ass-Kicking Lucy Liu Performances

An unforgettable career in kicking ass and stealing scenes.

Lucy Liu is an icon. Often the strongest actor in any scene, she’s played a range of roles as expansive as her talent since being discovered when she was 19 on the subway by an agent. From the leather suit and riding crop-wielding Alex Munday in Charlie’s Angels to a robot version of herself in Futurama, ahead are some of her best — and most underrated — performances.

Charlie’s Angels (2000)

Arguably Liu’s most iconic role, she plays sharp detective Alex Munday in the original Charlie’s Angels reboot. Who can forget her pop culture-defining scene with the leather suit, red lip and riding crop? Or any of the Charlie’s Angels outfits for that matter?! (Starz, Amazon Prime)

COLUMBIA/KOBAL/SHUTTERSTOCK

Futurama, Season 3, Episode 15 (2001)

Liu plays herself in one of Futurama’s most iconic episodes, where Philip dates a robot version of Liu, whom he described as “perhaps the only good actress of the 20th century.” He’s not wrong. (Hulu)

Fox

Kill Bill: Volume One (2003)

No list of Liu’s performances would be complete without Kill Bill, where she plays the supervillain O’Ren Ishii and calmly slices off a dude’s head. (Hulu)

A Band Apart/Miramax/Kobal/Shutterstock

Sex and the City, Season 4, Episode 11 (2001)

Liu plays herself in this episode of Sex and the City, where she hires Samantha as her PR agent only to fire her after Samantha uses Liu’s name to buy a Birkin bag. Iconic on many levels! (HBO Max)

HBO

Chicago (2002)

In a scene-stealing cameo, Liu plays a wealthy socialite accused of murdering her husband after finding him in bed with two women. Liu tells the press to go to hell and kicks the camera out of a paparazzi’s hands as she’s dragged into jail. (Starz, Hulu)

Miramax Films

Ugly Betty (2007)

Liu guest stars as a very successful lawyer who won’t help Daniel Meade until he apologizes to every woman he hurt in college. She’s fabulous as she makes this guy squirm in his chair for standing her up at a college party in the ’90s. (Hulu)

ABC-TV/Kobal/Shutterstock

Kung Fu Panda (2008)

Liu lends her voice to a kung fu expert snake named Viper in this animated film about a panda who learns kung fu — voicing both the English and Mandarin dubs. (Tubi)

China Film Co/Dreamworks Animation/Kobal/Shutterstock

Set It Up (2018)

Lucy Liu and Taye Digs are two workaholic bosses who fall in love after their assistants set them up in this romantic comedy where Liu serves fantastic Miranda Priestly vibes. (Netflix)

Netflix

Why Women Kill (2019)

Liu plays a bougie socialite with a Mid-Atlantic accent who has an affair with a younger man after discovering her third husband is gay, in this very stylish dark comedy about betrayal. (Paramount+, Amazon Prime)

CBS

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