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Review Righting Wrongs a.k.a. Above the Law a.k.a. Zhi fa xian feng (1986): Yuen Biao goes Charles Bronson / A Hong Kong Classic!

genre: action, crime, martial arts








Now when I say classic that doesn't mean this is a perfect movie. Far from it. However it does have some qualities to it that will never get tiring or boring.



There are quite a few big names involved that make this film into more than your average action flick. Corey Yuen directed and acts in this film. His character Bad Egg provides most of the comic relief but also is essential to the main plot. Then there is Karen Sheperd as Karen (very imaginative no?) who is beautiful but very deadly. Cynthia Rothrock has a prominent role as Cindy. She is an inspector for the CID and is in charge of this high profile vigilante case. This vigilante is named Hsia Ling-Cheng played by Yuen Biao. He is a lawyer who has lost faith in the judicial system and is strongly guided by his own sense of justice where he takes the law in his own hands and kills the guilty. Funny note is the fact that the law book given to him as a gift saves his life twice. Apparently the law has more faith in him than vice versa. Even understanding where he is coming from you might be under the impression he has a few screws loose. Only that thought or feeling will go away once you encounter the main bad guy of the story. I won't spoil it for you but let's just say he truly belongs in the hall of fame of most despicable villains.



There are very little distractions in the main plot. Every plot development is in functional and in service of the action. Even the comic relief bits between Bad Egg and Bad Egg's father (played by Ma Wu) are vital to the main plot as it leads to an event that has it's impact on both Hsia and Cindy. It is clear that this film wants to convey to you that the bad guys get away with everything and that the innocent suffer greatly because of this. It is exactly this feeling that sides you with Yuen Biao's character since honestly you would be inhumane if you don't.



With both Yuen Biao and Corey Yuen also choreographing the action and stunts I should not even have to tell you that the action is more than excellent. There are some jaw dropping moments for sure. Not as much as I would have hoped but then again I simply can't get enough of this so naturally I want more. Yuen Biao does some stunts that show why he is considered the most skilled of the Peking Opera School brothers (Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan, Yuen Wah, Yuen Biao, Corey Yuen and many more). Another thing that stands out is how brutal and violent the action is. Even if everything is make believe the way the action sequences are set up you get a sense it wasn't entirely safe. Watch the interview with Cynthia Rothrock and her experience on making the film. (Doesn't she look great? She is 59. )




Another example of the brutal action is the hangar scene that you just have to see to believe. Although it does depend on which version of the film you are watching since there is one with an alternative ending. But it is exactly this relentlessness in these Hong Kong flicks what appealed to me. Stylish action combined with darkness. Instead of just darkness and grittiness. There is a difference you know. So yes if for some reason you have not watched this gem yet then I can recommend this to you wholeheartedly.  


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