Spectacular Fight Scenes Make this Flick Excel at the Genre
K.H. | 05/31/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie, directed by Corey Yuen, the master of developing "fun" fight scenes. The movie stars a younger Yuen Biao, Cynthia Rothrock, Karen Sheppard, Pete Cunningham just to name a few. The plot, predictable, the dialogue whether in English or Cantonese, is often obvious and not very clever; but, this movie, judged on its own terms excel where many of this genre fails. There is a plot and the fighting is always in relation to it.
And, it is here, in the fight scenes that one can indulge in martial mayhem! This is a young Rothrock and she is at some of her best (actually, her Hong Kong films far surpass any of her American work). The fight scene with Karen Sheppard is just fantastic! There is so litle work of Sheppard on film, that this makes the movie even more of a treat. Of course, Biao is great and one will enjoy his fight scene against Pete Cunningham.
These fights are great and fun and Rothrock and Biao fans will you it. "
Good movie, great special features
morgoth | omaha, NE | 06/05/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Yuen Biao stars as a vigilante defense attorney. When all of his witnesses are killed, he looks to take matters into his own hands. Cynthia Rothrock stars a mahjong playing, kung fu fighting policewoman, and Melvin Wong stars as the dirty police chief. The story has many illogical things happening, but if you have seen a lot of Hong Kong films, you know they do whatever they have to do to move onto the next fight scene. Fan Siu Wong has a great role as a young punk. He doesn't get to do any action, but it is pretty hard to believe that this is the same kid who only 5 years later would attain a physique that even Bruce Lee would have marveled at. So to sum the movie up briefly, Biao and Rothrock finally figure out Melvin Wong is the bad guy, and it all leads to a spectacular finish.
The story is not bad, but the action is definitely the best thing about this movie. Yuen Biao gives one of his very best physical performances, and Rothrock has a few nice fights including one of the better woman on woman fights of all time against Karen Sheperd. I always love to see the chain rope in action, and Karen Sheperd seems to be very skilled using it. Peter "Sugarfoot" Cunningham plays an assassin and has my favorite fight of the movie against Biao. They don't pull any punches and it is very intense. The final fight is good, but then there is a thrilling chase sequence that I was not expecting at all. Don't give up on this movie half way through if you don't like it, the last 30 minutes are worth a watch for any fan of action cinema.
Picture and sound quality are VERY good, and big thanks to Dragon Dynasty for including the original Cantonese mono track.
Special features are as good as it gets. The alternate ending is interesting, the commentary from Bey Logan is filled with good information, and the interviews are worth the price of the DVD alone. 18 minutes with Peter Cunningham, 17 with Yuen Biao, and 13 with Rothrock. All the interviews are so good, I can't name a favorite. There is no way I could go over all the great things that are brought up, but here is a small taste of Rothrock's interview- "Yuen Kwai (the director) was a lot tougher on me than Sammo Hung. I would tell him I don't think I can do this and he would say yes you can, practice here for 2 hours.""
Better than the other action movie that it shares its name w
D. Wilson | NY by way of Cali | 09/07/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I absolutely love Yuen Biao, in fact; I think he may be the most underappreciated GREAT martial artist ever. So it pains me to say that this movie is altogether mediocre at the very best. None of the acting is good enough to make any of the characters compelling and the dialogue is jilted and forced(even for this type of film) when not busy being downright painful. As another reviewer mentioned, the stunt work and fight scenes seem overly edited and even sloppy at times. The music... oh boy, this may be as bad as I've ever heard(stock tunes or even nails on a chockboard would've been preferred) and is literally bad enough to dock the movie a star all on its own. All that being said, you do get some good and even great action. The first fight between Yuen and Cynthia Rothrock is fast and tight and they compliment each others styles well. The next solo fight Yuen takes on former kickboxing champ Peter Cunningham in a brutal give-and-take fight with plenty of big shots and broken glass. My favorite Yuen part was the entire parking garage scene that begins with him being ran down by cars before breaking into a brawl against a bunch of goons. Shocking to me though, was that arguably the best fight of the movie is a ladies only scrum between Rothrock and Sheperd! I would agree with fellow reviewer Morgoth when he states that it's "one of the better woman on woman fights of all time." If you are a fan of Yuen or just martial arts action movies in general you could certainly do worse, but this is far from the best the genre has to offer. For all those looking for a review for the Steven Seagel film of the same name... sorry to waste your time (and sorry you're looking for that!)."
Fun movie but I must admit I'm disappointed
Jeremy Peterson | Naperville, IL USA | 06/06/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I just got that new Dragon Dynasty version of the film, though I'd never seen it before last night. Haven't watched any of the extras yet, though from what I've read elsewhere this is the "downbeat" Cantonese cut of the film. I must admit I'm disappointed in the film, though can still justify a decent score. I really liked Yuen Biao as well as the lead villain. I just realized that Bad Egg was played by the director, haha. The film had some big laughs, perhaps occasionally unintentional, but also some great action.
There were a lot of problems with the editing and stunt-work though. I know they make these movies fast and for not much money, but this one seemed cut together more carelessly than most. Also, despite how talented all the stunt people and the leads are in the film's action scenes, there were way too many moments where I saw wires or could clearly see the faces of stunt-doubles. Especially for Rothrock. Sometimes they'd put makeup on the guy. And one of the doubles for her looked like Biao himself. I know you can never be perfect with such things, but it was just much more obvious than in many other films of the genre that I've seen.
On sort of a side note, you ever notice the ramp effect with vehicles in action movies? The most common example would be of a speedboat hitting the low end of another boat and rocketing through the air. You occasionally see this with cars too. Here in Above the Law a.k.a. Righting Wrongs, you see it with a car chasing down Yuen Biao going off of a parked car. Of course the car is in front of a railing up high on a multi-level parking garage. And I don't know my models but it's probably a Mitsubishi since they made it into EVERY Hong Kong action movie in the 80s. But the parked car wasn't particularly low to the ground. The moving car didn't hit any objects to lift it's front end up. It just jumps the other like a ramp. I don't know if this is really a complaint. It was odd, but hysterical.
If we're talking recommendations and I have to exclude anything with Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, or Jet Li, I'd recommend any of the first four In the Line of Duty movies over this. But it's still a decent action movie and any fan of Yuen Biao in particular really needs to see it."
Nothing about this movie makes any sense. Except for the st
Scott Baboyian | Washington, DC | 08/01/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is classic 80's Hong Kong action cinema: take a paper thin premise, barely sketch out a coherent plot, recruit some incredible fighters, then get your friends, the stunt guys, and members of the crew to play any other needed roles, scrape up a bare minimum of cash, and start shooting! This film practically redefines low budget-- The costuming is so minimal, it looks like most of the actors were just shot in the clothes they came to work in. Cynthia Rothrock, the lead female, appears in a ludicrous procession of color-coordinated, shoulder-padded outfits that look like she discovered the softer side of Sears. The makeup and grooming of the actors is horrible- in some close-ups you can see a couple big zits on Yuen Biao's face, just begging to be popped!
The premise is a throw away: a disillusioned lawyer takes the law into his own hands, coming up against gangsters and a crooked cop. The characters lack any and all coherent motivation or consistent behavior. The narrative is so sloppy and disjointed, in many places, you'll be scratching your head wondering how one event even connects to another. For example, by the end of the movie, our heroes, Cynthia Rothrock and Yuen Biao, are pursuing a crooked police captain. How and why they find this police captain suddenly moonlighting as an airplane mechanic, in a hanger where his coworkers are apparently also his paid henchmen, is never explained in any way. Clearly there was no thought whatsoever behind it, except it sets up the showpiece stunt in which the guy takes off in a plane as Biao is dragged down the runway and 4,000 feet into the air on the end of a rope!
But that stunt, among the zillions of others, is truly amazing. And so are the fights. Cynthia Rothrock is unbelievable in this movie, showing so much power and determination in her fight scenes. The battle between her and Biao inside a small apartment is jaw dropping, and it is only one of several equally impressive throw-downs. Yuen Biao is just as compelling, at least physically speaking, as Jackie Chan or Sammo Hung, bringing an incredibly lithe, limber, and whip-like power to his movements.
Those stunts and fights are clearly the reason this film was made, the only thing the creators put any effort into, and the only reasons to see this movie. If you really love wacky HK humor, you might also get a kick out of the antics of Corey Yuen-Kwai who plays Rothrock's Pigpen-like parter on the police force. (Yuen-Kwai also directed this movie, and also directed some of the Transporter movies--films similarly lacking coherent plot or characters!) But the weird thing is, so many people are killed in this movie, in such merciless ways, that all the wacky humor totally undermines any sense of drama or pathos. The actors certainly don't help, as they are incapable of expressing any true grief, as one-by-one, every character in the film is killed off! (and their family and friends too!)
Rated against other movies in the genre, this film really doesn't deserve 4 stars. But I'm giving extra points for the historical importance of the Biao/Rothrock match-up, as well as the presence of a couple other American fighters playing villians in the movie. Point as well are due for the simple, gleeful cheesiness and innocent exuberance that infuses this mess with a energy that makes American actioners of the same period look flaccid by comparison."