Righting Wrongs

What a change of pace this is for Yuen Biao from some of his other films such as A Kid from Tibet or Iceman Cometh. I am so use to seeing that sly comical side to him, but you won’t find it here. Every now and then Yuen shows his dark side as he did in On the Run and he does here. Yuen Biao is all serious business in this film and for the most part so is the film. It is very gritty and surprisingly downbeat with only a few amusing sidebars along the way.

The plot is fairly simple and the production is mundane and at times a little sloppy, but the reputation of this film rests on its fabulous action scenes. And fabulous action it is throughout the film. The fights are terrific and some of the stunts are truly scary to watch at times.

The film should simply be viewed as a vehicle for both Yuen and Cynthia Rothrock to display their amazing talent. If you look for much more than that you will be disappointed. At the time this was made both actors were at the top of their game – Cynthia just having done Yes Madam and Yuen beginning to come out of the shadows of his two brothers – Jackie and Sammo.
The film begins with two hits on potential witnesses in a drug case. Yuen is the prosecutor for the case and realizes that with the witnesses’ dead he has no case. Roy Chiao is the judge for the case and afterwards he hints to Yuen that when the law is misused to protect the criminals other means to bring justice must be used.
Yuen and Roy Chiao
Yuen therefore decides to take justice into his own hands and kill the two drug lords that got off. He succeeds with the first one, but when he goes to kill the second one he finds him already dead. At the same time Cynthia Rothrock and her dim partner – Corey Yuen-Kwai (who also directs the film) are assigned to find out who killed the dealers and she is soon hot on the trail of Yuen. It turns out the second killer is a cop who was in partnership with the dealers and he is soon leaving a trail of bodies all over HK.
Yuen and Melvin Wong
The fights are great fun to watch and there are one on ones between Yuen and Cynthia, Yuen and Peter Conningham, the classic one between Cynthia and Karen Shepard and many other smaller ones. Some of the stunts are astonishing. In one scene the bad guys are trying to run over Yuen in a parking garage with four cars. How Yuen manages to dodge or jump over these cars is breathtaking. He does a few other crazy things as well. Such as hanging on to a rope from a flying plane and then jumping out of the plane (someone drops a very long way before the camera loses them!) and also this amazing leap off of the roof of a building with a pulley attached.
Sometimes the production work is a little weak. It has one of my favorite transition gaffes when the scene begins at night and then it is suddenly daytime (how do they miss things like this?). At times the double for Cynthia (why she would need one I can’t imagine) is very easy to spot because he isn’t even wearing a blonde wig ! There is also a fair amount of wires being utilized and at times it is done rather clumsily. Still though this is a classic action film and one of Yuen’s best.
Tai Seng has released Righting Wrongs in a letterbox format with easy to read sub-titles at a budget price. By the way, this film was released internationally as Above the Law with a much different ending than the HK version. I can’t say what or it will give away too much. Cynthia made a sequel called Above the Law II.

My rating for this film: 7.5

Corey Yuen and Wu Ma