project, if you can call it a project, is to complete the
filmography of that Mistress of Mayhem, the grand dame of ass
kicking, this being Madame Cynthia Rothrock. Note that I
have tried to do this with other old time ass kickers such as
Michael Dudikoff and Don 'The Dragon' Wilson and have failed,
but I'm hoping we'll actually complete this project.
Today's Rothrock joint is 1986's 'Above the Law', as we saw
it, or 'Righting Wrongs' as it is known in other quarters, but
whatever you want to call it, it's been a while since I've
seen a movie that combined the heightened levels of
buffoonery, stupidity and outright awesomeness that I found in
'Above the Law'.
The phenomenal Yuen Baio is hard working banister Hsia
Ling-Chen, and on this day Chen is in America helping do
something or another when armed gunman, for no reason I can
tell, blow some judge away. You know… the Judge was
wearing a powder wig so maybe this wasn't America.
Regardless, the goons try to get away, Chen chases them down,
wrecks the goons car and then as the goons try to crawl away
from the car Chen pulls out his heat and blows them all
away. Now here's the thing… I don't think Chen has any
'kill on sight' law enforcement jurisdiction in this town, and
even if he did, if some unarmed goons are crawling away from a
wreck, clearly defenseless, maybe you shouldn't just blow them
away. Not that they didn't have it coming, I'm just
saying is all.
Fast forward a bit to Hong Kong where a family is minding
their own business having family fun time when an assassin,
called the Black Assassin, because I imagine he's a Black guy
(Peter Cunningham), shoots the adults and then blows up the
kids. Damn. It so happens that one of these people
was a star witness for a trial against a gangster that Chen
was prosecuting, and he did promise the cat that nothing was
going to happen to him… Oh well. Note to self; give Hsia
Ling-Chen's promises no value.
Now Chen is
PISSED, and when Chen gets pissed it's time for him to Right
some Wrongs and go Above the Law! First Chen, who is one
helluva an athlete, scales some building and offs one of the
gangsters. Again, note to self, when going to kill
somebody, don't illegally park my own car in front of the
place that I plan to kill this person at. That's bad
murder planning. We mention this because hot shot Hong
Kong detective Cindy Si (Ms. Rothrock) has performed some
seriously rudimentary police work and come to the conclusion
that Chen is the murderer she's looking for.
But now things get a little complicated. Somewhere there
is a big boss controlling things, it's no real secret, but
it's Cindy Si's boss, the ultra smooth, crazy evil Sgt. Wong
(Melvin Wong). Turns out that while on his way to
another murder justice gig, Chen found his mark already dead,
killed by Sgt. Wong, and he found Cindy waiting for him, and
there was a witness to Wong's murder escapades in young Yu
Chi-Wen (Siu-Wong Fan). Complicated perhaps, but it
always ends up in some kind of spectacular fight sequence.
Eventually, Chen figures out that Wong is his man, he just has
to convince Cindy that this is the case. Not easy
because Cindy is kind of stupid. And he has to protect
young Wen. Not easy because Wen looks like he really
wants to die. And he has to try to save himself from the
Black Assassins and other types of vermin. Again, not
easy. Action will ensue. Guaranteed.
To be completely honest with you, examining director Cory
Yuen's 'Above the Law' as a work of cinema, it's not a really
good movie. The narrative is erratic and wayward as the
whole vigilante thing really doesn't play all that much into
what's really going on, whatever the hell is really going
on. The acting is a little on the suspect side, the
awesome stunt work is somewhat marred by Ms. Rothrock's
stuntman obviously being a man, and then there was the
character of Bad Egg, played by the director, who was designed
to provide this movie with comic relief, but instead provided
this movie with unnecessary buffoonery. So in that vein,
'Above the Law' is a bit of a cinematic failure.
But then who would watch an 80's Hong Kong action flick
directed by Cory Yuen for crisp acting, and a coherent
storyline? I know I wouldn't. Thus we have what
makes 'Above the Law' awesome, and that would be the
action. All of it. All of the action in this movie
is fantastic, and there's plenty of it. Chen vs.
Cindy. Awesome. Chen vs. Wong.
Awesome. Chen vs. Cars. Awesome. Chen vs.
Black Assassin. Awesome. Cindy vs. female assassin
(Karen Sheperd). Awesome. Chen vs. the side of a
building. Awesome. Wong vs. Bad Egg, heck, even
that was kind of awesome.
So sure, 'Above the Law' was borderline incomprehensible,
rarely did it make any kind of logical sense, yes it was
completely illogical even in the illogical world that it
exists in… what can we tell you? We would've preferred
if it made sense and stuff, but if that meant at the expense
of the awesome action… the hell you say.