Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
Our current 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. 
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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. 
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