Righting Wrongs (1986)

Reviewed by: Chungking_Cash
Date: 08/01/2007

An unusually dark vehicle for star Yuen Biao that features exceptional gung fu but is, nevertheless, some what marred by the fact that Cynthia Rothrock and Karen Sheperd (impressive fighters in their own right) are heavily doubled by their Chinese counterparts in drag. Thankfully, the humor provided by Wu Ma and Corey Yuen Kwai does not butt heads with the script's rather somber tone.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 07/10/2006

Righting Wrongs is a surprisingly gritty and realistic film for Yuen Biao (I use the term “realistic” relative to his other, more fantasy-based projects of course). Slightly cheap looking, given that it’s a Golden Harvest production, but fun nonetheless.

Yuen Biao is a High Court prosecutor who happens to be skilled in martial arts (how often do you see that, eh?!), who turns vigilante to nail some particularly nasty criminals. It was filmed in the 80’s, so James Tien is obviously one of the main bad guys. Also in attendance is Cynthia Rothrock, in one of her rare appearances in a decent film – she plays a cop brought in to help out. I once spoke briefly to Rothrock and mentioned this film, but I had the impression she either didn’t remember it that well or she couldn’t understand me (I had to repeat everything I said to her at least twice!).

Director Yuen Kwai also gets a fair amount of screen time as the lazy cop son of veteran policeman Wu Ma. Their relationship is quite touching at times, amongst all the needle Wu gives his son about his slovenliness.

Righting Wrongs is a solid film, but it does tend to veer into melodrama and sentiment on occasions. But certainly the action sequences are well executed; we even see Yuen Biao venture into Jackie Chan’s territory with some pretty impressive stunt-work. I particularly enjoyed the scene in the car park where Yuen takes on a gang of thugs.

The vigilante theme might not sit well with some, but as has been mentioned before, there are two versions. In the international print, neither Cynthia Rothrock nor Yuen Biao dies, but in the Hong Kong version both are killed. I take it the Hong Kong version is ultimately saying that vigilantism is wrong by killing off Yuen Biao. Mind you, even though he survives the international print he still gets a lengthy jail sentence, so who knows?

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 03/08/2006
Summary: classic hong kongery...

yuen biao is a prosector who is sick of crime lords getting away with murder and feels that it's time that someone stood up and took some vengeance on them. cynthia rothrock is a policewoman, investigating the activities of the crime syndicates and doesn't need vigilante justice getting in her way.

great stuff from corey yuen, who has a pretty big role in the film, with a fast moving film that's packed with classic hong kong action. there's plenty of great choreography and it's pretty brutal. it's a shame that this didn't turn into a franchise...


Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Date: 10/23/2005
Summary: An unconventional and very enjoyable film...

Righting Wrongs is a classic 80s Hong Kong action film with a very dark and cynical side. Yuen Biao stars as a prosecutor who always gets his man, whether in the courtroom or outside the law in vigilante fashion. When he is implicated in the murder of a triad leader, Hsai (Yuen Biao) must track down the real culprit to clear his name. He is joined by Sandy (Cynthia Rothrock), a guilao cop, after a witness clears Hsai's name.

There were many times during Righting Wrongs that I was shocked at what I was witnessing on the screen. In terms of an action film, it excels on all points. What is really surprising though, at least in the original Cantonese version, is the level of brutality and absolute unconventionality it delivers in terms of character outcomes and it's moral message. Yuen Biao is portrayed as a conventional hero, but he delivers justice as he sees fit, no matter what the consequences are and what laws he may be breaking. If he fails in court to bring someone to justice, he simply sets forth to kill them (if warranted). Even the presiding judge seems to indicate that this is the right thing to do and goes so far as to give Biao a moral approval to deliver his form of punishment. The line between justice and injustice is severely blurred in this film, which makes it all the more enjoyable.

The director, Corey Yuen, really brings everything to the table in terms of action and martial arts. Although many of the fight scenes seem a bit undercranked, they are well choreographed and make great use of the sets in which they take place. In particular, the scenes that involve Rothrock (who is fantastic in this film) vs Biao and then later vs US Karate diva Karen Sheperd should be benchmarks for comparison. Yuen Biao is also in prime shape for this role and never misses a beat. Overall, a highly recommended movie.


Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/17/2005

Yuen Biao stars as a lawyer who takes the law into his own hands after a key witness in his first big case is killed. Rothrock plays her typical "dragon lady" hot-headed cop on Yuen's trail.

The action comes fast and furious in Righting Wrongs. It's definitely some of Rothrock's best work, worlds above most of her crappy US B-movies. She is, bar none, the best non-Asian fighter I've seen in a martial arts movie. Her fights in Righting Wrongs are fantastic, especially one where she fights fellow gweilo Karen Shepard, which ends with her making a 20-foot high flying tackle. Yuen is also great in the movie, doing a tremendous job with both stunts and fighting. The scene where he literally dives over several cars trying to run him over has to be seen to be believed.

The US version, known as Above the Law, has a lighter tone, with less violence and a different, more upbeat ending. But the despite a horrible dub job, it's still worth tracking down if you can't find the HK version.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]

Reviewed by: balstino
Date: 07/09/2003
Summary: Good action, not a great film though.

Yuen Biao kicks arse in this 80's actioner. I liked it, but I don't think it is anything outstanding.

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 07/25/2002
Summary: Very Good

BANG! That’s how Righting Wrongs hits me each time I have watched this! As everyone else has said before me, this is truly an 80’s action classic! 1986…one of my favourite years in Hong Kong cinema, and this master piece is fully supported by a great cast and production team. Yuen Biao, Corey Yuen, Tai Bo, Wu Ma, Melvin Wong, James Tin and plenty more besides. Unfortunately not my favourite person in the world, Cynthia Rothrock has a big presence, and drags it down a bit for me.

A well made, action-packed film (perhaps a little too brutal at times), that probably if Jackie Chan had been placed instead of Yuen Biao this probably would be one of most people’s favourites. Unfortunately so many people still don’t see Yuen Biao as the great person he is.

I really must stress that anyone who loves the classic 80’s action HK films and has never seen this, this really is a must have.



Reviewed by: Wurms
Date: 07/23/2002
Summary: Good ole action flick!!!

Corey Yuen Kwai (recent fame in US for Kiss of the Dragon and The One action choreography) directs this great classic Yuen Biao starring vehicle.

Yuen Biao is on top form here as a lawyer taking the law into his own hands.

Cynthia Rothrock is the cop trying to catch Yuen Biao.

Great action and some nice stunts.

Rating: 4.5/5

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: Bruce
Date: 08/04/2001
Summary: Universe DVD has both versions

The Universe DVD has the Cantonese version on side A and the Mandarin version on side B. The fate of Rothrock and Biao is quite different in the two versions.

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 07/18/2001
Summary: Genre classic

This is another entry in the Girls With Guns entry from Yuen Kwai, after the success of YES MADAM! Except one of the girls is now Yuen Biao, who isn't a girl at all. From the very start we're treated to explosive action, with Biao playing a prosecutor who's a bit handy with the Kung Fu. He demonstrates from the start that his approach to criminals is shoot first, questions later. At first I was disappointed at the lack of ethics and common sense that this attitude demonstrates, but it is actually pertinent to the theme of the film...

"Does the law protect the citizens or does it protect the scum?"

Biao's experience is that it's the latter, so he decides to redress the balance. Cynthia Rothrock eventually turns up as the tough police officer to represent the opposite side, the law's the law and murder's murder etc. Yuen Kwai has a fairly significant role in the movie too, looking thinner than usual and making jokes about Rothrock's appearance.

The plot's pretty well developed for a Yuen Kwai movie - there's quite a bit of dramatic tension and events making sense. The whole thing builds up nicely, punctuated at very regular intervals with top notch eighties action. Biao and Kwai share choreography titles, and they put up a good show. All quite intense and creative, well shot and edited... some of the better fights from the period in fact. Biao and Rothrock are both on peak form here.

Overall I don't like the pro-vigilante message implicit in the movie, but I recognise that it's quite common in Hong Kong movies. It's quite a thoughtful, if not exactly subtle, take on the theme, wrapped in some good drama and excellent action. Recommended.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: runo_jp
Date: 06/15/2001
Summary: righting wrongs

Solid movie, helped by Yuen Biao and Cynthia Rothrock. Still, this is not your usual Yuen Biao action flick : everything is more brutal, and hopeless.
Certainly a must-see.

Reviewed by: hellboy
Date: 09/04/2000
Summary: A tough, kung-fu, crime noir

Yuen Biao proves he's got what it takes to carry a movie without Samo or Jackie. A gritty, well-written character as well as a solid performance from YB make this action/drama well worth watching. Cynthia Rothrock displays some more of the incredible kung-fu ability she demonstrated in Yes, Madam! although her acting capability seems somewhat limited. Righting Wrongs is definitely one of the most bleakest films to come out of HK. I don't want to spoil it but the ending may be very unsatifying to some. But that's also why I like it, Yuen Kwai doesn't pull any punches for the sake of pleasing the audience. The best scene from the film has Yuen Biao narrowly escaping being crushed from two oncoming cars! They really crash just above his head!! A scene that instant replay if viewed on video! 9/10

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: Fhrx
Date: 03/28/2000
Summary: One of Cythina Rothrock's best

Yuen Biao stars as Hsia Ling Chang who by day works as a prosecuting Attorney in the supreme court. After hours however, he spends most of his time hunting down Hong Kong’s biggest and most notorious drug lords.

After some hit men working for the drug lords eliminate all the witnesses in his latest case, including the blowing up of their children and giving the court little choice but to let the criminals go free, Chang springs into action and takes the law into his own hands.

However, someone else is also out killing criminals and innocents alike, which draws the attention of local police woman Hsio Shi-Chi ( Cynthia Rothrock ). She has come to suspect Biao and is trying to bring him in for various things. That’s where it starts to get interesting.

Righting wrongs has many damn good fight scenes, some of which feature Rothrock, some of which feature Biao and a couple which feature both of them. One even pits the both of them against each other. A couple of slow motion shots of Biao’s kicks near the end are brilliant and work in great with the overall atmosphere of the scene. Top effort from both people in their prime! Rothrock has an interesting run in with a Women wielding a gold whip chain and displays immeasurable skill in the fight with her and the fight that follows.

The only qualms I have with Righting wrongs is that I didn’t like the ending very much. I felt a bit let down when the closing credits rolled up. All in all though, not a bad plot and great action. The final stunt from Biao will have you gasping in unbelief. Highly recommended viewing!

I give Righting Wrongs 8/10.

Reviewed by: hokazak
Date: 12/09/1999

An instant classic. Cynthia Rothrock's best movie by a mile. Contains a handful of the best fight scenes I've seen. Vintage Yuen Biao. A gritty movie that's not bound by the conventions of the unmitigatedly happy ending...

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Lawyer Jason Chan (Yuen Biao) is about to prosecute hisfirst big case -- Drug Trafficking. But when his key Witness is brutally murdered, Chan decides to take the law into his own hands. His vigilante policing methods bring him under the suspicion of Detective Inspector Sandy Jones (Cynthia Rothrock). Before Inspector Jones can bring Chall to justice, another murder brings them together in the search for the killer. Once this case is resolved, will Chan be held accountable for working "Above the law"?

[Reviewed by Rim Films Catalog]

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

An excellent movie where Biao and Rothrock really get to show their talents. The opening scene was even shot here in New Zealand! The scene starts outside the Auckland War Memorial Museum for those who are interested.


[Reviewed by Dave Warner]

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

A tough female cop and martial arts expert finds herself up against a group of hired killers when she sets out to bring to book a man who has set himself up as a self-appointed vigilante. A standard blend of maximal action and minimal plotting, followed by a sequel (Above the Law 2: The Blond Fury).


[Reviewed by Elliot's Guide to Films on Video]

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

As a straight job, Hsia Ling Chang (Yuen Biao) works as a prosecuting attorney; but in his spare hours, he hunts down and kills the most notorious criminals in Hong Kong. He carries a bullet-torn copy of the penal codes wherever he goes, and even tries to read them. When some baddies systematically eliminate all the witnesses in Hsia's latest triad murder case (to the point of bombing entire families, kids and all), the lawyer's hands-on approach to justice sets ball-breaking cop Hsio Shi-Chi (Cynthia Rothrock) on his ass all day and night. At times, she almost looks cute, an anomaly born of very thick makeup; Yuen Biao can't help but look mean, even when he's happy. Law vs. Justice, HK-style, the sort of film comfortable with killing off even major characters on a whim. The bracing unpredictability of the violence is deadened by its tendency for cliche; the main virtue of the film lies in the stunts and action, which are brilliant, almost acrobatic. The last few minutes are pure gold.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 6