Forget the silly story line. There's really only one reason to watch this film, and that's the stellar fight scenes.
The star witness in a drug trial is killed along with his family, prompting prosecutor Hsia Ling-ching (Yuen Biao) to become a vigilante killer. He assassinates one of the two druglords responsible, only to find CID agents Cindy (Cynthia Rothrock) and her inept partner (Corey Yuen) hot on his
trail. Cindy later catches Hsia hovering over the dead body of Bill's partner, Chow Ting-Kwong (James Tien), but Hsia fights his way free. What Cindy doesn't know is that the crime was actually committed by her superior, Sergeant Wong (Melvin Wong), a silent partner in the drug ring. Wong
discovers that the murder was witnessed by youngster Wen, and sets out to silence him, killing first Wen's grandfather, then Cindy's partner, then finally Wen himself. Realizing this, Cindy confronts Wong at the hangar where he keeps his private plane. She is killed but Hsia arrives to take over
the fight, managing to pull himself aboard Wong's departing plane and kill him, then plunge to his death in the sea.
The preceding is the plot line of the ninety-two minute subtitled version, released theatrically in Hong Kong. When the film got a negative response from foreign audiences, Rothrock and Yuen were called back to shoot additional inserts for the dubbed release, retitled ABOVE THE LAW. Now clocking
in at eighty-seven minutes, it's missing several minor scenes and boasts a re-edited, upbeat ending. Rothrock (renamed Sandy) now gets stabbed in the shoulder rather than the neck, and survives to fish a still-breathing Yuen (as Jason Chan) out of the sea at the end. Both versions were released to
US video in 1998.
Yuen Biao yet again proves himself one of the great overlooked action heroes. He gets to bungee jump off a building, hang by a rope from a weaving airplane, and cling beneath the interlocked bumpers of two speeding cars in a sequence that absolutely cries out for a rewind button. Lithe and
supremely acrobatic, he was schooled at the same Peking Opera school as Jackie Chan, along with the film's director Corey Yuen (who stars as Cindy's bumbler-turned-hero partner). Corey Yuen had directed Rothrock in her debut film, YES, MADAM (1985) and for this, her second, he created at least
three fights that have gone down as classics among martial arts fans: Yuen Biao versus Cynthia Rothrock, Yuen Biao versus lightweight kickboxing champ Peter Cunningham, and Cynthia Rothrock versus Karen Sheperd. Also in the terrific cast are character stalwart Wu Ma, who received a curious
nomination as best supporting actor at the Hong Kong Film Awards for what is a fairly one-dimensional role, and Bruce Lee's old sidekick James Tien playing the McGuffin villain; his best scene is as a corpse, tossed about as a weapon during the Rothrock/Yuen brawl. American karate champion
Rothrock would return with many of the same cast members the following year, playing an undercover cop in the unrelated "sequel" BLONDE FURY/LADY REPORTER, directed by and co-starring her stunt double, action choreographer Mang Hoi. (Violence)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1986
- Review: Forget the silly story line. There's really only one reason to watch this film, and that's the stellar fight scenes. The star witness in a drug trial is killed along with his family, prompting prosecutor Hsia Ling-ching (Yuen Biao) to become a vigilante k… (more)