Film Review

Righting Wrongs

Year: 1987

Directed by: Corey Yuen Kwai

Cynthia Rothrock: stars as Senior Inspector Shih Li-yi.

Other Players: Yuen Baio, Melvin Wong, Roy Chiao, Karen Shephard

Plot Synopsis: A prosecutor trying to convict a pair of gangsters gets frustrated with the system when his key witness is murdered and the crooks seem likely to go free. Consequently he decides to get justice himself, and stalks and kills one of them. The police (mostly CR) investigating the death become suspicious of him, and when the gangsters' silent partner kills the other one, the prosecutor is mistakenly blamed (because he was at the scene of the crime--he wanted to kill the other one, he just got there too late to do it himself). Pursuing the prosecutor (who is innocent, yet guilty), CR learns too late that the system is entirely compromised, that her police captain is the gangsters' silent partner, and that no justice will be had unless she gets it herself. She goes after her boss, and gets killed (after wiping out all his underlings, though), but the prosecutor is able to finish the job.

General Impressions: Really excellent. The plot is rich and twisty, as are the multiple sub-plots. The film's action conventions are familiar enough to satisfy, yet strange enough (from a North American perspective) to entice. A young, vaguely weird-looking (heavily made-up) CR is phenomenal as the investigator caught between her sense of duty and her concept of justice. She is portrayed as intelligent, resourceful, tough, and diligent. She uses a computer as well as she fights, and boy, can she fight! The fight scenes are exciting and complex, with a good mixture of realism (the characters are actually swinging at each other in a manner that looks authentic) and "kung fu-ism" (lots of jumping, spinning, etc.). I was amazed. And instead of the psycho-babble we usually get in CR movies, the motivations of the characters in this film ring true; rather than just being given a simple, one-sentence back-story explanation, we can actually see the development happening, the PROGRESS of their emotions. On a lighter note, this film contains some of the worst stunt-doubling I've ever seen, particularly in CR's opening fight, and the subtitling suffers from the usual fade-out. To which I say: so what!?! If you miss something, watch it again!

Watch It?: Welcome to the next level. If you like CR, it should become your personal quest to find this video.