RIGHTING WRONGS blu-ray review

Hong Kong Region A blu-ray

1080p Widescreen 1.85:1

Cantonese: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (original)

Mandarin: Dolby Digital 6.1 EX (dub)

Subtitles: English, Mandarin

IMDB

 

MOVIE: 9

VIDEO QUALITY: 8.5

AUDIO QUALITY: 8.5

ENGLISH SUBTITLES: 8

EXTRAS: 1

Has anyone seen this movie? I never even heard of Righting Wrongs until I saw the Blu-ray release news. How is Righting Wrongs aka Above the Law not considered a classic Hong Kong action film? After watching a lot of Hong Kong action film classics from the 1980s-1990s, I have noticed that most are missing one important aspect – an equal balance of action, screenplay, and character development.  After watching all these early action movies starring Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Donnie Yen, Sammo Hung, I don’t remember too much about the stories or about all the characters because the screenplay and depth of characters are just filler for the main attraction – the amazing action. The stories are usually just background to set up the action. The characters are usually just there to be beat up or to be laughed at. Righting Wrongs is probably the first 1980s Hong Kong action film that had a complete balance of action, story, and character depth – with all three working together in harmony to make it an absolute complete film. I have never seen a Hong Kong action film from this time period that totally had an interesting story with characters we care about from beginning to end until watching Righting Wrongs. A classic Hong Kong action film like Rumble in the Bronx isn’t a complete film – I love the movie but the movie is just a showcase for Jackie Chan’s talent. The story and characters are totally pointless, but this film is considered a Hong Kong action film classic. When one watches a Jackie Chan movie, usually you watch the movie because you are in the mood for a Jackie Chan movie.  Righting Wrongs is the type of film you can watch and not be in the mood to watch a “Hong Kong action movie” – this film is just a good movie that does not need to be categorized as just another martial arts film. But I would definitely classify Righting Wrongs now as a Hong Kong action movie classic from the 1980s.

Righting Wrongs is like a blend of Marvel’s Daredevil and L.A. Confidential. In her greatest role, the amazing Cynthia Rothrock stars as a police officer investigating the corruption in Hong Kong. As a police officer who goes by the book sort of like Guy Pierce’s character from L.A. Confidential, she is faced with issues from all sides – her partner is a slobby, sexist goof, her captain (Melvin Wong) is a corrupt cop working for Hong Kong mafia, and she has to deal with a lawyer (Yuen Biao) who brings justice to freed criminals with his fists a la Daredevil.

From the trailer, Righting Wrongs may seem like a typical Hong Kong action movie, but the story is surprisingly interesting from beginning to end. The amazing action scenes with Rothrock, Biao, and Wong are just icing on the cake. The martial arts in this film, directed and choreographed by the great Corey Yeun and Tsui Hark, are astounding. One of the greatest cat fights between Cynthia Rothrock and Karen Sheperd is one surreal experience. With the mixture of their 1980s fashion style and unathletic-looking bodies, watching Rothrock and Sheperd fight is like watching characters from Sex and the City or Real Housewives of New Jersey duke it out kung-fu style. Righting Wrongs may be my favorite Yuen Biao film as well because he gets to showcase decent acting chops as a public prosecutor when he’s not secretly bashing criminal heads.

One surprise in the film is that I can’t believe the scrawny little teenager was played by Siu-Wong Fan, who later starred as Ricky in Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky and the intimidating Jin Shan Zhao in Ip Man. There’s no way that one would think this kid would become such a tough and intimidating actor and impressive martial artist.

The CMS Media Limited Blu-ray is better than I expected. The 1080p Widescreen 1.85:1 is clean and is a totally pleasant viewing experience. Those expecting a huge restoration will be disappointed and may feel like they are watching an upconverted DVD, but the picture looks good since most Hong Kong 1980s films don’t look fabulous on Blu-ray. I never watched the many other DVD versions, but I’m assuming the Blu-ray transfer here is a slight upgrade from the best DVD version. As typical of Blu-rays of old Hong Kong films from CMS Media Limited or K & R, the audio sounds like a mono track with subwoofer action. With that in mind, the Cantonese Dolby TrueHD 7.1 is a very satisfying 1.1 audio experience. All the thumps, smacks, screeching cars, explosions, and other loud sounds make the subwoofer pretty active. The English subtitles are quite good with smooth translation with some spelling mistakes and missing words here and there, but definitely not Chinglish as on other Hong Kong Blu-rays. The only extra is the original trailer.

Fans of engaging police corruption stories, Cynthia Rothrock, Yuen Biao, and Corey Yuen/Tsui Hark action choreography are going to love this film. I absolutely recommend this Hong Kong action classic and this Blu-ray is one of my best blind-buys I’ve had in a long time!

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