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Righting Wrongs (Above the Law)

original title: Zhi fa xian feng

Comparison:

  • BBFC 18 VHS
  • Export Version
Release: Oct 15, 2022 - Author: Muck47 - Translator: Mike Lowrey - external link: IMDB

Comparison between the cut British VHS by Imperial and the export version on the DVD from South Africa by Impact Video


- 3 cuts
- Cut duration: 10.6 sec

A few additional master errors, each less than 0.5 sec in duration, were not listed in the report.

 

Righting Wrongs (a.k.a. Above the Law) is a small gem of '80s action cinema from Hong Kong. Cynthia Rothrock and Yuen Biao show their skills impressively here and the whole thing is basically mandatory viewing for the genre fan. Unfortunately, there are a few different versions floating around here as well. Similar to Millionaires' Express, you have to break it down a bit more.

There are three main versions, each with exclusive scenes as well as cuts, and no version that contains ALL of the material. The version, originally made in English for export, was then further cut in some countries after the fact. In short summary:

1. Hong Kong version - 93 min PAL / 97 min NTSC
With "hard ending" (Yuen Biao dies) and a few action scenes missing in all other versions.
-> Has been remastered by Fortune Star and is therefore widely available. Included on various Hong Kong DVDs, the US DVD and French DVD, and the Hong Kong Blu-ray (upscale). In 2022, the film is released on Blu-ray in the US and UK, also with this version.

2. Mandarin version - 94 min PAL [would be equivalent to 98 min in NTSC].
Shorter than the Hong Kong version by spikes of violence, action scenes, and quite a few mini-cuts - but again contains its own additional action scenes. There is also a longer, "harmless ending" (Yuen Biao is rescued and tried in court).
-> The only known release has been the old Universe DVD from Hong Kong (Side B of the Flipper disc). The 2022 US Blu-ray by Vinegar Syndrome has some editing errors on this version.

3. Export version - 87 min PAL [would correspond to 98 min in NTSC].
Basically based on the Mandarin version (= the editing is based on the missing/additional scenes there and shows the "harmless ending"). Beyond that, however, streamlined by 8.5 minutes of plot. Also noticeable are English credits and inserts.
-> Included on the DVD from South Africa and template for the versions now mentioned as sub-items (a) and (b). The 2022 US Blu-ray by Vinegar Syndrome has some editing errors on this version.

3a. British VHS - 87 min PAL
Corresponds to the export version (3), but has been censored for three small spikes of violence.

3b. German version - 85 min PAL
Corresponds to the export version (3), but has been further censored by two minutes.

3c. French version - 73 min PAL
Based on the export version (3), but was shortened by 14 minutes. On the French DVD, this version was reconstructed as a bonus with the master of the Mandarin version (2). Possibly René Chateau's French VHS (also listed as 73 min) was differing some more.

The cuts of the British version

Like the German version, the version released in the UK only on VHS is based on the Mandarin or export version, which has already been censored a few places compared to the Hong Kong version. On top of that, the BBFC found a few short moments to be a thorn in the side, where you get to see more dangerous kicks against the temple, for example. This was probably deemed too tempting for imitators. Compared to the other fight scenes that are still included, this seems rather trivial and hardly carries any weight. Nevertheless, in any case, a little bit has clearly been censored afterwards.

With the Blu-ray from 88 Films available from October 24, 2022, this historical stain has then also settled for the British fans. The film is now available here with a new BBFC 15 certificate not only in uncut export version, but also with the Hong Kong version, Mandarin version and a new hybrid cut.

Runtimes are ordered as follows: British VHS in PAL / African DVD in PAL

The introductory reference to Golden Harvest is missing from the African DVD.

+ 18 sec




With the identical, English export credits, only the African DVD has the alternate title added at the bottom.

British VHSAfrican DVD




56:15 / 55:56-55:58

A hard kick to Joe's neck, seen at the beginning from the perspective of the foot. Yu stands up in the background in a panic.

Note: This scene is a bit longer in the Hong Kong version.

2 sec




61:24 / 61:07-61:13

A part from the fight where Chan/Hsia (Yuen Biao) takes a blow to the stomach and lands on a table after being kicked in the face. Chan then throws something at his opponent's (Peter Cunningham) face & then kicks him aside.

5,6 sec




78:50 / 78:39-78:42

Chan passes out one more slow motion kick in an additional shot.

3 sec