Bury Me High (HK 1990)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 1/1/00
Director: Tang Chi Li (Tsui Siu Ming)
Cast: Chin Kar Lok, Tang Chi Li, Moon Lee, Sibelle Hu, Yuen Wah, Cho Wing, cameos by Corey Yuen Kwai, Kenneth Tsang, Stuart Ong

The ultimate feng shui action movie, as odd as that sounds. Through feng shui, or geomancy, good fortune and harmony with nature can be achieved with the proper orientation of objects. In this case, ancestral burial locations ensure the wealth and/or success of future generations. After his power-mad brother chooses an ill-fated burial site for power, master geomancer Corey Yuen hides his research and flees with the help of a loyal servant. He promises to bury the servant in a "wealth" position and ensures that he himself is buried in a "wisdom" position. His son turns out to be the famous Chinese adventurer, Wisely (Chin Kar Lok), and the servant's daughter (Moon Lee) grows up to be the wealthy president of a major American computer corporation. But after twenty-five years, their good fortunes turn for the worse and they visit their ancestral burial grounds with the aid of a bumbling, but likable, feng shui professor (director Tang Chi Li) in order to set things right. The only problem is that the burial site is located in a militant backwater Asian country run by a crazed dictator (villainous Yuen Wah - surprise, surprise) who has his own feng shui plans for world domination. His militant sister (Sibelle Hu) doesn't agree with his rash tactics and eventually aids our heroes in resolving their ancestral problems, leading to an all-out kung fu and gun fighting frenzy. Naturally, the good guys win.

A bizarre and off-center film, but thoroughly enjoyable. Extremely high production values (especially for a Hong Kong production), and exquisite use of lighting and gradient filters give the film a beautiful cinematic texture. The action scenes are well staged and exciting to watch, and the kung fu is top notch. Even the rather chubby Tang Chi Li pulls off some incredible fight maneuvers. It's nice to see both Chin Kar Lok and Cho Wing in starring roles for a change, as they are extremely agile performers. Their fight scenes are amazing to watch - very graceful and very energetic. For the most part, Moon Lee just plays a beautiful corporate executive, but by the end of the film she's swinging around an AK-47 and trading kicks just like everyone else. Very cool.