Bury Me High
"I hate reviewing movies like this."
Bury Me High (1991)
Director: Tsui Siu Ming
Producer: Tsui Siu Ming, Leonard Ho (executive), Corey Yuen (associate), David Lai (associate)
Writer: Tsui Siu Ming, Cheung Wah Biu, Sit Kar Wah
Cast: Moon Lee, Chin Ka Lok, Sibelle Hu, Yuen Wah, Tsui Siu Ming
Running Time: 102 min.
Plot: This is a film about one of the practical metaphysics of the Orient - Geomancy. The Orientals believe fervently that a good burial site endows fame and fortune on its descendants. Anna and Wisely go to Indochina to trace their roots. They meet the new dictator General Nguen who bloodbath the country. Anna and Wisely are determined to stop him by finding the Conqueror the dictator's ancestor is buried and destroy it. (Yes, that's what it says.)
NUMSKULL'S REVIEW: Almost everything about Bury Me High screams mediocrity. The plot holds your interest, but only just. The miniature geomancy and astrology lessons make you go "Oh, that's nice" rather than "My God! That's fascinating!" The performances are passable, but lack vigor. Moon Lee's talents are under-utilized. Chin Ka Lok, hilarious in Maniacal Night, is nothing special here. Same goes for the other cast members. The storyline is a bit more intricate than many other HK action flicks, but it's hardly mind-bending.
After a prelude that's too long for its own good, our heroes have a few scenes in L.A. where we are shown a magical rope that wraps itself around a telephone pole automatically, and one of the most stupid, pointless fight scenes I've ever seen. Then they go to Indochina with Tsui Siu Ming, an established geomancer, to try and put an end to their bad luck streak (Anna's computer company is nearing bankruptcy, and Wisely has an inoperable brain tumor which won't kill him, but which some gwailo doctor who can't act worth shit tells him will eventually make him "mentally insane."). The president makes the shortest speech in history at a fundraiser, then gets ousted (well, killed, actually) by The General (sometimes he's Nguen and sometimes he's Yuen so fuck it, I'm just calling him The General) in a coup. Faced with the choice of execution or service to The General and his sister Van Vong, they go with the latter. Despite being the most powerful person in the country, The General has no sense of security, and our three civilian heroes break into his office with no trouble whatsoever and unveil his diabolical plans. Van Vong doesn't want to be a part of her brother's fiendish, bloodthirsty plots and decides to help Anna & co. blow the whole scheme wide open.
The movie inspires yawns aplenty until the end, when we're treated to a surprisingly good (and long) action finale with lots of gunfire, explosions, Wisely taking on The General, Chen Chang-Ching (the geomancer guy) duking it out with Van Vong's other brother Van Bao, and Anna pretty much getting her ass kicked left and right...for someone who says "I'm good at kung fu" at the beginning of the movie, she sure doesn't get to do much.
As good as the action is, it's seriously marred by not one, not two, but THREE unbelievable close shaves. Chen Chang-Ching survives getting shot in the heart, Wisely survives getting shot in the head (which, God be praised, loosens his brain tumor enough to allow surgeons to remove it), and, worst of all, a bolt of lightning just happens to strike The General's sword at the precise moment he has it raised to deliver the killing blow. The stars must have been more right than ever.
The movie's only other good points are the cinematography (provided by none other than Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon's Oscar-winning Peter Pau), and the occasional bits of lush, new age-y music. The sound guys know when the movie is better off quiet.
I hate reviewing movies like this. I want to say more, but there's not much else to say. Worth watching, but not spending money on. Go away now.
NUMSKULL'S RATING: 5/10