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BURY ME HIGH, a 1990 Hong Kong adventure with kung fu, shootouts and a vaguely mystical theme, is one of a handful of titles loosely constituting the `Wisely' series, so named because of its lead character, a young man drawn by destiny into various far-flung adventures (and played by different actors in each film, I believe). It's beautifully shot and edited and has lots of action and an intriguing and fairly complicated screenplay. The eclectic cast is led by five distinct Hong Kong stars, each playing an unusual role. They are: Moon Lee (KILLER ANGELS), Sibelle Hu (TOP SQUAD), Chin Kar Lok (OPERATION SCORPIO), Yuen Wah (SUPERCOP), and the film's director, Tsui Siu-Ming (who put on quite a few pounds after starring in THE BUDDHIST FIST).
The plot is based on principles of geomancy and feng shui and has to do with three characters on a mission into a Communist Asian country (patterned after Vietnam) to shift the burial grounds of their fathers in order to change their own fates. The film assumes a certain amount of knowledge of Chinese lore on the part of the audience, so the central concepts on which the story hangs may prove a bit confusing to western viewers not well-versed in these subjects.
For some reason, based on what I'd read about this film, I had anticipated some supernatural elements, but they never materialized. There was lots of action, very well-staged, but I would liked to have seen more kung fu, especially since the five main cast members are each veterans, in varying degrees, of kung fu movies. But I was never bored, and I found the twists and turns of the plot consistently intriguing, as it involves the careful diplomatic handling of a crazed General (Yuen Wah) who engineers a military coup before the main characters' eyes. (There's a scene deliberately recalling BULLET IN THE HEAD.)
Both Moon Lee and Sibelle Hu, veteran female stars of numerous modern-day kung fu thrillers, play interesting characters of a sort I've never seen them do: Moon plays a computer tycoon, while Sibelle plays a Communist military officer (a la Michelle Yeoh in SUPERCOP, in which Yuen Wah was one of the bad guys). Chin Kar Lok plays Wisely, a young computer wizard tapped by fate to join the mission, and Tsui Siu Ming plays an expert on geomancy, who is introduced giving a lecture in English on ancient Chinese astronomy to students at a Southern Californian planetarium. This is an interesting film for HK fans looking for something out of the ordinary.
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