The Paper Tigers debuts on Blu-ray and DVD June 22nd from Well Go USA Entertainment.
Synopsis: As teenagers, kung fu disciples Danny (Alain Uy), Hing (Ron Yuan) and Jim (Mykel Shannon Jenkins) were inseparable. Fast forward 25 years, and each has grown into a washed-up middle-aged man seemingly one kick away from pulling a hamstring – and not at all preoccupied with thoughts of martial arts or childhood best friends. But when their old master is murdered, the trio reunites, soon learning that avenging their sifu will require conquering old grudges (and a dangerous hitman still armed with ample knee cartilage) if they are to honorably defend his legacy.
The Review: After making somewhat of a splash during the festival circuits last year, The Paper Tigers is here to bring home. Much in the way that The Karate Kid taught the tenets of Karate while also being a family friendly, Tigers highlights the importance of honor and discipline, while remaining mostly family friendly.
The film itself was produced with the help of a kickstarter campaign that raised nearly 124,000 dollars, along with other donors they were able to secure about 1 million for the budget. This was due to studios pushing back against PoC in the lead roles, suggesting names like Nicolas Cage and Bruce Willis. Director Tran Quoc Bao stuck to his guns and faught for the project to be filmed in the way he wrote it. For better or worse, Bao was able to complete the project his way.
The film plays as a series of fights as the three leads try to find out who murdered their old mentor from childhood. The choreography is mostly great, but the fights themselves often devolve into silliness and an almost slapstick element emerges. There is nothing wrong with comedy in Kung Fu films, but the tonal inconsistencies are a bit distracting. The lessons learned stay true to the characters and the core message of the film.
Overall this is a fun action film, the budget constraints and slapstick humor prevent it from elevating itself from its peers, but if you are a fan of the genre there is a lot to like.
Running Time: 1hr and 51m
Rated PG-13 for some strong language, offensive slurs, and violence