PAPER TIGERS, THE
(director/writer: Quoc Bao Tran; cinematographer: Shaun Mayer; editor: Kris Kristensen; music: Daniel L.K. Caldwell; cast: Yuji Okumoto(Wing), Matthew Page (Carter), Ron Yuan (Hing), Mykel Shannon Jenkins (Jim), Alain Uy (Danny), Roger Yuan ( Sifu Cheung), Peter Sudarso (Teen Hing), Yoshi Sudarso (Teen Danny), Jae Suh Park (Caryn), Raymond Ma (Sifu Wong), Andy Le (Fu), Thao-Nguyen Tran (Park Goer); Runtime: 108; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers;Michael Velasquez, Yuji Okumoto, Al’n Duong, Dan Gildark, Quoc Bao Tran: Beimo Films/A Well Go USA release; 2020)
“It gets over because its fight scenes are surprisingly very entertaining and unpredictable.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A familiar and spirited formulaic action-comedy is the successful but uninteresting feature debut for writer-director Quoc Bao Tran.
Seattle martial arts master Sifu Cheung (Roger Yuan) trained three young disciples, known 30 years ago in their prime as the “The Three Tigers,” who are now washed-up middle-aged losers: Danny (Alain Uy) is an insurance salesman and a neglectful divorced dad and pacifist, the overweight and the physically unfit Hing (Ron Yuan) has a recurring knee injury from a construction job, and the boxing teacher Jim (Mykel Shannon Jenkins) has forgotten how to fight.
A wake-up call comes for the estranged trio when their master is murdered and they reunite determined to get the murderer and avenge his death. It calls for getting back in mental and physical shape, and remembering what they were like in their youth. The trio is spurred on further after needled by their former nemesis, a playground-bully, the funny Chinese-speaking white man Carter (Matthew Page), who shamelessly steals from the Chinese culture but has no respect for Asians.
It’s a clunky old-fashioned martial arts film, with a clichéd story-line, and messaging about family values and cheering for traditional values. It gets over because its fight scenes are surprisingly very entertaining and unpredictable.
REVIEWED ON 6/27/2021 GRADE: B-