The Cyprus Tigers (1990)

Posted in Reviews by - March 07, 2020
The Cyprus Tigers (1990)

Apart from some diverting stunt work and action scenes – de rigueur for a Phillip Ko flick – this is pretty hideous stuff, and we’re not just talking about the suits. A flop on release, the gags are broad and dodgy, and include two Chinese actors playing crude Japanese roles (Luk Chuen, Robin Shou), a repeated homophobic skit which seems to find the idea of a gay cop hilarious, and Winston Ellis getting the brunt of some awful racial slurring – all very indefensible. And then there is the subject of Conan Lee, who leads the lampooning in his first role under a short-lived contract at Phillip Ko’s Regent Films. Its a role which, we can only assume, was meant to be a riff on a Jackie Chan-style supercop, only with Lee swapping Chan’s charm for completely erratic idiocy. His character is called ‘Climax’ in the subtitles, and his buddy, played by Simon Yam (effortlessly cool), is called Dick, which gives you an idea of the level we’re working on. Along with Kid (Cheung Chi-tak), the trio refer to themselves as the ‘Oriental Tigers’, Cyprus’ answer to the Keystone Cops. And, yes, that’s Cyprus, the Mediterranean island country where Phillip Ko has managed to combine making an action film with his summer vacation. Ko plays a businessman who is obviously bad news from the get-go, spending his private-time counterfeiting American dollars. Then there’s a weird section – seemingly lifted from a different film – in which Simon Yam returns to Hong Kong to play doting father to Joey Wang’s child, before he returns to Cyprus where the action gets going again. So it’s not only offensive, but it’s a big old mess too.

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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