Tiger Claws (1992)

Posted in Reviews by - May 26, 2012
Tiger Claws (1992)

Canadian jewellery entrepreneur Jalal Merhi surrounds himself with real martial artists for his first feature film, self-financed and designed to showcase his own somewhat dubious talents. Linda (Rothrock) and Tarek (Merhi) are kung fu cops investigating a spate of killings with links to New York’s Chinatown district (even though we are clearly in Canada), where a string of insolent so-called masters are left with bloodied claw-like marks on their face and body. Tarek may be the department’s wild card but he knows the tiger style when he sees it. The trail leads to the pantomime evilness of Bolo Yeung, a psychopathic purist who has taken umbrage at the bastardisation of traditional Chinese kung fu styles. His initial victims are a phoney TV instructor and a histrionic American master who shouts, “Now it’s not about what you do, it’s how you look.” The martial politics is forgotten quite early on in favour of very cheap thrills, but the fact it’s there at all makes for an interesting distraction. The star-crossed leads are good company if a little stilted, like all first dates, and the chemistry works even during the film’s less athletic moments. And chopsocky fans will enjoy the finale, pitching blonde fury Rothrock against kung fu film favourite Bolo, who surely deserves some recognition as cinema’s best bastard.

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