Tiger Cage (1988)

Posted in Reviews by - June 07, 2020
Tiger Cage (1988)

Great Hong Kong cop film from the Yuen clan which follows the John Woo-inspired trend for ballistic gun fighting, suited foreign drug gangs, and corruption in the police force. The film is driven by a young and vibrant cast (Simon Yam, Carol Cheng, Jacky Cheung, Donnie Yen) with dependable support from old kung fu favourites (Leung Kar-yan, Fung Hark-on, Wang Lung-wei). The film starts with bullets flying over Hong Kong when a drug bust goes wrong and the dealer, Wang Lung-wei, escapes, exposing undercover cop Leung Kar-yan in the process. He is getting married to Carol Cheng, has a weak heart and plans to retire, so it’s not too surprising when Wang returns to unload a double-barrel shotgun into his guts, causing the cops to go rogue in a vengeful bid to take down the cartel. All evidence seemingly points closer to home – as well as some crafty drug-pushing gweilos – and the cops end up fighting among themselves to root-out the rat in their gang. Donnie Yen – clearly the film’s best fighter – exits the movie early on, causing a slight dip in programming before the film picks up again for the final act. This is when pop singer Jacky Cheung steps up to show his versatility as an actor in a very early starring role, working up a mix of boyish charm and manic intensity. Simon Yam is mercurial as ever, and Carol Cheng is not underserved as an honourable police officer who returns to the force to uncover the truth, stepping into the brutal action like the kind of ass-kicking heroine you would expect to find in a D&B movie. The tone is relatively consistent for a Hong Kong action film, played mostly with a straight face, apart from an early bonding sequence where the cast have a food fight and jump into a pond. Solid stuff.

AKA: Sure Fire.

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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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