Tiger Cage 2 (1990)

Posted in Reviews by - June 07, 2020
Tiger Cage 2 (1990)

One of the all-time great Donnie Yen beat-’em-ups, this concludes a trilogy of contemporary crime films by the Yuen clan for Dickson Poon’s D&B Films, grand purveyors of all-out crazy stunt-filled fight fests with off-colour humour and ‘girls with guns’. Their previous titles together include Tiger Cage (1988) and In the Line of Duty 4 (1989). Despite the title, this has nothing to do with the first Tiger Cage film, although there’s a distinct through-line in tone and style across all three movies, not to mention many of the same cast and crew. This sees a retired cop (Donnie Yen) and his divorce lawyer (Rosamund Kwan) involved in an ‘on-the-run’ romantic premise in which they are framed for the killing of a colleague and have to evade cops and crooks to clear their name. The crooks are led by a money laundering city boy, played by Robin Shou, working in cahoots with American drug dealers in┬áhot pursuit of a suitcase full of cash. The cops are led by go-getting super-chief Cynthia Khan who, despite being completely awesome in all her scenes, is unceremoniously ejected from the film before the final third. The cosy central double act is disturbed when a new squeeze comes between them; an honourable crook played by David Wu, forming an awkward love triangle. The coquettish Kwan is lumbered with an utterly useless character who can’t fight, can’t swim, crashes a car and, in one sequence, renders herself unconscious by walking into a lamppost. She’s a liability, and it is almost always left to the men around her to help her out; in return, she gets accosted, thrown about, and punched in the face. It is a testament to Kwan’s natural grace and charm that she still manages to come out of the film with any dignity at all. Donnie, in one of his best early leading roles, is lightening in a bottle, displaying brash comedic chops, foppish good looks, and a cavalcade of physical talent. The final act sees him dispense with John Salvitti in a staged showdown with Samurai swords in one of Hong Kong action cinema’s greatest battles. But that’s not all; Donnie also sees off Michael Woods with his hands tied, relying only on his full repertoire of flying kicks, and Robin Shou feels the full force of his deadly kung fu strikes. Its all undeniable evidence to support Donnie Yen’s standing as one of kung fu cinema’s leading talents.

AKA: Tiger Cage II.

This post was written by
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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