'The Paper Tigers' - Movie Review

In the 1970s and 1980s, there were a slew of period (usually set before the invention of the gun) martial arts movies coming out of Hong Kong that amounted to "OMG they killed our master we must take revenge!" These were serious and bloody - and yet often quite cheesy. "Paper Tigers" riffs on this particular subgenre of the martial arts film - with several major differences. It's set in a modern (unnamed) American city, it's a comedy, and the disciples on the hunt for the evil-doer are middle-aged men who are out of practice. It reminded me quite a bit of Stephen Chow's wonderful "Shaolin Soccer" - in which a former Kung Fu student rounds up his middle-aged, out-of-practice former compatriots in a modern Chinese city to ... play soccer. If you like one of these two films, you should see the other - although Chow's outing is significantly more surreal.

As a former martial artist, I was particularly impressed with some of the things Alain Uy did in the lead. Not terribly flashy or impressive, but some of it was exceptionally difficult and/or shockingly fast. Because it wasn't "flashy or impressive," that work alone couldn't make this a good movie - but happily, it was supported by better acting (and a better script) than you'd expect in a martial arts movie, and a lot of laughs. Recommended for fans of the genre.