image courtesy of www.sensasian.com
Year of release: 1988
This DVD is available for purchase at www.sensasian.com
Jacky Cheung. Image courtesy of Universe.
Tiger Cage is one of those films that you never hear too much about, mostly because it doesn't feature one of the "big names" like Jet Li, Jackie Chan or Chow Yun-Fat. But those viewers willing to give it a chance will probably be pleasantly surprised. It's not a blockbuster by any means -- but for solid action, you could do a lot worse.
The story revolves a group of cops led by Simon Yam. After DoDo Cheng's finacee is killed, a drug running ring with ties to the department is revealed, and the group must try to find out who is on the right side of the law. This plot isn't anything mind-blowing, but the film-makers do a good job of hidng who is good and bad, and manage to hold a few surprises for the viewer.
DoDo Cheng. Image courtesy of Universe.
It seems that during the "golden age" of Hong Kong movies, there was almost an overabundance of talent, and Tiger Cage reflects this. There are just too many characters at work here, and the film can't seem to find a true protagonist, ping-ponging between Jacky Cheung, DoDo Cheng and Donnie Yen. This tends to slow down the movie during the exposition scenes, as the audience struggles to find symapthy with the characters. Yuen Woo-Ping's direction also tends to be a bit lackluster -- perhaps not concidentally, Tiger Cage ventures from the kung fu comedies Yuen is best known for. The movie holds together fine, but it needed more polish for the dramatic scenes to truly work.
However, as you might expect from a movie with five action directors, Tiger Cage delivers action and lots of it. From the first few minutes, Tiger Cage delivers a steady steam of fisticuffs and gun fu that should keep any action fan happy -- I just wish there was more of it. Compared to some other films that came out around this time, Tiger Cage (even though it is very violent in parts) comes off as a bit limp. Still, there are several outstanding scenes, most notably a brutal fight between Donnie Yen and Michael Woods, which is one of the best fight sequences to come out during this time. If you're looking for a deep and philosophical film or one with great acting, then look elsewhere. But action fans should keep an eye out for this lesser-known, but still entertaining, flick.
Donnie Yen. Image courtesy of Universe.