As kids, as teenagers of the eighties and the nineties The Three Tigers were untouchable Kung Fu prodigies who fought off countless opponents, to build quite the reputation for themselves and their Sifu in the community and on the streets off Seattle. Sifu Cheung took them in as kids to give them focus in their life`s through Martial Arts training, to give them guidance to grow into honourable men. Instead thirty years later The Three Tigers are now all washed up middle aged men that have lost their honour and focus in life. Danny is now divorced, struggling to juggle his cooperative job with seeing his young son Ed (Joziah Lagonoy) and denies the fact that he ever knew Kung Fu. So when Hing (Ron Yuan) who is now claiming disability benefits, after falling from a scaffold at work. Comes knocking at his door to say that Sifu has died, Danny steps back into the past. At the funeral they run into an old rival 8 Hands Carter (Matthew Page) who hints that their master was murdered. Now Hing and Danny must unite with Jim (Mykel Shannon Jenkins) who is still holding a grudge with Danny, to hunt down and avenge their master`s killer. Can the Tigers pull together and put their differences aside to honour their Sifu and become The Tigers that they once were?
Firstly this is a delightful heart-warming comedy that will charm all its viewers while watching it and also an old school period Kung Fu movie set in modern times, and it works so well. There are so many laugh out loud moments, I had tears rolling down my face in one particular scene – will tell later. Just the perfect blend of comedy and drama with the old age revenge plot not really mattering, as it`s not the main focus of the film. The Storytelling, the cast and the direction of the film win through from start to finish. I did read a review saying that it sagged in the middle, I don`t think it did, the film took a break to build up the characters back grounds, to let you have a glimpse of what went wrong in their life`s. This gives us time to further care about our three paper tigers before the finale in the third act. Alain Yu who plays Danny is the perfect straight man of the piece, all three leads bounce of each other so well. Ron Yuan as Hing is truly something to watch as he brings the group back together trying to give them new hope, while reminding them of their Sifu`s teachings. Also his wig adds to the fun and the choreography of the first few fights. Mykel Shannon Jenkins will be known to fans with his performance as Turbo in Undisputed 3: Redemption. All three work well together and are equally at home in the comedy of the film, as well as the drama and the action fight scenes. One of the best scenes of the film for me (it`s all good though) is the rematch with Matthew Page`s Carter – this is where I had tears rolling down my face. Matthew is by far the funniest character in the whole film, his lines are really funny, and his scenes with the Tigers are my favourite of the film, making him my stand out actor of the film. This is not taking anything away from anyone, as they are all excellent in their roles….
Written and Directed by Quoc Bao Tran who was mentored early in his career I read by the great Corey Yuen, you can clearly see all the old school fight film influences here which made me adore this low budget Kung Fu comedy. It looks great thanks to the excellent cinematography from Shaun Mayor plus some fluent fight action from action director Ken Quitugua, who plays are part in the film. It is wonderful to watch for all Kung FU film fans as it is a mixture of period Kung Fu movie with the comedy of Drunken Master in a modern film. It really does work thanks to Quoc Bao Tran`s excellent direction and storytelling and really does deserve the attention it got while playing at film festivals around the world. Can`t wait for the next project from Tran and his team.