GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Movie Review: The Paper Tigers (2020) on Amazon Prime | I Smell Sheep

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Movie Review: The Paper Tigers (2020) on Amazon Prime

The Paper Tigers (2020)
May 7, 2021
Director: Quoc Bao Tran
Writer: Quoc Bao Tran
Cast: Alain Uy, Ron Yuan, Mykel Shannon Jenkins, Matthew Page
Rating: PG-13 (Offensive Slurs|Violence|Some Strong Language)
Genre: Sports And Fitness, Action, Comedy
Runtime: 1h 48m
Three martial artists--notorious in their prime as "the three tigers"--have grown into middle-aged men one kick from a pulled muscle. But after their teacher's murder, they must juggle dead-end jobs, dad duties, and old grudges to avenge him.

I think it's important to understand some background on this film to really appreciate what they have done. All the info from:

The director and producers had a strong admiration for martial arts and old-school fun martial arts films. Bao Tran used his friendships and classmates from when he studied martial arts as inspiration.

They had a male Asian-American main character in mind with a minority leading cast but they were worried about whitewashing by a studio...and guess what?! Hollywood producers offered them 4 million dollars BUT there could be no Asian lead character and suggested that Bruce Willis be the lead and a part for Nicholas Cage had to be added... 

I'll give you a moment to let that sink in...

Bao Tran and company said no and crowdfunded their movie. They raised $124k on Kickstarter in 2018 and then some private investors (including someone who learned under Bruce Lee) added one million dollars more. They made the indie movie in Seattle's Chinatown-International District. The local businesses offered free food and lodging and production studio space for the cast and crew.

Okay, history lesson over...

 The Paper Tigers is a movie about childhood friends, growing up and growing apart, and reconnecting. It switches between the three main characters' childhood martial art lessons with their shifu (Kung Fu master) and present day. The whole murder mystery is kind of flimsy. It is just a device to bring the three together. And it has a definite indie feel. The humor is predictable and cliche but the inclusion of Matthew Page's stereotype character is hilarious. There is also some great Kung Fu fighting. 

WARNING: This part is my personal opinion and doesn't represent other members of the I Smell Sheep staff.
If the director had had a studio budget and resources would the movie have been better? I some ways, yes. But in the most important way, no. Whitewashing is a systemic problem in more than just the entertainment industry and it makes me angry.

My husband and I enjoyed The Paper Tigers and give it
3 1/2 "poison fingered" Sheep


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