"...has enough good things going for it that it’s actually worth watching."
- Mighty Peking Man
The Man Called Tiger (1973)
AKA: A Man Called Tiger, Man Called Tiger
Director: Lo Wei
Producer: Raymond Chow
Cast: Jimmy Wang Yu, Okada Kawai, Maria Yi, James Tien, Han Ying Chieh, Lee Kwan, Tien Feng, Lo Wei
Running Time: 76 min.
Plot: See review below.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S REVIEW: “The Man Called Tiger” is the story of a no-nonsense tough guy (Jimmy Wang Yu) who infiltrates the local Yakuza to investigate the truth behind his father’s death. Teaming up with a fellow Chinaman (James Tien) and a couple of beauties (Okada Kawai and Maria Yi), he tackles the Japanese evildoers with a foot of fury!
Rumor has it that Bruce Lee was originally cast to play the lead in “The Man Called Tiger,” but due to his much-publicized squabble with director Lo Wei (who made Bruce’s first two movies, “The Big Boss” and “Fist of Fury”), the two went separate ways. Bruce, who formed his own company, “Concord Productions,” went on to star, write and direct “Way of the Dragon.”
Meanwhile, Lo Wei continued the production of “The Man Called Tiger” with Jimmy Wang Yu (“One-Armed Swordsman”) taking over for Bruce.
It all makes sense: Lo Wei’s “The Man Called Tiger” starred Han Ying Chieh, Maria Yi, James Tien, Lee Kwan, Tien Feng and Lo Wei himself; on the other hand, Bruce Lee’s “Way of the Dragon” starred whoever was left of the Bruce Lee/Lo Wei camp: Nora Miao, Paul Wei Ping Ao, Unicorn Chan, Lau Wing and Wong Chung Shun.
The rest is history...
The film opens with Japanese actress Okada Kawai singing a catchy, bittersweet song over the cast and credits. During this classy intro, I was lead to believe that I was about to watch something Lo Wei put his heart and soul into.
Boy, was I wrong.
“The Man Called Tiger” is rushed filmmaking at its finest. Together with its jumpy camera work, scenes that don’t match up, and a confusing plot, you get the feeling that nobody, not even Lo Wei, gave a shit. You would think they’d put some effort, especially since they flew to Japan to film this one, but that’s not the case.
I’m a Jimmy Wang Yu fan, and I’ve seen a lot of his movies, but this is the first time he comes across looking like an idiot. I’m not going into details, because I really can’t find the words to describe some of the goofy movements this guy makes during some of the action sequences.
“The Man Called Tiger” is a terrible movie, but it has enough good things going for it that it’s actually worth watching:
Action sequences: It’s basically your standard Wang Yu basher, but the majority of the action is surprisingly well done. I’m not saying the action is great, but for a movie like this, it was decent enough.
The bloody climax: Wearing all white, Wang Yu takes on a gambling hall full of axe-wielding bad guys. In the process, he gets a lot of red paint all over him. Who doesn't love a bloody battle?
Early 70’s fashion: Wang Yu has never looked sharper. Seriously, the multi-colored suits look gangster. The same can be said about Maria Yi in her yellow outfit. Yummy.
James Tien dies: What’s interesting is he dies the same exact way he did in “The Big Boss.” Before you accuse me of spoiling it for you, ask yourself, what movie does James Tien’s character actually survive?
Takes place in Japan: In the kung fu movie world, almost everything is filmed within the same city and landscapes, so it’s refreshing to see one filmed in Japan. Many of the supporting cast members are also local Japanese actors and actresses.
Cable car fight: Definitely not as cool as the one done years later in “Moonraker” (1979), but Wang Yu does one-up Bond by actually jumping off the cable car.
To sum it up, “The Man Called Tiger” is definitely worth watching if you’re a Jimmy Wang Yu fan, a 70’s-era Golden Harvest completist, or if you want some unintentionally funny entertainment. If you’re looking for an all-round good movie, look elsewhere.
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S RATING: 4/10 (8/10 for historic reasons)