Return of the Tiger
"...a first-time Bruce Li viewer wouldn't guess he's an imitator if it wasn't for his name! "
Return of the Tiger (1979)
Director: Jimmy Shaw
Producer: Jimmy Shaw, R.P. Shah
Writer: Wang Cheong, Chang Shun Yee
Action Director: Hsieh Hsing
Cast: Ho Chung Tao (aka Bruce Li), Paul Smith, Chang Yi, Angela Mao, Lung Fei, Hsieh Hsing, Cheng Fu-Hsiung, Hsueh Han, Wu Chia-Hsiang, Wang Yung-Hseng, Wang Fei, Ko Shou-Liang
Running Time: 92 min.
Plot: Bruce Li, working as an undercover agent, defends himself against a narcotics smuggling syndicate.
PERKELE'S REVIEW: This amusing film begins perfecly with a big kung fu brawl when Angela Mao challanges a whole martial arts school of male fighters to fight with her. The Commodores' Brick House bassline accompanies Angela as she throws her beautifully executed kicks to knock fown at least 20 opponents. When a few fellows try to throw knives at her, she suddenly jumps high in the air [with very cheesy looking wire trick, only adding to the entertainment] to catch the knives! This is some neat shit [I still can't believe that the same dude who directed this is responsible for "Fist of Fury II", the worst HK movie ever]! Then the film cuts to a scene which might be the worse lip-sync ever as a Chinese dude "sings" Wild Cherry's Play That Funky Music at some night club. Meet Bruce Li, a vengeful fighter whose father has been murdered by crime boss Paul Smith. Li is at his best, looking extremely cool and though posing in his 70's clothes. Actually he's dressed pretty much in today's fashion with his denim jacket, three-striped adidas shoes & shit [that goes to Angela, too]. What's more; he isn't imitating Bruce Lee! That's right, though he somewhat looks and fights like him, a first-time Bruce Li viewer wouldn't guess he's an imitator if it wasn't for his name!
The first half of the film moves swifly as the plot builds up and Li beats the crap out of Paul Smith's assistants in a few excellent bouts. But when the second half of the movie begins, and we are allready sure we're watching a firm classic, the pacing slows down. There's extremely dull 20 minutes without any action scenes, and the next one [the motorcycle fight] is stupid and unexciting. From then on, we are waiting for the big final showdown, which in fact is a big final let-down. Mostly due the fact that the main villain Paul Smith can't fight worth a shit, he's the stupid Goliath-type big, strong westerner who doesn't even notice when someone hits him in the head with a bench. Another annoying thing is that the martial arts expertise of Chang Yi isn't showed at all! He has only one very lame fight with that roaring gorilla, Paul Smith. The scenes which DOES NOT include Smith are good, but the actual end fight is pretty boring. It's a shame because this flick could've really been something!
PERKELE'S RATING: 5.5/10