Midway through “The Paper Tigers Full Movie ,” there’s a brawl in an empty pool: on the left, a trio of arrogant youngsters with serious moves; on the right, three middle-aged men who tout their seniority. The Tigers were once Seattle’s greatest kung fu fighters. Key word: “Once.”
Danny (Alain Uy), a divorced dad, gets the wind knocked out him; Hing (Ron Yuan) hobbles around on a bad knee; Jim (Mykel Shannon Jenkins) runs a boxing studio but doesn’t remember what to do with his hands. Somehow, the Tigers emerge victorious. But their methods are, uh, not flattering.
Funded by a Kickstarter campaign, this charming debut from the writer and director Tran Quoc Bao reworks the kung fu comedy through the lens of his experience growing up as a Bruce Lee-loving Asian-American on the West Coast.
In the opening, home video-style footage depicts our heroes as sprightly teenagers training under their beloved Sifu Cheung (Roger Yuan). Twenty-five years later, the estranged grumps reunite to avenge their master’s death. Unfortunately, The Paper Tigers Full Movie Free the distended, sometimes clichéd plot detracts from the snappiness of the comedy, which otherwise brims with snort-inducing one-liners. Particularly funny is a Chinese-speaking white guy (Matthew Page), who fancies himself more Asian than the actual Asians.
Bao’s lighthearted, refreshing approach neither succumbs to whitewashing nor the model-minority myth. The film sticks to the action-comedy basics, which is just fine. With only a couple of clicks of the dial and a little dash of hybrid vigor, the hackneyed can be made fresh again, a point proven by Tran Quoc Bao’s silly and special little kung fu comedy “The Paper Tigers.” Balancing the naive structure of an old Shaw Brothers movie (a vengeance mission with an escalating series of fights en route to the Big Boss showdown) with the kind of male-midlife-comedy schtick that bought Judd Apatow a house or six, Tran’s irresistibly good-humored debut is a diverting blend of Hong Kong and Hollywood that delivers, on a slender, Kickstarter-enhanced budget, a rousing roundhouse hug to both traditions.
Danny (Alain Uy), Hing (Ron Yuan) and Jim (Mykel Shannon Jenkins) have become estranged in the 25 years since they were “The Three Tigers,” disciples of kung fu master Sifu Cheung (Roger Yuan) — scenes that play out with younger actors in lovingly re-created garage VHS footage. The ebullient Hing, trained in the arcane healing arts, now sports extra padding, a toupee and a busted knee. Jim, as a trainer, has remained in peak condition — his rippling biceps are on gratifying display in a selection of sleeveless tees — but has forgotten the specifics of his kung fu training. And Danny, the “undefeated” prodigy and Cheung’s anointed successor, The Paper Tigers 2021 Full Movie has turned his back on his talents entirely. Now a meek insurance agent who constantly disappoints his son (Joziah Lagonoy) and his ex-wife (Jae Suh Park) by prioritizing work over fatherly hang time, his later-life “walk away” philosophy looks less like nobility and more like defeatism.