Growing up Bruce Lee was my dude! C’mon, who didn’t love Enter The Dragon or watching him do his thing as ‘Kato” on ‘The Green Hornet’ televison series. Lee, Jackie Chan and the Karate Kid franchise (new and old) brought Kung Fu to westerners and made us fall in love with this beautifully, crafted art! For a split second I actually thought I wanted to become a martial artist, but when I witnessed how physically brutal the training was, my mind quickly shifted to other things like ice skating and gymnastics. It wasn’t until decades later that I realized marital arts is about the physical, but the strength or you mental and spiritual sensibiliity.
Three Kung Fu prodigies (Mykel Shannon Jenkins, Alain Uy and Ron Yuan) were the best of friends whose bonds were only strengthened through life and spiritual guidance from Sifu Cheung (Roger Yuan). Now, having grown into washed-up, middle-aged men, who are one kick away from pulling their hamstrings, all find themselves juggling dead-end jobs, daddy duties and old grudges to avenge his their beloved Sifu’s death.
When I tell you nothing gave me greater pleasure than seeing martial arts sequences where the characters had less than stellar reflexes, pulled muscles, hairpieces and just a little apprehension of facing young men that represent physcally and mentally what these Paper Tiger were in theri glory days physically and mentally – I do not exaggerate. It was great to see the reality is of older men, who in their mind, are still vibrant and flexible come to realization that mind and body sometimes do not agree. Yet, at the end of the day, mind over matter really does allow them to prevail and conquer all they struggled with in life and career.
Ron Yuan fires on all cylinders as comic relief tiger Hing with his quick witted commentary, moves and being the obvious glue holding the trio together. Alain Uy (Danny) brings fatherhood to the forefront of the story allowing us to see his flaws in spite of it all and Mykel Shannon Jenkins (Jim) brings the brawn, power and his presence is the perfect compliment to Yuan and Uy. Director and writer Tran Quoc Bao lets us have it with characters who inahbit heart, humor, and execute high-impact martia art fight scenes fans look forward to in tevery conceivable way. The Paper Tigers totally lives up to its name and reputation avenging themselves and the community they first learned to tap into confidence, trust and honor. After all, without Kung Fu, there is NO honor. Find out for yourself as it streams right now via VUDU.