The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tiger Claws II (1996)

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Considering I got my hands on the three Tiger Claws movies, and I already reviewed part 1, it was only a matter of time before part 2 made it's way up here as well. The cast for this effort just looks so promising: Merhi, Rothrock, and Bolo return from the first one, plus you throw in Ong Soo Han and DTVC favorite Evan Lurie. This had to be good, right?

Tiger Claws II takes place however long after part one. Cynthia Rothrock is living in San Francisco, Jalal Merhi got a haircut, and Bolo Yeung is in a holding cell meditating. That's when Even Lurie tries to sell guns to Ong Soo Han's gang, the deal goes sour when Merhi interrupts it, and Han busts Bolo out of jail. Then Lurie, Bolo, and Han's two hatchet men take a cross country trip to San Fran in a French fry mobile, and Merhi follows them out there and teams up with Rothrock again. But just what is Han up to? And why is Bolo seeming like such a good guy? And why is Evan Lurie so awesome?

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Somehow this devolved into a bad underground tournament flick with a mystical temporal gate that could send Tiger students back to their ancient homeland. The thing was, that devolution was preceded by very little action. It was like a bad detective film, with Lurie popping up from time to time being awesome, and Bolo somehow redeeming himself from his former life as a serial killer. At the end, the fighting tournament, though totally random, had some of the best fighting in the film. I have no idea why Ong Soo Han was cast, because his fighting was barely used, and as an actor he was pretty silly. This was no Demon from Bloodsport II, I'll tell you that. I don't know, with a cast like the one this film boasted, there should be a martial arts fight scene every ten to fifteen minutes, and instead we just got some decently choreographed fights in the last 25 minutes or so.

This might be the best looking Rothrock has been in any of her movies, but we don't watch Rothrock strictly for how pretty she is, we want to see her fight, and she did almost none until the very end. If you remember, she didn't fight much in the first Tiger Claws either. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens in the third and last one, but I'm not holding out much hope. What I need to do is get my hands on a copy of Martial Outlaw 2, so I'll keep my eye out.

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Boy do we love Evan Lurie here at the DTVC. Though imdb lists a film he did in 1980 called The Offenders, his career really doesn't start until 1991, when he has a bit part as a bouncer in Double Impact. For the next 6 years, he would go on to do 12 more movies, the last being Operation Cobra with Don "The Dragon" Wilson, and then that was it. His best film out of the ones I've seen him in is American Kickboxer 2, but Tiger Claws II is a decent second. He only fights at the very end, and he plays a baddie throughout, but every scene he was in he was awesome. Where did you go Evan Lurie, the world of DTV needs you!

Redemption in a bad movie is often a very loose concept. I understand that Tiger Claws came out about 4 years before its sequel, but with all the flashbacks they gave us, it was hard to forget that Bolo Yeung was a VICIOUS SERIAL KILLER!!!! Now you're going to tell me he's a good guy? Or as Merhi suggests: "He's a man of honor." Yes, Merhi, a man of honor who KILLED YOUR BEST FRIEND IN THE LAST FILM!!!! I've never been a fan of long stretches of capital letters and multiple exclamation points, but I'm not sure how else to show how I want to say this. Forgive me for this one lapse in discretion.

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You may have noticed that all the pics I chose for the post are of Mr. Yeung. He was just hilarious in this movie. In one scene he's making French fries for cops out of the French fry truck Lurie stole. The cops wake him up, and he just gets his apron on and has at it. Of course, the gig is up when he puts mustard on their fries-- ewww. You know what I like? McDonald's french fries with their sweet n' sour sauce. Another one is the thicker fries that come with a seafood platter, dipped in some of the seafood joint's tartar sauce. Of course, there's always the classic ketchup as well. That's what I do at Burger King or Wendy's, because I don't care for their sweet n' sour sauce. I know people who do barbecue sauce too, but it's never been my bag.

I better wrap this up before I go on too much of a tangent about French fries. Not the best Rothrock in terms of fighting, but probably her at her hottest looking. Lurie was great as always, but he doesn't fight until the end, so that's kind of a waste too. Then there's Bolo Yeung, inexplicably as a good guy serial killer who runs a fryolator. If you find it used cheap on VHS, go for it, because it would make for a great bad movie night. Otherwise, if you're looking for seriously good action, you'll be disappointed.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0126698/

4 comments:

  1. This movie is so bad it could give you AIDs. Boring, hardly any action, lame choreography, Bolo wasted and just plain awful. A horrendous movie all around.

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  2. Agreed. I'd say more than Bolo was wasted, because at least with Bolo we got him working the fryolator. Lurie, Rothrock, Merhi, and Han Soo Ang all wasted as well.

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  3. I second how awesome it was seeing Bolo make the cops french fries... I hope I don't go to my local Burger King, look behind the counter, and find out that's where he's been the past five years or so... Remind me not to ask for mustard if that's the case.

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  4. I know, when I saw it in teh movie I was like "mustard? Who likes that?", but then I realized that was the "give himself away" moment. Do you think Bolo would fit in a Burger King kitchen?

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