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. 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] I'd love to check out what you got. And check out my book, Chad in Accounting, over on Amazon.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Fearless Tiger (1991)

It's been almost ten years since we've had some Merhi on the site, back in 2011 when we did Expect to Die, and when Ty from Comeuppance mentioned that this was on YouTube, I figured I'd give it a look. In addition to us, Karl at Fist of the B-List has covered this as well, so you can go there to see what he thought.

Fearless Tiger features Jalal Merhi as a young guy in Canada whose father, Jamie Farr, has a very successful business that Merhi will be working in now that he's finished his MBA. That is until his younger brother ODs on some new drug, and all bets are off. He drops everything, goes to Hong Kong, and trains in martial arts so he can defeat the cartel that supplied the drugs that his brother took. Of course, he has to prove himself before he can train, so while that master at the school is waiting for Merhi to prove himself, we have some nice digressions on a mountain where Bolo Yeung trains with a woman. If that doesn't help with training, I don't know what will. Those drug cartel baddies won't know what hit them.

This isn't horrible, and it does have the added bonus of being Merhi's first film, which I thought was a cool novelty being the DTV action buff that I am. There is the issue that we have stretches without action, but this has enough late 80s/early 90s DTV plot cheese factor to see us through those. In particular, Merhi practicing Kung Fu with Bolo Yeung and the woman he has with him. I didn't know why it was happening, but I enjoyed it. Throw in Jamie Farr, and the fact that the baddie was that cross between Billy Drago and David Coverdale from Whitesnake we saw in Expect No Mercy, you have something where you can say "I could do a lot worse than this." Nowadays I think that's pretty good.

This is Merhi's 13th film on the site, and because he tends to invest in everything and set himself up as the hero, I've labeled some of his films vanity pieces. I think I may have been too hard on those, because the 2010s forced me to re-examine what the late 80s/early 90s gave us. Even if Merhi's films were vanity projects, there was an earnestness to them that the 2010s' cynical, bait-and-switch laden, jumpcut-fight scened action films couldn't touch. Considering my last Merhi post came in 2011, I couldn't have known then what that decade was going to do to us, or what kind of new perspective it gave me on films like Merhi's. Merhi made solid contributions to the DTV action world, and it's cool to see the movie where it all started.


We also have Bolo Yeung, who would go on to work on multiple projects with Merhi. Here he just has the scenes we talked about, but it was in another Merhi project, Tiger Claws II, where we saw Yeung working a food truck. According to Cynthia Rothrock on her YouTube channel, she said while they were doing the Tiger Claws movies, Yeung got upset that he hadn't been paid, and he walked off, to which Rothrock's mother, who was visiting the set, told Rothrock "Bozo just walked out," or something to that effect. That alone makes subscribing to Rothrock's YouTube channel worth it if you haven't subscribed already.

This is another 90s film that makes use of the 3-1/2 floppy disc as a MacGuffin. In 1991, that was new technology. Anyone remember trying to explain to their Boomer parents that, even though it wasn't literally floppy like a 5-1/4, we still called it a floppy disc? By the time we were able to sort that out with them, we'd moved over to CD-ROMs. By the time we explained that CD-ROMs were different from the CDs that played music, but that you could play music on the computer too, flashdrives came out, and before we could explain that that flashdrive held more than their entire case of out of date floppies, flashdrives were done and we uploaded and downloaded everything we needed from the Cloud. The thing is, you can't MacGuffin the Cloud. The Cloud can't be passed around and traded for hostages the way a 3-1/2 can. It seems like legacy technology still has its uses.


Finally, this is our first time seeing one of my all-time favorites, Jamie Farr, on the site. He was great here as Merhi's dad. One interesting fact about him: I have a Toledo Mud Hens M*A*S*H* edition baseball cap, which was designed to look like the one Farr wore on later seasons of the show. My wife Jen and I were watching an episode, and we saw him in it, and discovered, sure enough, the Mud Hens sell a version of the hat, so she got it for me for Christmas that year. Someday I guess I'll have to go out there to catch a game. I think they have a day for him every year, so that may be the game to try and see if I get the chance.

And since I'm talking more about minor league baseball than the movie, it must be time to wrap this one up. Merhi himself has uploaded this to YouTube through the Film One company he owns, so that's a great place to catch this. If you're in need of a good early 90s DTV action flick, this isn't a bad deal.

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