Fantasia 2020: “The Paper Tigers”

© The Paper Tigers

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Remember the good old movies with Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Cynthia Rotrock, and Jean Claude Van Damme that were all about martial arts? Was it not fun watching them without worrying about popcorn? If your answer is yes, then you will most certainly enjoy “The Paper Tigers” from writer and director Quoc Bao Tran.

It’s worth mentioning that “The Paper Tigers” gives you everything you may expect from this hugely entertaining genre. The movie follows three charismatic friends who, since turning into teenagers, were trained in martial arts by Master Sifu. It seems everything they need is being presented on a silver platter be it fighting skills, discipline, hunger for more victories, attention from girls, and the tournament they just got invited to. But something goes wrong and the three friends, Danny (Alain Uy), Hing (Ron Yuan), and Jim III (Mykel Shannon) diverge from their singular path only to reunite thirty years later, after the death of Sifu.

The film opens with a fight in the dark. It is then we are taken to thirty years earlier, to find the friends who are training hard under the tutelage of Master Sifu. Studying Kung Fu is the meaning of life for Danny, Hing, and Jim, and when they get the chance to showcase their martial arts skills in Japan, the film goes straight to where it all began, thirty years later, to the events that will lead three friends to end up in the fight of a lifetime. Danny is a divorcee father who loves his son dearly. During one of those times when he could get to spend quality time with his son, he receives a phone call informing about the death of Sifu.

As the story unfolds, the three friends, after reuniting, suspect foul play and begin to investigate the death of the man who taught them to become who they are. However, they did not age well either, in terms of skills, which is also proven when they were challenged by their long time opponent, Carter, who seems to have improved and become much better than he was all those years ago. But when it comes to standing by a friend, they all put the past behind and go against the one common enemy who is willing to defeat anyone with one punch.

“The Paper Tigers” is an exceptionally entertaining film filled with fighting scenes and offers a bit of comedy and drama to shift our moods from time to time. Whether it is the direction or screenplay, the film has no flaws to complain about. As for the performances, you can’t desire more. The entire cast delivers their best for you to have the best time you can while you watch the film from the comfort of your home. As for the moral of the story, the film conveys an important message that fear should not drive us, friendship must be cherished, and when it comes to standing up for the weak or the defeated one, we should never hesitate by doing our best to help uplift them.

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