Comedy Fantasia Festival

Fantasia Festival Review: ‘The Paper Tigers’

September 1, 2020Ben MK

It takes honor and discipline, not to mention years of training, to become a true Kung Fu master — but for the three middle-aged martial artists in The Paper Tigers, it will take much more than mere mantras and philosophical principals to get to the bottom of who killed their former master.

Once known as the Three Tigers, Danny (Alain Uy), Hing (Ron Yuan) and Jim (Mykel Shannon Jenkins) used to be the most formidable martial arts trio in Seattle's Chinatown district. Fast forward 25 years, though, and a falling out with their Sifu (Roger Yuan), weight gain and one failed marriage has left them far from their glory days. Now, reunited in the wake of their master's passing, they finally have the opportunity to right the wrongs of their shared past. But when they learn that the killer is someone much more skilled and powerful than them, will they be able to channel their warriors within and earn the right once more to be called their Sifu's disciples?

The feature debut from writer-director Quoc Bao Tran, The Paper Tigers isn't a martial arts brawlfest, nor does it claim to be. What it is, however, is a funny, oftentimes relatable look at the lengths these three friends will go to in order to keep an old promise. And that makes it more impactful than any roundhouse kick.

The Paper Tigers makes its world premiere at the 2020 Fantasia International Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 48 min.

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