老虎出更 (1988)
Tiger on the Beat


Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 04/01/2012

It's Lethal Weapon in Hong Kong, or a love story in which we learn that the way to a woman's heart is to get her brother killed, show no sympathy for it, then violently kick the crap out of her. Works every time, I tell ya... though you may not get to enjoy the fruits of your seduction for very long.

Tiger on the Beat is a comedy film, and a Hong Kong film, so it is perhaps pointless to raise objections such as "if real cops acted like these two they'd be of the force within 10 minutes"... hell, real villains probably wouldn't last very long acting like the villains of this piece, either. It doesn't really matter, it's just entertainment, right?

Tiger on the Beat was a novel venture for director Lau Kar Leung, known for his traditional martial arts movies - a genre in which he was the acknowledged master, but for which audiences had apparently lost their appetite. In the interests of career revival, a host of talents unite under his banner for this action-comedy, which features some splendidly over the top violence (some of the worst inexplicably directed at Nina Li) and a great screwball performance from Chow Yun Fat as a slacker cop partnered with muscle-from-ear-to-ear Conan Lee. Kicking ass and cracking wise, the pair manage to bungle an investigation into a drug-smuggling operation so badly that they shut it down, principally because everybody involved in it, even tangentially, ends up dead. Crime solving, Hong-Kong style.

Whilst it lacks the intellectual delights of better films in the genre, Tiger on the Beat is carried along on its enthusiastic action scenes and Chow's off-beat charisma. Whilst not a highly of Master Lau's filmography, it offers enough fun and frolics to entertain, in a sugary beverage sort of way.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 04/26/2011
Summary: i'm the sergeant, take off your pants!

sergeant francis li (chow yun-fat) is a cop with a pretty half-assed approach to his job but, when he has to team up with an up and coming rookie, michael cho (conan lee), and try to crack a drug smuggling ring, it's time for him to perk up his ideas. a little, at least. the only lead they have in the case is the involvement of marydonna (nina li), who is reluctant to help as both she and her brother, poison snake ping (phillip ko), are involved in ripping off the gangsters who are running the drugs...

one of chow yun-fat's must popular roles, as far as hong kong audiences are concerned. there's less of his suave dramatics, which give way to goofball antics and, err, beating up nina li. still, glossing over the beating, if i can, chow does put in a highly entertaining performance and, even if he is playing against type, as far as heroic bloodshed loving western audiences are concerned, there are still some amazingly cool moments; in particular the rope triggered shotgun and the knife spin.

alongside chow is conan lee, who does well as the straight guy to compliment his partner's antics. action wise, he definitely has the drop when it comes to the martial arts, even if he is put in place by a ti lung cameo. it's not a film for everyone, but if you like hong kong humour as well as action and you're willing to forgive a couple of unsavoury moments then it's a good fun watch.

oh, and two more things: the chainsaw fight and maria cordero's theme tune are both winners...


Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 07/01/2006
Summary: Old School, New Clothes

Two mis-matched cops (Chow Yun-Fat and Conan Lee) are teamed up together in a mission to smash a cocaine ring headed by westerners with the help of a Thai contact. His sister (future Mrs Jet Li, Nina Li Chi) unwittingly gets involved and it’s up to the two cops to trail her and find out what she knows.

Although the cop “buddy” films had already been done to death in the US, it’s worth pointing out that there weren’t too many of them in Hong Kong, and this is certainly a worthy entry in the genre. Although Cinema City were no match for the relative splendour of Golden Harvest, the studio does a decent job production-wise. This one’s helmed by Lau Kar-Leung, of Shaw Brothers fame, and his old-school roots show through the gritty urban setting. You even have cameos by two of the company’s biggest money-spinners in the glory days of the early 70’s. David Chiang plays the Police Commissioner in a sadly actionless capacity, but Ti Lung gets to show he can still cut it with the next generation. His cameo consists of him beating the crap out of the “star that never was” Conan Lee. Rumour has it that this fight was meant to be much longer, but Conan couldn’t hack it. Full marks then to Ti Lung!

Like it or not, eastern audiences preferred to see Chow Yun-Fat in romantic films or comedies. The “Heroic Bloodshed” films that were so popular in the west didn’t fare as well in their home territory, and subsequently this film was a massive hit in 1988. Here he plays a somewhat seedy and cowardly cop who wets himself when faced with danger, but still performs when the chips are down. I’d like to have seen Mel Gibson try to pull that one off!

Conan Lee is a different case entirely. He plays a young, headstrong idealistic cop. It’s a shame that he thwarted his career at seemingly every step, as he could have been a serious contender for Jackie Chan’s monopoly on 80’s action films. Apparently blacklisted for breaking his contract with Ng See-Yuen (presumably after NINJA IN THE DRAGON’S DEN), he made just a handful of films, and arguably none as solid as this.

So, Nina Li-Chi…

I must admit I was turned off this film entirely when I first saw it ten years ago because of the frankly shocking treatment she receives at the hands (and feet) of Chow Yun-Fat later in the film. Now, braced for the scene, it didn’t seem quite as bad, but it’s still brutal and out of place. Apparently, Li-Chi was something of a target of dislike amongst Hong Kong citizens for her outward beauty and lack of proper Cantonese skills, and people actually WANTED to see her get the crap kicked out of her. Odd! Chow Yun-Fat at least has the decency to say that he didn’t enjoy the scene…

The final showdown is a perfect case of “old school in new clothes” when Chow and Lee confront the drug lords. We get two new takes on the swordplay classics of the 60’s and early 70’s when Chow takes on the westerner and Lee takes on ANOTHER Shaw veteran Lau Kar-Fai. In Chow’s fight, he attaches a machete on to his shotgun to compete with his enemy’s bayoneted rifle. The result could easily have been from one of the ONE-ARMED SWORDSMEN films or HAVE SWORD, WILL TRAVEL. Conan Lee’s bout finds him using another variant on the swordplay theme by going one-on-one with Lau Kar-Fai – with chainsaws! Excellent stuff.

Sadly, director Lau-Kar-Leung couldn’t capitalise on this hit and he’s pretty much forgotten for his forays into modern-day Heroic Bloodshed filmmaking. So much so that I remember reading that Joel Silver (producer of the LETHAL WEAPON films) once praised the “rope-trigger” shotgun gag of this film as being an example of the creative genius of…John Woo. Ouch!

As a footnote, if you liked this film you should also see CURRY AND PEPPER, which is another superior “buddy cop” thriller, but with funnier jokes.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/27/2005

Chow and Lee play the typical mismatched cop buddies. Chow is the slacker veteran who sports loud Hawaiian shirts and drives around in a spiffed-up Yugo, while Lee is the buffed-out hot-headed rookie. Together, they must try and stop a drug lord.

Tiger on the Beat is just a really fun movie to watch. It's great seeing Chow play totally against type (during the opening scene, he wets himself when a gun is placed to his head, quite the opposite of the super-cool characters he usually plays) and his chemistry with Lee is great. While the plot is by the book, Chow and Lee's rapport really helps keep the film moving, especially during the comedic scenes, such as one where a thug demands that they take off their pants. The scene could have been a real stinker, but Lee and especially Chow pull it off.

The action in Tiger on the Beat is also top-notch and quite inventive. If you want to see Chow kick some ass with his fists instead of a gun, this is a good place to look -- but don't worry, there's plenty of gunfire in the movie and it's quite good, especially the finale, where Chow combines a bungee cord and a shotgun for explosive results. The finale also sports a Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2-inspired chainsaw duel that has to be seen to be believed.

While it may be a bit goofy for some people, Tiger on the Beat is a great "no-brainer" movie. Don't think so hard about "little" things like plot and characterization and you'll have a good time with it.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]


Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Date: 07/12/2005
Summary: Buddy cops again? Watch Chow Yun Fat.

A departure of character for Chow Yun-Fat, Tiger on Beat is an action/comedy that places two mismatched cops together on a case to bust a Thai drug-dealing ring. Chow Yun-Fat plays Francis Li, a notoriously lazy and disinterested cop who gets teamed with gung-ho new recruit Michael Cho (Conan Lee - a dead ringer for a young Jackie Chan). Francis's style may be unorthodox, but it leads them to Marydonna (Nina Li), the sister of one of the Thai dealers that had been murdered after stealing some of the merchandise and selling it for himself. Marydonna gets nabbed by the gang, but Michael manages to bust in and chases off the bad guys before she is killed. Later, a couple of breaks allow Francis and Michael to bust the gang in the middle of a huge deal, but the main enforcer (Gordon Liu) escapes, and manages to kidnap Francis's sister. After he demands a trade for the gang's leader (Tsui Siu-leung), Francis and Michael go to make the switch, as well as take no prisoners in their quest to rescue Francis's sister.

Unfortunately, the "pair the two squabbling cops on a case" routine has been done before (i.e. Lethal Weapon) and this movie is pretty generic, save for the performance of Chow Yun-fat. He's very funny as the shabby, lackadaisical Francis and basically becomes the main reason for seeing the film. Although he is mostly known for the smooth, sophisticated "killer" type roles, he is also very good in his comic ones. Conan Lee plays a pretty good straight man to Yun-Fat's comic turn, but is a little stiff in his solo scenes. Although the action is plentiful, the martial arts look poorly choreographed, save for the still awesome moves of Gordon Liu, a staple of old Shaw Brothers kung fu classics. The final fight between Liu and Conan Lee is something to behold, with the two of them battling with huge chainsaws, shredding everything in sight and slicing at each other for a good 15 minutes. However, other than this exciting final battle, there isn't much that distinguishes this movie from the rest.
7/10

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Jackal
Date: 11/18/2004
Summary: Interesting

«Tiger on the Beat» is classical action comedy of Hong Kong Movie′s Golden Age. Magnificent Chow Yun Fat act charming police officer Francis Li, which much courting to girls and enough catch a gangsters. He act in classical Hong Kong′s comedy style and few take part in action episodes.
Conan Lee act strongly and stern beginner and Li′s workmate. He little smile and much fight. I like to final action episode, where Conan fight with Gordon Liu (Lau Fai). It is Great! This film is not best Chow′s movie, but interesting, amusing (sometimes too much) and shows. It have great fight episodes.

7/10


Reviewed by: balstino
Date: 07/23/2002
Summary: A Mixed Bag, overall not good.

This is a very low quality film which also found GOD (Chow Yun Fat) bringing tears of laughter to my eyes in some parts. Some hilarious comedy, some good fights, but overall its just a trashy, rubbish film. Watch it for a laugh if you must.


Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 01/13/2002
Summary: GREAT

Many people would not agree with this, I know they wouldn't, but this is probably the best Chow Yun Fat movie for a start. His mixture of comedy and action is perfect! A lot of people only like his action movies, but let's face it, he's a comedian, he always will be. Conan Lee is pretty good as Chows cop partner, and Nina Li as the annoying witness they must protect. So many laughs, I just love this one.

Rating : 5/5

(This rating is based on the year & genre, so don't think it's based as a comparison on new releases etc.)


Reviewed by: danton
Date: 01/03/2002

HK version of the Lethal Weapon type buddy cop movie, starring CYF and Conan Lee as mismatched cops battling the usual assortment of baddies. Nina Li is the love interest.

This is a late 80s movie, and it certainly looks dated. While CYF displays his usual charm (and makes a fool of himself on a number of occasions), I thought the humour was quite labored. It seemed like a very average, forgettable flick, until I got to the final showdown, which just blew me away and certainly made this movie worth watching. The final action setpiece (involving an ingenious shootout as well as hand to hand combat with buzzsaws) is inventive and very exhilarating in the best HK tradition. Marginal recommendation.


Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 07/23/2000
Summary: Pretty GOOD

When this movies wants to be funny, it IS FUNNY!! When it wants to be a action movie, it IS FILLEd WITH ACTION!!

Conan Lee is excellent in this movie, out shining even Chow Yun Fat!!

Since there are reviews here on it already, i'll just say it's a laugh and if you want action, you'll get it!!

7.25/10

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 06/06/2000
Summary: A real mess

This movie is a mixture of great action set-pieces, god-awful story and dreadful acting - even by the great Chow. And Chow's loud shirts are really something else.....

First, the action. With so many fu/action stars, you'd expect stunning pieces ... and this one delivers. My favourite is the battle of the chainsaws between Conan Lee and Gordon Liu.

Chow grins a lot, and acts goofy. Apparently, he was taking off Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon. His character's treatment of Nina Li is simply awful, and the scene where he beats her up, including smashing a coffee table with her head, is hard to watch without cringing.

A little trivia - Maria Cordero, who sang in Chow's great City On Fire also sings the theme song here.

Very puzzling is the billing of two greats from the Shaw Brothers heyday. Ti Lung is credited as "Tommy Tam", and David Chiang as "John Keung". Gawd knows why. But perhaps the second reviewer has something when he says this harks back to those glory days. Is it possibly they are using two of the former stage names of these old greats ?

Anyway, fast-forward through the scenes where people aren't getting beaten to a pulp, and you'll certainly enjoy this classic no-brainer. Otherwise.......

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/21/1999

A pretty good little actioner... mixes comedy and violencewell and Chow Yun Fat is pretty good as a goofy character... badly made though.

(6/10)

[Reviewed by Andrej Blazeka]


Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Liu Chia Liang, Shaw glory days behind him, turns his hand to directing a genre cop-buddy movie. It stars Chow Yun Fat, David Chiang, Gordon Liu and has cameos from the likes of Dik Lung and Liu Chia Yung ... personally, i was in heaven. It's sketchily put together by american editing standards- but who cares. Chow is hilarious, Gordon Liu is in it and Dik Lung is exceptionally hard. The soundtrack is stuck in the eighties but it didn't bother me, Conan Lee is good to but I know little of his other work really. The film does have some odd moments though, notably the scene where Chow is being 'cruel to be kind' to Nina Li and literally ends up beating her to a pulp. Also, I only went with the crudely exploitative opening shot of Nina Li becuase I realised that Liang is having fun with the Genre and making fun of it a bit too. Chow's closing line to the film had us in stitches, has to be watched really.

[Reviewed by Andrew Best]


Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Very entertaining take-off on "Lethal Weapon". Plenty of action and humour. Chow Yun-fat is great as usual and Conan Lee , who was obviously cast as a take-off on Jackie Chan, does a fine job.

[Reviewed by Martin Sauvageau]