Tiger on the Beat II

Reviewed by YTSL

Those who regard the director of this in-name-only sequel to a popular action comedy that starred Chow Yun-Fat, Conan Lee and Nina Li Chi as “Hong Kong’s neglected master” (See Stefan Hammond’s “Hollywood East”, 2000:86) probably will be appalled by it being so that when this under-appreciator of Old School kung fu flicks -- someone who will readily admit to having viewed and enjoyed more Fruit Chan and Wong Kar Wai films than that of Lau Kar Leung -- first saw him in action in “The Thirty Million Dollar Rush”, I thought he was Teddy Robin Kwan.  To prevent a potentially dangerous further heightening of their blood pressure, here’s suggesting that fans of the man who also has been affectionately referred to as “The Pops” might want to forego reading (the rest of) this less than positive write-up of a Karl Maka executive produced work that -- with the (almost sole) exception of the many stuntmen who appeared to be immensely willing to suffer for their “art” and did so over the course of the filming of this offering -- this (re)viewer really does not think reflects well on anybody involved in its making.

Danny Lee and Ellen Chan
For starters, TIGER ON THE BEAT 2 has one of those wafer thin action movie plots that have given Hong Kong films an overall and collective bad rap.  In lieu of this generally mediocre offering’s story line not involving a couple of cop comrades in arms though, in addition to the script’s usual chief function of linking together a series of opportunities to stage a good number of painful-looking fights and pain-inducing stunts (one of which -- more specifically, a 35 foot fall that gets shown from a couple of different angles -- actually caused one of the work’s leads to wind up in hospital for a few months), somewhat plausible reasons were being sought for:  A middle-aged policeman (Yick Lim -- whose rank gets variously identified as “sergeant” and “captain” -- is portrayed by an often exasperated looking Danny Lee) to get involved in the affairs of a boy-man referred to as Buffalo (who is frequently over-played by the American-Chinese Conan Lee); and the two disparate personalities to have some modicum of interest in the welfare of a pretty annoying female character (The inappropriately named Sweet Dream comes in the quite buxom form of Ellen Chan).
Conan Lee, Melvin Wong and Roy Cheung
As it turned out, the first of those relations was fairly easily made by way of having the unsophisticated plainclothes detective turn out to be Buffalo’s uncle, who gets charged by his U.S. resident elder sister to find her bachelor as well as sailor son -- i.e., the aforementioned Buffalo -- a good woman to marry (or at least be interested in seriously pursuing).  Even if not particularly imaginatively, the second connection did get rather conveniently established using the “accidents” and “coincidences” route which had TIGER ON THE BEAT 2’s one-dimensional protagonists and de facto female lead just happening to be in a range of places at the same time (plus involved Sweet Dream coming to possess a murdered criminal’s ring that is needed by his betrayers to carry out a lucrative drug deal).
Danny Lee, James Wong and Ellen
Since a bunch of fortuitous “twists of fate” plus some less fortunate “chance occurrences” also are what get relied upon to bring about further major story developments in TIGER ON THE BEAT 2, it seems manifestly clear that little thought was spent by scriptwriters Wong Ho Yee and Cheung Kai Yee on seeking to do much more than connect the plot dots.  For that matter, neither did much effort appear to have been put in by them towards endowing this work’s considerable number of subsidiary characters -- who include the more than occasionally Keystone Cops-like police officers played by Maria Cordero, James Wong, Norman Tsui and some much less familiar faced actors along with the generic acting villains of the piece essayed by the likes of Roy Cheung, Gordon Liu and Mark Houghton -- with all that much depth; so much so that I got moved to suspecting that the probable major purpose for having so many of them around might well have been to ensure that this offering would actually be a movie length production.
Gordon Liu, Danny, Maria Cordero and Conan
Considering the number of able fighters and drama-capable personnel in its cast (and at the crew’s disposal), one of the biggest missteps of all by director Lau Kar Leung -- and those others who had the power to really make a difference with regards to the quality and such of TIGER ON THE BEAT 2 -- may well have been to have this production primarily be a comedy (rather than a more serious, all-out actioner).  In all honesty, since I don’t consider myself to have been in a particularly demanding mood when settling down to view this much talent-wasting effort, I would have been prepared to (largely) overlook TIGER ON THE BEAT 2 having the kind of inept scripting it has -- that additionally manifested itself in the clumsy way in which a series of heavy-handed comments about the (then impending) 1997 Handover were clumsily inserted into the 1990 movie along with the frequent use of the “f” word as the frustrated expression of choice for the American Buffalo -- if there had been some bona fide powerhouse or slick action in it to enjoy.  Instead, I find myself suggesting that others spare themselves the experience I had of getting irritated by:  Seeing such implausibilities as Danny Lee driving a fast-moving car without having any hands on its steering wheel along with Conan Lee sometimes feeling the bloody effects of glass shards cutting his bare feet but other times not seeming to do so; never mind finding it impossible to ignore the large amount of typos and grammatical mistakes that blight this workmanlike offering’s not too professionally rendered English subtitles.
Ellen and Norman Tsui

My rating for the film:  5.

Conan's infamous stunt gone wrong