Rating (1.5 out of 5)
Summary: Now, here is the opposite of what I wrote about yesterday with “The Vault.” A cookie-cutter plot that is terribly executed. A solid premise but executed so poorly that it baffles me. If it wasn’t for some decent fight scenes, this would have been, as my daughter says, “Garbage.”
We spend the first 15 minutes with montages of the karate prodigies in their youth. But not as humble students who serve the community, but as assholes and bullies. The setup was a mystery to me. Because after the montage, we are thrust into the future, and the three prodigies are barely scraping by, with the leader a divorced loser. I was glad to see the leader got what he deserved.
We, the moviegoer, we are smart. The director should always assume that, if not, the movie can be dull. In “The Paper Tigers,” the director kept hammering everything home. The movie over explains everything, to the point of boredom, and this is a karate movie. The storyline about his ex-wife and son was laborious. This movie is only 1 hour and 48 minutes, but “The Paper Tigers” feels longer.
What the movie was lacking were the basics. Most importantly, we needed a training sequence where the three tigers workout to return to form. We had a little with the tennis ball on the head, but I needed a bit more to believe the final fight scene. But more importantly than that, we needed a better self-awakening moment. Danny’s (Alain Uy) realization of his value to those around him was muted.
Plot: Their mentor has been murdered, and three old karate prodigies search for his killer.