Tiger on Beat (1988)

Yun-Fat Chow, Nina Li Chi, Conan Lee, Norman Chu,
Lo foo chut gang is a movie starring Yun-Fat Chow, Nina Li Chi, and Conan Lee. A seasoned cop and his rookie partner are a pair of mismatched partners in this Hong Kong action-comedy in the style of 'Lethal Weapon'. The wacky...
  • 6.9 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Kwok Chi Tsang, Writer:
  • Chia-Liang Liu, Director:
  • Wellington Fung, Producer:
9 / 10

Incredible

Version: Cantonese, with English subtitles (by SBS)

Hong Kong cops can do anything - including jumping off bridges, trucks, cars, shoot anything they want, all while not wearing any pants as they chase a suspect. Of course, being Hong Kong cops, they could just approach a random bystander, flash their badge, and say "I'm requisitioning your pants". If I were Chow Yun Fat, its what I'd do.

'Tiger on the Beat' has all of that and more (except for the requisitioning of pants), including the obligatory English and American bad guys. Chow Yun Fat is buddied up with Conan Lee to take on a drug syndicate, and then the fun begins. The movie begins in an entertaining light-hearted action/comedy sort of way, but as the movie progresses, turns more into an excellent action movie, getting better and better along the way. Chow Yun Fat gets to drink raw eggs, and wet his pants when a gun is pointed at him. Obviously this isn't the Chow Yun Fat you would recognize from some of his work with John Woo.

Chow Yun Fat gets top billing, and doesn't disappoint (the shotgun-on-a-rope, and a fight with an American tai-chi expert are his highlights), but the amazing Conan Lee steals the show. From hard, fast-moving fight scenes and jumping off speeding cars, to an incredible, final chainsaw-fu showdown with Gordon Liu, Conan Lee is the real star of the movie.

Any Chow Yun Fat fans, and fans of Hong Kong action movies in general, should enjoy this movie. It is, simply put, awesome. Be forewarned though, there is one moment that some might find rather tasteless (you'll know it when you see it), but otherwise it really is an incredible action movie - 9/10

8 / 10

Hong Kong Lethal Weapon?

'Tiger On The Beat' is considered by some to be the Hong Kong version of 'Lethal Weapon', in which Chow Yun-Fat plays Sergeant Francis Li, a police officer who has not had a promotion in 11 years due to his constantly chasing women with his irrepressible charm instead of knuckling down to his work. His supervisor gives him his big case that he needs to earn a promotion -- a drug heist that may or may not involve a group of local Thais -- and is put with antagonistic martial-arts cop Michael Tso (Conan Lee).

Unfortunately, Francis and Michael really do not see eye to eye, and clash frequently over many things. But when things hot up, can they put their differences aside for long enough, especially when their trail leads to that of a possible link to the crime, a woman named Marie-Donna (Nina Li Chi ['Twin Dragons'], who's now best known for being married to Jet Li), is thrown into the mix?

This is more of a comedy than an all-out actioner, and some possible unintentional comedy can be found in the 1980's fashions (bright yellow trousers, anyone?). The intentional humour will depend on whether you are watching an English dub (which, like many other English dubs, loses some of that comedy) or its original Cantonese with English subtitles (and those will depend on who released the version you watched). Some of the humour doesn't travel that well outside of the Cantonese-speaking market, but there's still some great one-liners in the version I saw (the DVD release by Hong Kong Legends, which also has an audio commentary from Bey Logan explaining some of the more obscure gags), and one particular one from Chow when up against a Western kung-fu fighter had me in stitches when I first saw it -- just the timing of it! Chow is actually a gifted comedy performer, and for those used to his work in 'The Killer', 'Hard-Boiled' or even 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' may be surprised at this difference. He does still get to do some action himself, though.

As with many Hong Kong 1980's movies, the main reason people lapped up these movies was because of the action sequences, and that's largely where Conan Lee comes in, although he really doesn't get that much fighting to do in the movie. He still gets to do a one-on-one encounter with Gordon Liu (recently seen in 'Kill Bill') in which they are both armed with some very unique weapons in one of the most memorable battles of this era (I won't give it away but it's crazy!). Still, there are some bits that make you really wish that things had worked out better for Conan (who's also known as Lloyd Hutchinson in other movies) in terms of his potential career as an action superstar.

One thing I should warn women in particular of, however, is a scene where Francis and Marie-Donna have a bit of a disagreement. It's something that played well to local audiences in Hong Kong, but many Westerners may object to it and it may leave an unpleasant taste in the mouth, and it wouldn't surprise me if even some Chinese-speakers found it over-the-top in today's climate.

All in all, though, while not completely great, it does have a certain retro charm, and the action in it is enjoyable.

9 / 10

great chainsaw fighting scene

Tiger on the Beat is one of my favorite Hongkong action movies. It is a great combination of fire- and musclepower. The highlight is an amazing fighting scene where two guys (one of them is Conan Lee) take on each other with chainsaws. One warning for female Chow Yun-Fat fans though, in this movie he beats up a chick real good. Anyway, it's great. Watch it. Now.

7 / 10

Not just comedy

The movie begins as a light-hearted comedy but will not stay for long. There are some excellent fight sequences (especially at the end) and sometimes the movie is very violent. A classic Hong Kong blood opera anyway, a must see for fans of the genre.

6 / 10

Standard HK 80's police action flick with a good team up

The HK action film had by the mid-80's developed a set of characteristics that hardly varied from film to film. Absurd gun fights, swingy arm kung fu fights with lots of people yanked around on wires to simulate powerful kicks, lots of dangerous stunts frequently involving unprotected falls from balconies or second story windows and plots that shouldn't be dwelled on lest the holes be revealed. This is one of those but with some pluses that lift it above the crowd.

Chow Yun Fat plays it light and gives his character an appealing goofiness that carries the entire film. His chemistry with co-star Conan Lee works really well. Anyway the movie deals with drug smugglers and a beautiful mainland Chinese woman whose criminal brother gets her to delivery his stolen illegal drugs. Chow and Lee are cops assigned to the case.

The film is very rough at times. The action scenes are frequently bloody and harsh which is in contrast to the light comedy of Chow's scenes. There's a lot of juvenile humor about breasts and a tough scene where Chow's character smacks around the beautiful woman, tosses her through a glass table and stuffs her mouth full of powder. She, of course, falls in love with him. Director Liang, know for his distinctive kung-fu films earlier in the decade, is absolutely invisible in the film. Aside from the well paced fight scenes, his style is not apparent at all. The whole film is very much in debt to Jacky Chan's earlier police films.

Not bad if you give it a chance and don't expect too much.