Skinny Tiger, Fatty Dragon (1990)

It’s not the most elegant film title (though a literal rendering of the Cantonese original) but it’s a lot better than Nutty Kickbox Cops, which IMDB claims was another title for it (Bey Logan’s commentary further claims that was the title. a German distributor gave it). Sammo pairs up with Karl Maka as the titular dragon and tiger, two of the Hong Kong police force’s finest (?), a duo somewhat lacking in the professionalism stakes who are busy trying to take down a triad gang (headed by Lau Kar Wing, the film’s director) while being sued for sexual harassment by a gangster’s girl they inadvertently hassle during a drug bust that goes marvellously wrong when they can’t tell her, a real woman, apart from a ladyboy. (And there’ll be more ladyboys to test them later on.) Apparently it wasn’t a huge box office hit, Lau hasn’t directed since then and Maka only made a handful of acting appearances thereafter; bit of a shame, cos it’s far from a masterpiece but it’s not awful either. Basically, it’s a late 80s buddy cop movie (taking quite a few cues from Peter Hyams’ Running Scared in particular), and in this case the buddy cops are an interesting match, Maka as the slapheaded broadly comedic middle-aged lech and Sammo as the younger and obviously larger half of the team with a neat line in Bruce Lee imitation. They keep the film engaging during its undeniable flat spots (most notably the whole Singapore business, which comes in for a fair bit of criticism and which Logan reckons should’ve been cut from the film entirely), and though the film does sag somewhat in the middle it starts and ends fairly well. Not a classic but for $10 it was an adequate entertainment.

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