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I brought this cause i am a fan of those 90s kick boxing flick and
seeing that Mathias Hues and Bruce Lock(Shang Tsung from Mortal Kombat
Conquest) where in it, i tough why not for less than 5 bucks...
Thing is, the story is not so bad itself, it could have been interesting if the fights where not so much in slow mo like others said and that the wrestling was not shown as a real fighting business, which i think is dumb...
Basically past everything i still manage to like it a little bit, with a lot of booze, i could have a laugh at least... but this movie make Don The Dragon Wilson Movies looks like Oscar winners...
Mathias Hues role is also very small, so you can't count on him to redeem the movie
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
SPOILER WARNING (This is definately a warning in more ways than
It is amazing how a joint US/Japanese co-production could still look cheaper than one of those crime reenactment segments on America's Most Wanted. The film's mask wearing title character is clearly inspired by the Japanese wrestling icon, Tiger Mask. Similarities end there. Our hero, played by Bruce Locke (most famous as the robot ninja in Robocop 3), is the son of a murdered Tiger Mask rip-off who now wanders the streets of Las Vegas, hangs out with the homeless, and gets into back alley fights with escapees from Michael Jackson's "Beat It" video, led by the immortal Stoney Jackson, only to be recruited by an evil rich guy to take part in the big money sport of human cockfighting. When engaging in one of these fights to the death, he dons his dad's tiger mask, but our hero refuses to kill and soon comes to realize that his evil benifactor may have also had something to do with dad's murder. Insert plenty of flashbacks, montages, and guys being kicked in slow motion. The actual fighting in this duller than dirt movie is so poorly choreographed it makes the battles in an episode of Bibleman look like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon!
Ironically, the tiger mask is less a mask than a helmet and leaves one wondering how it manages to stay on his head during the fights. In addition to the underground fighting, our hero also does some pro wrestling to boot. However, wrestling is portrayed in this movie as being essentially the same as the underground fighting only with an actual ring and a referee to count pins. So not only are the karate fights crappy, but the wrestling matches defy all logic!
You'd think having Richard Lynch (who played the bad guy in most direct to video action films made in the late 80s/early 90s), Robert Z'Dar (Maniac Cop himself), Matthias Hues (the evil drug dealing alien from I Come In Peace), & the legendary Stoney Jackson together in one movie for the first time would be a good thing? WRONG! Not even the brief cameo by Timothy "I know that name from somewhere, but I just can't place it" Bottoms can save it. Personally, I think Lynch only agreed to be in this stinker as long as he received free cigars, back rubs from moderately attractive women, and that he be allowed to dress like a combination of Dr. Who & Kolchak The Night Stalker.
One final sure fire sign of this film's wretchedness is the fact that IMDB lists it's year of release as 1998, yet the closing credits list 1994. Four years from the time it was made to the time it was released. I'm amazed this snoozefest got released at all!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Lone Tiger" is proof that having a great B-Movie cast filled to the
brim with fan favorites doesn't mean the movie is going to be any good.
Bruce Locke stars as Kurenai , a Japanese Karate man who moves to America and lives in an abandoned warehouse with some runaways. His goal is to defeat the American fighter "Dark Tiger" (Hues) because he thinks he killed his father many years ago. But Kurenai has a "Tiger" mask of his own that he wears when he fights.
Lynch plays Bruce Rossner , an unscrupulous fight promoter who hires Jane (Barbara Niven) to act interested in Kurenai, but really wants dirt on his background. She finds Kurenai and gets Rossner's right-hand man King (Z'dar) to train him to be a killer in the ring, but it goes against his moral code of honor. However if he doesn't fight, the runaways that he cares for will go into foster care. The underground matches run by Rossner are in an underground pool with no water. Rossner primarily bets with Marcus (Bottoms) on the outcomes of the matches. It is not punch-fighting, it's pool-fighting.
Twice Rossner forces Kurenai to kill his opponent and he refuses. Unfortunately, the hobo he's fighting dies accidentally and Kurenai begins to sour on the whole enterprise.
It all comes a head at Rossner's birthday party and the truth is finally revealed. Stoney Jackson is constantly commanding one of the runaways to "Get me my money!" Jackson looks like Dave Chappelle as Rick James and gets the most cringe-worthy line in awhile: He exits the bathroom in one the first scenes of the movie and proudly and un-ironically announces "I love to pee!". The viewer will then realize, this will be a tough sit.
This movie is overlong at a punishing 105 minutes.
Matthias Hues is seen next as the wrestler "Dark Tiger" doing his thing in the ring. What seems to be going on is some sort of "Punch-Wrestling". Hues looks like Fabio more than ever in this flick. However, Hues brings considerable and much-needed charm to the proceedings.
Robert Z'Dar's presence is always welcome and he does what he can in the role as Coach King. There is a training sequence where King drags Kurenai on his dirt bike. In most states this is a crime. There's also some other slapstick which feels forced. Inexplicably, Kurenai trains while wearing the tiger mask. Apparently it is not for the crowds, it is for his own personal use. From a film-making standpoint, the mask is useful because it could be any number of fighters or stunt men at any time. Or better fighters for that matter.
When's Rossner's moll, Jane states "We are having fried chicken for lunch." King angrily yells at Kurenai: "GO TO LUNCH!" This is the most inappropriately shouted line since Glenn Ford bellowed "I LIKE FLOWERS!" in Raw Nerve.(1991) Timothy Bottoms joins his "Total Force"(1997) cast-mates Lynch and Z'Dar as Marcus, manager of the wrestler "Mr. Mexico" and "Dark Tiger". Bottoms seems glum and would probably rather be making a something better, like the "Total Force" sequel "Absolute Force" which also stars the director of "Lone Tiger" himself Warren A. Stevens.
Super fan favorite Richard Lynch is enjoyable as Rossner, but far from his glory days as Rostov in the classic Chuck Norris fight-fest "Invasion U.S.A." He always makes a good baddie. Rossner prays to a strange altar that his men will win his fighting matches.
Sad to say, the fight sequences and choreography are laughably inept and totally inane. They are slow, stagey and lifeless. They seem to be in slow motion, but aren't. It's all very ham-fisted. Just look at the scene with the bum and his whip for the worst example. The biggest injustice is that this is just another waste of Hues' fighting abilities. Ugh. Speaking of ugh, King appears to have been eating a least one jelly donut when he gets kicked in the face at the climax.
Bruce Locke's broken English and clumsy martial arts moves are another detriment to a production whose crud already runneth over.
Leave this one a"lone" and avoid this one tonight!
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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Bruce Locke (the robot ninja in "RoboCop 3") stars here as Chuji
Kurenai, a young man who has just arrived in Vegas. He's in town not to
gamble, but to avenge the killing of his father. He is soon agreeing to
work for underground fight organizer Rossner (Richard Lynch), who likes
his fighters to duel to the death. Kurenai, a.k.a. "Tiger", doesn't
think much of this notion, but finds it hard to extricate himself from
this situation. "Tiger" (so named because of the mask that his father
wore, and which he inherited) also acquires allies such as private
investigator Jane Costello (Barbara Niven) and wrestling star "Dark
Tiger" (Matthias Hues, the villainous alien from "I Come in Peace").
The cast also includes such luminaries as Robert Z'Dar (the Maniac Cop) as a trainer & henchman, Timothy Bottoms ("The Last Picture Show") as Rossners' smarmy, cocky rival, and Stoney Jackson ("Trespass") as a gang leader. Potential viewers may want to give this a look on the basis of the actors assembled, and in truth they're all watchable enough, especially eternal B movie villain Lynch and the physically imposing Z'Dar. Z'Dar in particular has nothing but contempt for Tiger and spends the movie yearning for an inevitable showdown. The story is extremely trite stuff, overall, but unfortunately there's just not that much to say about a movie - even a routine one such as this - in which most of the fighting is pretty lackluster. I'll also agree with the comment that it looks pretty cheap.
Locke struggles with his English dialogue, and he's not a terribly charismatic hero to boot. At least the movie has sexy blonde Niven and assorted other attractive female bit players to provide eye candy.
The ending is the most unsatisfying part, obviously serving to set up a sequel. Lynch and Z'Dar raise the rating by a point.
Five out of 10.
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