Skinny Tiger, Fatty Dragon
MEI-AH
 
Starring:
Directed By:
Lau Kar-Wing
Year:
1990
Run Time:
105 mins
Producer: Mei Ah
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Languages:
CANTONESE MONO, Mandarin Mono, Cantonese 5.1, Mandarin 5.1
Subtitles:
Chinese (S&T), English
W/S Subtitles:
No
Ratio:
1.85:1 Non Anamorphic
Region:
NTSC 0
Genre:
Modern Day Action / Comedy - IIB
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MOVIE
7/10

Baldy (Maka) and Fatty (Sammo) are two cops whose rather over-the-top methods result in their imposed vacation from the Force, after they accidentally ransack their superior Officer's wedding celebrations.
Taking a holiday in Singapore to unwind and enjoy their now rather mundane lives, they chance upon a pair of local girls and hit it off immediately.
Unfortunately, Tak, a major drug dealer, is out on bail and out for revenge after his arrest at the hands of Baldy and Fatty.
Finally, B & F decide that enough's enough, and set about luring out the head of the drugs syndicate
- Tak's brother, the self proclaimed "King Of Drugs" (Lau).

This is possibly one of the strangest films I've seen starring Sammo - one in which I've enjoyed the comedy and characters a lot more than the action scenes...
Having been long time collaborators, Hung and Maka are so relaxed and comfortable in one anothers company that each and every scene in which they appear is a joy to watch. Their comedy routines mix the subtle with the slapstick, and are not only very funny but also very cleverly written, allowing for the pair's natural friendship to shine through.

The most disappointing aspect , however, are the fight scenes - directed by Lau Kar-Wing
I've never been a great fan of Lau's, either as an actor or director, and this film has done little to sway my opinion of him.
Whilst he's undoubtedly physically talented, his direction always seems to lack the clarity Sammo brings to even the most complicated fight scene.
The film's finale is superbly choreographed, with Sammo utilising his Bruce Lee impersonation and nunchuka technique to great effect, but the direction never establishes any sort of tempo. Certain shots would have been better had they been less protracted, whilst others are too quickly cut, reducing the excitement of the battles, and ultimately providing a rather detached viewing experience.
It must be said though, that the standout moment of the film is Lau and Hung's vicious double machete fight, which although short, is very sweet!


As mentioned, Sammo does his best to take-off Bruce Lee's persona, with results not dissimilar to the film's fight sequences.
Whilst his physical and facial expressions are spot-on, the
overdubbed screeches are irritating beyond belief. I'm almost certain it's not Sammo's vocal chords getting a thorough workout, and as such, the Bruce Lee cries just feel like a weak, last minute, rushed job.

PICTURE
8/10

Obviously playing up to Sammo's new found fame since Martial Law, Mei Ah produce a transfer which is a significant step up from their usual quality of disc.
Whilst the now expected artifacts are still present, they are a lot milder than previous Mei Ah discs, and for the most part are unnoticeable.
A pleasantly sharp image is presented throughout, with only the slightly faded colours detracting from the overall quality.
Sparkles tend to occur in short bursts, followed by periods of the film almost completely devoid of them. Apart from a rather distracting scratch midway through, the print is in surprisingly good shape, and makes for a very pleasing experience.

SOUND
6/10

Of the two options provided - 5.1 remix and mono, mono is most definitely the preferable one.
Distortion is occasionally present at high volumes, but it's minimal, and whilst the track could be a bit bassier, I found it perfectly acceptable.

SUBTITLES
5/10

Although fairly frequent grammar and spelling errors cause a bit of a problem, the standard of the subs is generally high. Unfortunately, their readability is impaired by a rather poor font.
For some reason, Mei Ah used a very thinly bordered typeface which recalls all those VHS "white background nightmare" scenarios. The scenes in which the subs "disappear" into the picture are very infrequent, but none the less frustrating.

MENUS
4/10

You really couldn't get a more basic menu if you tried - a static background, and five options in green text.

"You call those Extras!?!"

EXTRAS
1/10

Along with the now legendary "extra" which is present on all Mei Ah DVD's (the "film duration guessing game", brought about by non-existent time encoding), you are provided with a plethora of options under the Databank menu....a plot synopsis taken from the back of the box, and a cast and crew listing!!!
I bet you'd buy the disc on the strength of the extras alone now?!?

CONCLUSION
7/10

I'm not going to pretend that I loved this film, but at the same time I didn't hate it either.
The constant bickering and joking of Hung and Maka is great fun to watch, as is the final knife battle, but the overriding feeling I got from watching this is that it should be placed on the "B" pile of Sammo's work.
It's a fun way to spend an hour and forty five minutes, but not one which I'm likely to do again for a good while yet.

MOVIE 7/10
PICTURE
8/10
SOUND
6/10
SUBTITLES
5/10
EXTRAS
1/10
MENUS
4/10
PACKAGING
5/10
OVERALL 7/10