It is my great pleasure to welcome back the great Robert R Best with yet another classic kung fu flick Tiger Over Wall, i personally love the obscurity of these reviews and thank Robert greatly, i for one will be definitely seeking this one out and be sure to check out his awesome site http://www.robertrbest.com/ and books!
Tiger Over Wall (1980)
So we have here a movie that is apparently based on true events. I say
this because the Internet tells me so. And I can buy that, because it
helps explain part of what frustrates me about this movie. More on
We open with credits and the sound of a dog barking over the opening
music. It sounds sort of like the dog sound you'd get on those old
cheap Casio keyboards. Remember the ones? Remember how you'd drive
your whole family nuts playing the dog or maybe the lion sound over
and over again? No? Just me? Oh well.
So we've got some kind of estate in China where a powerful western man
and his Chinese wife live. And their dog has gone missing. She's very
upset and has her servant or helper or something smack around some guy
who just happened to be nearby. Then she gets the corrupt local police
He goes around accusing people and smacking them around. Then a woman
comes out of an umbrella shop and sings her entire back story. I'm not
kidding. I wonder if this was added in the English dub, or if she
actually sings this in the original language. Anyway, I bring this up
because this umbrella shop will be important.
Anyway, the police go around being dicks and torturing people, and our
hero - the standard dashing young man these movies all have - won't
stand for it. He and the cops fight a bit, but not for very long. More
on that later.
Eventually, the corrupt cops convince the owner of the umbrella store
- the father of the singing woman- to falsely confess to stealing the
dog. In exchange for this, they promise to help him get his business
license. I presume for his umbrella store. Maybe it wasn't a store
yet. They sure had a lot of umbrellas. Once there, he is mistreated
until our hero and the others must save him and take down the evil
So here's problem one. The movie is too complicated. This is probably
because it's based on true events. It tries to shove in as many facts
as it can, but it just gets confusing.
Problem two is more damning. There's not enough action. Most of the
fight scenes are too short and not memorable enough. And I don't think
this is a case of the movie being mismarketed. There's just barely
enough action for me to think this is supposed to be an action movie,
but not enough to be a very good one.
But wait, it gets more frustrating. It would be easy to just write the
movie off at this point and forget about it. But, there are two fights
that are actually really good. One comes almost an hour in and
involves the umbrella store. Lots of umbrella fu. The other comes at
the end. The climactic fight is very good. Good enough to almost save
And no, we never do find out what happened to that dog.
Robert R. Best