Hong Kong action cinema has a great tradition of cop movies, not just the headliners Police Story and Hard Boiled. In the Line of Duty is coming out next week, but first Shout! Factory has the Tiger Cage trilogy. Like Duty, these are three standalone cop movies, though all three of these are directed by Yuen Wo-ping.
The cop movie was already a staple of American action movies but in Hong Kong they include martial arts and insane stunts. By Tiger Cage III they’re jet skiing with uzis and II has a crazy double decker bus fight scene.
We must be entering a golden age of Hong Kong Cinema on home video because the Blu-rays Shout!, 88 Films and Vinegar Syndrome are putting out are going above and beyond any previous releases, let alone the occasional 4K. The Tiger Cage films show Hong Kong in the ‘80s and ‘90s with clear pictures and bright colors.
I’m glad they chose David West to do all three commentaries. He was my favorite commentator on the Jackie Chan Collection because he’s so well prepared and researched. He applies the same insights to these films.
Vincent Lyn gives interviews about his career that led to the films. Bonus feature mainstay Frank Djeng explains why three unrelated movies are connected as a franchise. The Chinese titles are still different and Djeng also gives a perspective on where these fall in Donnie Yen’s career, Yuen Wo-ping’s and political issues between Hong Kong and China now. Further interviews delve into the choreography and analysis.
Two critics discuss the heroic bloodshed trend. It’s funny, this was current when I was discovering Hong Kong films 30 years ago. There are now grown adult fans who never experienced it so they put it in perspective for new viewers.