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Gs (1990)
Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 03/22/2009
Summary: Rogue cops, dumb criminals, tranny assassins. Oh my!

In “Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon, Karl Maka and Sammo Hung are rogue cops who don’t follow orders, beat suspects and mistreat informants. We like them because they are funny and don’t take themselves too seriously. Things begin with a bang as three really stupid villains decide to rob a convenience store late at night even though Maka has identified himself as an armed CID officer deployed specifically to thwart late night robberies. The robbers not only fail to get any loot but are beaten up and mocked by both cops. Skinny even tells them to take their choppers when they leave since he will have enough to clean up as it is. When two of the robbers try to flee Skinny stops them by popping a bag of salty snacks—the criminals think the loud “bang” is a pistol shot and immediately drop to the floor.

This sets the tone for the rest of the movie. Skinny and Fatty are the toughest guys around, the ones who never get promoted because they are too busy chasing villains to bother with paperwork or the niceties of criminal procedure. They are constantly being set upon by thugs, generally outnumbered and always win but they don’t make many arrests so the criminals who they beat up are still free to prey upon the citizens of Hong Kong. The fights, though, are terrific, nothing other than what one would expect from Sammo in his prime. It is still a bit surprising to see a man of his girth move with such speed, precision and power and he uses much of his repertoire of martial arts moves. Even his Bruce Lee imitation/homage is welcome since this is Sammo doing Bruce, unlike Bruce Le, Bruce Li or any other poor sap tasked with the impossible, to actually replace the master.

Wu Fung has a bigger role than usual—at least gets plenty of screen time—but is still the frustrated middle level police administrator, stuck in the bureaucracy. He, Fatty and Skinny worked together at one time but he has gotten promoted to inspector, a double edged sword. He vacillates between manic joy, telling Skinny and Fatty that he wears the three pips of an inspector on his shoulders because he knows how to play the game and depressed anguish, complaining that he is stuck at the lowest executive rank because of the two of them and their antics. He is pulled between wanting to get rid of them, which he never quite does, and wanting to go back to the old days on the street with them. Additionally he is torn between his duty to instill discipline and respect in his underlings while holding those above him, who he refers to as the “Big White Chiefs” in contempt. It is a well written and well acted part and shows the artistry that many Hong Kong “character” actors can command.

Carrie Ng has a thankless role. She is the girlfriend of the main criminal, a cocaine importer who has contempt for the police since he can easily pay them off. She gets beaten up a lot—the first time by Skinny although she finishes that fight with the equalizer, a kick to the crotch and follows up with a civilian complaint of brutality against them, a complaint that leads to the first showdown between them and Wu Fung. She is later knocked around by her boyfriend who suspects her of leaking information to the police when all she is interested in is getting away from him. Carrie Ng looks great, with her mane of jet black hair and slash of bright red lipstick—there are good reasons why she makes many lists, including mine, of the sexiest actresses in Hong Kong film and most of them are on display here.

The assassins from Thailand give things a bit of an edge—they are transvestites but no less deadly in a dress and heels than if they were wearing more typical male garb. They also eschew traditional weapons—no guns or choppers for them. One uses a garrote while the other has a sharply pointed hook that she pulls from her belt buckle. They are not the first appearance of cross dressing men in “Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon”. One of the drug couriers is a man dressed as a woman who carries the cocaine in a bra. The guys get into lots of trouble since they know where and when the exchange of drugs for money is taking place but don’t have a description of the courier. Skinny decides to go after the first woman he sees with large breasts (she wearing a low cut top and a miniskirt), either assuming or hoping that he will or won’t find cocaine.

The way the ending is set up shows the huge difference between U.S. and Hong Kong cop movies, at least in 1990. Our heroes have been cashiered. Fatty’s father, who stumbled into the transvestite assassins, is recovering in the hospital down the hall from Skinny’s fiancé who they also attacked. They are trying to figure out if they should go to Singapore where a couple of beautiful and wealthy young ladies await them or stay in Hong Kong when Fatty decides that the only thing to do is to kill the criminal who has been eluding them. It is simple, direct and seems very normal when Sammo Hung says in the well dubbed version that we saw, that he can’t deal with the crime kingpin being alive while their loved ones linger near death. The only thing to do is to find him and kill him.

There is no false morality, no “this makes you no better than the bad guys” from his partner. Fatty and Skinny aren’t the kind of police officer who worries about anyone’s rights so killing their tormentor makes all the sense in the world. It doesn’t end quite that way, of course, but comes close.

“Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon” is a very well made movie with physical humor, pratfalls and campy shtick layered on to almost non-stop action. It is worth seeing.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 05/20/2006

A lightweight but usually fun update of Sammo’s Bruce Lee persona, last seen in “Enter The Fat Dragon”.

Directed by the often forgotten Lau, Lau Kar-Wing, this is an action comedy that moves along at a swift enough pace – although I could have done without the karaoke scene.

Although quite funny and well choreographed, you still get the feeling that it could have been even better. Virtually everything is thrown into the mix in the hope that something will stick – including a pair of transsexual assassins. And what IS it with Sammo and transvestites/transsexuals? It seems that nearly every movie he made around this time makes a reference to the cross-gendered. It seems like he’s bordering on an Alan Partridge-like obsession sometimes. Also, does a topless transsexual count as “nudity”? I don’t think, in the strictest definition, it does.

Anyway, Sammo breaks out his nunchaku again, which is always a joy to see. It would have been nice to see Billy Chow and/or Dick Wei as a villain, but Lau Kar-Wing does a serviceable job as the main bad guy. And Mark Houghton’s always worth watching.

Not one of his best efforts, but considering what he was doing around this time and the films that would follow, a masterpiece.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: sharkeysbar
Date: 05/06/2006
Summary: Bad cop, dumb cop

This is one great cop comedy, starring Karl Maka and Sammo Hung. It is a great film in the good cop, bad cop, stupid cop, it will all work out fine in the end style.
The fighting scenes are quite good, the comedy is A1, the drama is typical 1990s HK style, all in all just a great film. Even the guys trip to Singapore is superb, whacky and bizarre. I loved this film and will watch it over and over, but I must admit the two lead actors are great, all I can say is just see it!

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 03/15/2006
Summary: tall girl...

lau kar-wing directs a typically hong kong 'serious criminals, stupid cops' film, but the fact that the cops are sammo hung and karl maka means that it's highly entertaining. hung and maka make a good pairing; there's a good comic chemistry and some good action thrown in for good measure. what's bizzare, is sammo's bruce lee-esque stylings, plus there's a couple of transsexual assassins thrown into the mix...

good fun.

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 02/10/2006
Summary: Entertaining!!

I have not seen many movies with Karl Maka, but he definately brings a lot of flair and charisma to his character. KArl Maka and SAmmo Hung team up to fight a drug lord,yes, another standard cops and robbers plot.

The plot only gets in the way of the action and the comedy. The action was a little disappointing, as there is not villian that really can stand up to SAmmo. Apart from that, it was fast and furious. Karl Maka fast talking and ladies man mentality brings the comedy side of the movie.

The rapport between the two main actors is what makes this movie better than average.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/17/2005

A pair of mismatched cops (Hung and Maka) bumble their way to take down a drug dealer in this enjoyable comedy-action picture. The comedy, like many of Karl "Baldy" Maka's movies, might be too broad for some, but it works well for the most part, and the action scenes are also effective. Hung returns to his Enter the Fat Dragon style of imitating Bruce Lee, and does so with a nice panache which takes the performance out of the region of parody, which could have really hurt this movie. I would have liked more action bits, but the stuff that's in here is pretty exciting stuff, so I was able to forgive this possible shortcoming.

What stops Skinny Tiger & Fatty Dragon from getting a higher rating are the detours it takes during the running time. There are several instances of pro-China sentiment that come off as heavy-handed and uneffective. Sammo's dad being a virtual fortune cookie of Chinese rhetoric, the usual nasty gweilos turned up a notch, and one sequence where a foreign car is demolished seem to go a bit over the top. It's okay to be proud of one's heritage, but you don't need to beat it over the head of your viewers -- Bruce Lee's "no dogs or Chinese allowed" bit from Fist of Fury seems subtle versus some of the stuff in this movie.

More disarmingly, there is a sense of misonogny which seems out of place in this supposedly family-friendly film. There are a few scenes, such as one where Maka "beats some sense" into Carrie Ng, and a later very violent assassination attempt against her (as well as some gratutious nudity), which feel very out of place with the rest of the movie and come off as a bit unsettling.

All in all, though, this is a pretty fun movie that should please fans of Sammo Hung, and action films in general -- it's worth a look. And in case you're too dense to notice (like the guy at the video store where I rented this), this movie has no relation whatsoever to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, other than the fact that there's kung fu in both films.

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Reviewed by: mehaul
Date: 08/21/2002

Entertaining cop buddy movie. Sammo Hung and Karl Maka have a nice chemistry (similar to the Gibson -Glover pairing in the Lethal Weapon movies). Excellent fighting scenes, but the pacing is slow at times.

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 01/13/2002
Summary: Not bad

After working years before on Dirty Tiger Crazy Frog, this title always suggested a sequel. But it's not. But it is very funny. The plot is not much, and action too. A rare example of a movie being filmed in Singapore, although only for 10 minutes. Karl & Sammo really make a great team, in my opinion they are a better team than Sammo & Jackie.

Rating: 3/5

(This rating is based on the year & genre, so don't think it's based as a comparison on new releases etc.)

Reviewed by: foleyisgravy
Date: 01/03/2002
Summary: Sammo es muy bueno!

Sammo Hung and Karl Maka tangle with vicious drug dealers, savage she-males, and their own police superiors in this great buddy cop comedy. This movie has some real good fight scenes with Sammo at his absolute best. I think this is the best fighting he's done in his later films (not counting Pedicab Driver). Maka provides good chemistry along with Sammo and I wonder why they didn't do more movies together after seeing this.

Great action is sprinkled throughout the film, with some standout moments being an awesome scene where Sammo destroys some thugs with an awesome display of escrima, a wing chun battle against some killer transvestites, and the awesome finale with Sammo using nunchukas and knives to take down Lau Kar Wing and his group of baddies (who include Ridley Tsui and gwailo favorite Mark Houghton). Not to mention Sammo gets down with the ladies in a comical dance scene while Maka sings karaoke.

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 07/18/2001
Summary: Flawed but fun

SKINNY TIGER FATTY DRAGON: Samo Hung & Karl Maka play cops who 'don't play by the rules' - basically they beat up suspects, informants, witnesses, etc... but they're cops so it's alright, right? Well, the movie world would be a much more sterile place if all the police stuck to the rules anyway. They get caught up in the case of a mean drugs dealer, and his attractive female assistant. Some fairly good humour and good fight scenes make it a pleasant enough late 80's cop thriller, though it shares with several other films of the time some fairly unpleasant treatment of women.

Reviewed by: nomoretitanic
Date: 04/21/2001
Summary: Hong Kong Last Boyscout

This movie is what every Hollywood buddy movie tries to be. It has the badass chases, fights, one-liners, even an underlying theme involving the paranoia of Hong Kong citizens in the early 90's. A good movie. It's the re-collaboration of the Odd Couple gang: Karl Maka, Sammo Hung and Lau Kar-Wing. I didn't know Maka could fake martial arts this well, some good doubling too.
There are couple of really jumping cuts and undercranked punches, but most of the fight is excellent. Though I'm beginning to get tired of Sammo's modern group fights: it's always the same, guys rush up to him and he ducks their first punches then finishes them off with a punch or a kick, nothing too fancy. And we know he's capable of really creative choreography, what happened man, what happened.

Reviewed by: Kncklz2000
Date: 04/04/2001
Summary: Something new and original

From Lau Kar Wing (director of Dirty Tiger Crazy Frog and the main villain from Knockabout) comes a high-roaring action comedy about the police.

Sammo and Karl Maka are the two "pervert" cops that don't play by the rules; they make the criminals' lives a living nightmare. Lau Kar Wing is the villain who wants to get rid of them for good.

"Skinny Tiger Fatty Dragon" contains all the comdeic elements you'd expect from Sammo and Maka.

About 5 fight scenes;Sammo impersonates Bruce Lee in all of them. One of the fights is quite short, about 10 seconds or less. The others range from a minute to two minutes. The finale lasts for about 6 to 7 minutes, and I must say, I was really impressed with Maka and Sammo.

Only a few things were off in this movie
1) Sammo's haircut was constantly changing (which means that he must have been working on another movie at the same time)
2)The Bruce Lee sound effects weren't as great as the ones from "Enter the Phat Dragon"
3)There were 2 wired kicks, one from Wing and one from Sammo
4)There were times when the fights were undercranked

Whether Maka is trying to "feel up" on females or Sammo's fighting off a transvestite, this movie is a must. A great work from the modern (1990-today) era.


Reviewed by: Yellow Hammer
Date: 11/04/2000

Baldy aka Tiger (Karl Maka) and Fatty aka Dragon (Sammo Hung) are two undercover cops trying to infiltrate a cocaine ring whose big boss is Cocaine Wing (fighting star Lau Kar-Wing). Their mole Johnny (Tai Bo) tips them to a drug transaction that Lai (Carrie Ng) and Prince Tak (baddie Lung Ming Yan) is trying to carry out. But Wing finds out about what Johnny does and kills him. Tak tries to set up Baldy and Fatty during a show-of-peace meeting, but Baldy and Fatty would have none of it. Instead, after much fighting they chase down Tak and beat him up and arrested him, but they do so at the Police Commander's wedding banquet, which infuriates their boss (Wu Fung) and they are forced into a leave of abscence. After coming back from their leave of abscence, they discover that Tak is bailed out and he and Wing get their revenge and hires a number of assassins, including two Thai ladyboy assassins to kill Baldy's girlfriend Tall-Girl (Hong Kong supermodel Wanda Yung Wai-Tak) and Fatty's father (acclaimed novelist Ngai Hong), as well as turned-state's witness Lai. Having enough of Tak and Wing, they decide to go full-borne and get their revenge in style.

Excellent fighting sequences between Sammo Hung and Lau Kar-Wing. Sammo once again, in a somewhat reprise of his Enter the Fat Dragon movie, displays many of his Bruce Lee-alike moves and gestures. A funny movie with lots of action. The storyline flows pretty well and as noted in a previous review, there is excellent chemistry between Maka and Hung throughout the movie. The only thing that I had a problem with is that you kind of wonder what happens to Lai, Tall-Girl and Fatty's father in the end.

Reviewed by: Cityhunter
Date: 12/23/1999
Summary: A most underated Sammo movie

Sammo and Karl Maka show great chemistry together, watch for the great fight scene with Lau kar-wing.

Reviewed by: hokazak
Date: 12/09/1999

Baldy (Karl Maka) threatens a young thief with: "You'll be in jailuntil 1997. ... You'll like being in jail in 1997!"