Tiger Street (Timothy Ryerson, 1998)
[note: review originally published 28Nov2008]
Why, exactly, I continued watching this movie after the first ten minutes is still beyond me. But there it is. First- (and last-)time director Ryerson cranks out what is, quite simply, an eighties Z-movie American martial arts flick, but does so in 1998. One would hope for something better from scriptwriter Robert Gosnell (whose last– arguable– success came with the amusing, if cheesy, Indiana Jones ripoff Firewalker in 1986), but one would hope badly.
Tiger Sun (martial arts champion Julian Lee) is recruited, despite problems in his past, by Ray (Gary Sirchia, in his big-screen debut) a friend of his on the local school board, to come in and teach Tae Kwon Do to the kids as a way to get them out of the local gang, run by the slick C. C. Bonner (fellow martial arts champion Christophe Clark). Which means, of course, the whole film is nothing more than a setup for the big showdown between the two. There’s a romantic subplot involving Ray and his colleague Dana (Zoe Chance, easily the best thing about this film even if she’s way, way too thin), and some drama involving one of Tiger’s students who got out of the gang, but the rest of the movie is rather like watching someone play a game of Karateka– you keep meeting tougher and tougher opponents until you get to the boss monster.
At least James Ryan’s movies were funny, and Gymkata was one of those “so stupid you just have to keep watching” things. Tiger Street strips away anything that would make it stand out from the crowd, and leaves, well, nothing. * ½
No luck on a Tiger Street trailer, but here’s one for The Dragon and the Hawk, also starring Julian Lee, and looking just as cheesy!