The Paper Tigers Parent Guide
This typical martial arts film delivers fun fight scenes in a predictable but entertaining storyline.
Parent Movie Review
Sifu Cheung (Roger Yuan) is a great kung fu master, even though he only teaches three students: prodigies Danny (played as a teenager by Yoshi Sudarso, later by Alain Uy), Hing (Peter Adrian Sudarso, Ron Yuan), and Jim (Gui DaSilva-Green, Mykel Shannon Jenkins). As they mature and learn more of the martial art, they come to be known as The Three Tigers, some of the fiercest fighters anywhere. Life has other plans, however, and the Tigers and their teacher are estranged for nearly fifteen years. The erstwhile fighters only find each other again after Sifu Cheung’s death from an apparent heart attack. Danny knows better: he believes Sifu was killed by a secret kung fu technique. Determined to uncover the truth, the former Tigers set out to avenge their teacher. But time has taken its toll, and none of the fighters are what they used to be…hopefully, the skills they still possess will be enough to complete their quest.
I have a hard time organizing my thoughts on this movie. On one hand, it’s very, very clichéd. If you’re familiar with basic storytelling, you’ll be more than equipped to guess every beat of this story after the first ten minutes. On the other hand, it is very focused on themes of personal responsibility, honor, and learning how to apologize. Added to which, it has some fun fight scenes.
I think, on balance, the important personal messages come across louder than the canned plot elements. The main cast are both funny and heartfelt, which really sells the story’s morals. And while this isn’t laugh-out-loud funny, it is consistently entertaining. As usual with comedy, your mileage may vary. If you’re the kind of person who really enjoys watching middle-aged men try to do things they have no business trying, you’ll have a lovely time.
Content in this film is pretty much limited to violence and profanity. Obviously, the plot demands a certain amount of fighting – there isn’t much point to a kung fu movie without any kung fu. So you get the usual beatings, in which some people are seriously injured and knocked out. There’s also a healthy amount of cussing going on, which isn’t a surprise in context, but which also prevents it from being kid friendly. Teenagers shouldn’t have much trouble with this one, though most of the jokes are aimed at people closer to middle age. If your kids are prone to trying things for themselves at home, you might want to give this a miss. You don’t need your teenagers trying to figure out how to use “Poison Finger” technique on each other.Directed by Quoc Bao Tran. Starring Peter Adrian Sudarso, Yuji Okumoto, and Ron Yuan. Running time: 108 minutes. Theatrical release May 7, 2021. Updated October 2, 2021
Watch the trailer for The Paper Tigers
The Paper Tigers
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Paper Tigers rated PG-13? The Paper Tigers is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some strong language, offensive slurs, and violence.
Violence: Many scenes depict martial arts violence which results in broken bones, unconsciousness, and in one case, death. An individual is seen ritualistically branding himself.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There are two sexual expletives, 23 scatological curses, and frequent use of mild profanity and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are briefly shown drinking socially and two people are shown smoking cigarettes.
Page last updated October 2, 2021
The Paper Tigers Parents' Guide
Danny comes to realize that with or without kung fu, honor matters. What do you think drives that realization? What does honor mean to you? How can you try to live honorably?