Bullet Points: White Tiger
Nobody can say that Gary Daniels didn’t pay his dues to get to the level of direct to video action hero. Daniels had smaller roles in movies like Ring of Fire starring Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Deadly Bet starring Jeff Wincott and Final Impact starring Lorenzo Lamas for years before he got to play the main protagonist in an action movie.
One of Daniels’ more popular starring roles was the 1996 film, White Tiger.
- The Premise: Mike Ryan (Gary Daniels) and John Grogan (Matt Craven) are two DEA agents, who after working non-stop finally get some time away. They head up to the great outdoors along with John’s wife Joanne and his son Josh. While Mike and John are enjoying some rock climbing we learn that John brought something else along with him… his Zack Morris cell phone. And wouldn’t you know it, Mike and John’s superior at the Drug Enforcement Agency calls them in to action much to the displeasure of everyone. Mike and John are sent on an urgent mission to take down a drug dealer named Victor Chow (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa). During the fracas (in the classic industrial setting that action movies love), Chow kills Grogan in cold blood, ripping apart the Grogan family in the process and leaving Mike Ryan looking for revenge.
- I Want A New Drug: Victor Chow is a brash, up and coming member of the Chinese underworld. For years he has been taking orders from his and uncle and the head of the Chinese underworld, Zhou (Dana Lee of Rambo: First Blood Part II and Lethal Weapon 4 fame). Zhou and his associates have been in the drug business since time and memorial, trafficking heroine. But Chow is sick of the old ways and has created a new synthetic drug. Uncle Zhou and his associates are not happy with Victor and his ambition, as it is cannibalizing their existing business, but Victor goes against his family and starts manufacturing and selling his new synthetic drug anyway. While Tagawa is no stranger to playing the villain in the movie, I thought the character of Victor Chow had a different vibe to him than any other character I’ve seen Tagawa play. Maybe because the character seemed to be enjoying his own product.
- Jaded: As you may imagine, a British dude sticks out like a sore thumb in China Town, but fortunately for Mike Ryan he gets some help from the alluring Jade (Julia Nickson of Double Dragon and Rambo: First Blood Part II fame). Jade has a past with Victor Chow and is more than happy to help Mike on his quest for vengeance. Jade first brings Mike back to her place after he is roughed up and she tends to his wounds and bandages him up. Then we are treated to this rapid fire exchange… Mike: “Well I guess I should be going.” Jade: “Wanna stay here?” Mike: “That would be great.” Guys have all the luck in the movies.
White Tiger is one of the better Gary Daniels’ movies I have experienced. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa provides Daniels with a quality adversary, possibly one of the best he’s ever had. And say what you will about his acting ability, Gary Daniels always delivers in the fight scenes and White Tiger is no exception. My only complaint would be about the pacing of the film. While the action is solid, the story between the action drags at times.
Now I hope I’m not dragging out this review by sharing some White Tiger bonus Bullet Points…
- Brought to you by Crayola: White Tiger joins Black Scorpion, Red Scorpion, The Yellow Sea and Revenge of the Green Dragons in our ongoing quest to cover every action movie with a color in the title.
- A Cravin’ to Climb: Matt Craven, who as I mentioned earlier rock climbs with Gary Daniels in this movie, did more than his share of climbing in the Michael Biehn movie, K2. And speaking of K2, if you watch White Tiger and don’t get enough Julia Nickson nudity, she’s naked in K2 too.
- Favorite Quote: “I get more protection from a rubber.”
- What Was That Restaurant?: At one point in the film Mike meets Jade at Ho Ho’s Restaurant. Mmmmm… HoHo’s Restaurant!
- If You Ever: …wanted to see Gary Daniels’ lily white ass, then this is the movie for you.
- Security Breach: One scene that really had me scratching my head was when a gaggle of motorcycle dudes leaves the Chow compound, then moments later, Mike Ryan on a motorcycle shows up and drives right past the front gate, the guard doesn’t even think twice. So all you need to break into this powerful drug dealer’s compound is a motorcycle and a motorcycle helmet?!