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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: White Tiger

August 1, 2019 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
White Tiger

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #517: White Tiger

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review that column that actually considered reviewing the Gary Daniels/Peter Weller deadly underground martial arts tournament movie Forced to Fight but reconsidered after reviewing Bloodfist III: Forced to Fight starring Don “The Dragon” Wilson last issue (I mean, Bloodfist III was originally titled Forced to Fight and doing an actual movie called Forced to Fight after that just seemed a little too weird and cute, and by cute I mean it in an asshole kind of way), The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number five hundred and seventeen, I take a look at the low budget action flick White Tiger, which stars real deal martial arts badass Gary Daniels and which hit video store shelves in late May 1996.

White Tiger


White Tiger directed by Richard Martin, is a low budget action flick that has a terrific cast and, as a result, all of the potential in the world to be awesome. Unfortunately, saddled with a mediocre story that doesn’t really compliment the movie’s many worthwhile action scenes, White Tiger is just an okay movie watching experience. With Gary Daniels as the star and the great Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as the villain, White Tiger should be much, much more than it is.

Daniels stars as Mike Ryan, a badass DEA agent with a British accent for some reason who, along with his married partner John Grogan (Matt Craven), are hot on the trail of Victor Chow (Tagawa), an up and coming member of a big deal Asian crime organization. Ryan and Grogan attempt to arrest Chow in Seattle but, after a shootout that kills several cops and members of a different gang of Asian criminals, Chow gets the upper hand on them and ends up shooting Grogan in the head. Pissed off about his partner’s death, Ryan decides to seek revenge against Chow. The local Seattle cops, not to mention Ryan’s DEA superiors, don’t want Ryan to interfere in the case at all. He’s too close, he’s mad about what happened, and he’s now a liability (you know, all of the usual what have you when cops see their partners die right in front of them and they vow revenge). Ryan doesn’t give a crap about what they want, though. Grogan was his partner and his friend. Grogan had a son that he didn’t get to take mountain climbing because he got called away from a family vacation to arrest Chow (we see this all of this at the beginning of the movie). That’s bullshit. Chow must go down, and Ryan is going to do whatever it takes to make that happen.

Now, while all of that is going on, we find out that Chow’s bosses back in Hong Kong want him dead, too, because they see his ambition as an issue for their business. See, Chow is manufacturing, and attempting to distribute, a new designer drug that’s super addictive. Chow’s bosses didn’t give him permission to create the drug or to sell it to anyone, and since Chow refuses to listen to them (Chow is going to distribute his drug no matter what. He’s new and young and cutting edge, and his bosses are old and, according to Chow, just need to leave him alone) they want Chow stopped. Using their main henchman/secretary (I don’t know what else to call him) Zhou (Dana Lee), to concoct a plan using an assassin to kill Chow. The question is, will this assassin be able to get close to Chow in order to kill him? And how will Ryan figure into this?

And while all of that is going on, Ryan hooks up with a mysterious woman named Jade (Julia Nickson) who may have the kind of information he needs in order to infiltrate the Chinese criminal underground, and a local cop that’s sort of sympathetic to his cause (Detective Fong, as played by the great George Cheung). I don’t think it’s much of a spoiler to say that both Jade and Fong are not quite who they appear to be at first. There’s more going on with them than you would assume.

Writing White Tiger’s plot out makes it seem way more intriguing than it really is. It isn’t so much that you can see the story’s “twists and turns” coming from a mile away, it’s just that they’re done with very little energy or pizazz. The twists are just things that happen and that’s it. And that goes for just about every story point in the movie. Chow’s designer super drug is just something that exists. We never see it action. We see it get made, sort of, in a lab, but it’s not like we see Ryan enter the lab, kill a bunch of scientists and Chow henchmen on his way to killing Chow and saving Seattle and the world. The drug is just something that exists in the world. That’s weird.

I think it’s also weird how the Hong Kong criminal elders only send one assassin to take out Chow. Yes, they don’t want to attract attention to their operations, but why not send two or three really good killers to take out Chow, just to make sure the job gets done? Chow is a vicious bastard who has his own people who are loyal to him. Why didn’t the elders worry about those people getting in the way of their assassin?

And then there’s the whole “Gary Daniels has a British accent and yet he’s a DEA agent” thing. Daniels’ character isn’t on loan from some British or European drug investigation group. Ryan isn’t an Interpol agent working exclusively with the American DEA. Gary Daniels is just playing a badass agent named Mike Ryan and he has a British accent. That quirk doesn’t kill the movie or anything, but the fact that it exists in the movie without an explanation is just bizarre. And, yes, I know that in many of Ahnold Schwarzenegger’s movies it’s never explained why Ahnold has an Austrian accent, but Gary Daniels, as awesome as he is (and he is awesome. The man doesn’t get enough credit for being a real deal action star), is not Ahnold. Gary Daniels isn’t bigger than life. Gary Daniels is different, and, to me, anyway, I want to know why he has a British accent. I just need one line, maybe two, explaining how he got a job with the DEA.

The movie’s action scenes are terrific. Daniels is in top form throughout the movie, beating the crap out of everyone in his path and doing it with style. The movie’s gun battles are a little lackluster at first, but they ramp up after the first five minutes or so and are exciting to see. My only complaint when it comes to the movie’s action sequences is the lack of a “proper” final fight between Daniels and Tagawa. They do fight, but the fight isn’t a knockdown, drag out classic. It’s just something that happens. I don’t get it. Both Daniels and Tagawa are on their game throughout the movie, either being a badass hero (Daniels) or a sleazebag killer (Tagawa). And they both have real deal martial arts skills. Why the hell wouldn’t they have a ten minute all out brawl? Again, I don’t get it.

As I said, Gary Daniels is on top of his game here as Mike Ryan. He makes the most of his character and the movie’s story and rocks the goddamn house in his fights and action scenes. Daniels also has decent chemistry with Matt Craven, who isn’t in the movie all that much but you get the sense that they’re definitely old friends who have been through the shit and have seen some shit. I just wish Daniels had a better story to act in.

The same goes for Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. His Chow character isn’t given enough to do, but Tagawa runs with it anyway and shows that he can be quite the villain. And Chow is a rat bastard villain. He will do anything to succeed, even when it isn’t clear what it is he’s supposed to be succeeding at. Tagawa, just like Daniels, is always awesome, and he’s a joy to see in anything.

Julia Nickson does a good job as the mysterious Jade, but she doesn’t have any real chemistry with Daniels so their relationship isn’t as interesting as it should be. When she’s on her own, she’s great, and when she’s sort of Mike Ryan’s “partner” (not sexual partner, but someone who is involved in the action) she’s cool, but when she has to get intimate with Daniels it just doesn’t work. I think you will like how her character’s story plays out. It’s kind of sweet.

Matt Craven does a great job as Mike Ryan’s partner John Grogan. He isn’t in the movie all that long, but he makes his mark quickly and he has good “best friend” chemistry with Daniels. I’d like to know why Craven hasn’t done more action stuff in his long movie and TV career. Do directors and producers just not see him as an “Action guy,” or does he just shy away from doing them? I don’t get it.

George Cheung does his usual fine job as Detective Fong. You know where his character is likely going because, hell, Cheung always seems to end up playing the same type of character all of the time, but it’s cool to see him play against type for a little bit. And Dana Lee does a good job as Zhou the main henchman of the elders. I thought he was going to have more to do in the movie (I really thought he was going to “have to become” an assassin towards the end, but that didn’t happen), but then maybe the producers and whatnot were going to have him do more in a sequel? That could still happen. All of the “necessary” people, as far as I know, are still alive.

Yeah, it probably won’t happen.

White Tiger isn’t Gary Daniels’ best movie. It’s sort of the in the middle of the pack. The movie’s story is lacking, but the main performances are quite good, and the movie’s action scenes are exciting. That’s why you should see White Tiger. If you’re a Gary Daniels fan it’s required viewing. And if you’re an action movie fan and you’ve got a spare ninety minutes or so, you could do quite a bit worse than White Tiger. So, yeah, give White Tiger a shot. It has some good moments in it.

See White Tiger. See it, see it, see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: 27

Explosions: Multiple, big and small.

Nudity?: Yes. It’s not bad.

Doobage: A nice opening theme, a fire motif, drugs, strangulation, neck breaking, cell phone bullshit, off screen plane flying, a guy getting out of his car while it’s still in motion, guys on motorcycles, a gang massacre, tear gas, thump gun attack, sniper attack, some poor shooting, exploding car, slow motion guy falling off the back of s motorcycle after being shot dead, exploding motorcycle, bullet to the throat, speedboat hooey, off screen banging, hotel bullshit, a drug making lab, night club bullshit, a brawl in an alley, a double cross, exploding van, lead pipe attack, a fight down a hallway, attempted hammer attack, a big shootout in an abandoned factory, cigarette smoking, an odd sex scene, silencer hooey, major league ass kicking everywhere, more neck breaking, more speed boat bullshit, a training montage for some reason, bed bondage, a branding threat, cargo ship hooey, mega neck break, poisoning (maybe), slow motion diving, some weird dancing, Molotov cocktail hooey, exploding drug lab, phone to the head, giant fireball hooey, exploding boat, and a sappy ending.

Kim Richards?: None.

Gratuitous: Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Gary Daniels, Matt Craven, guy smack talking, fake assaulting a kid, SWAT team hooey, slow motion shootout, a Gary Daniels sitting in a room montage, slow motion walking into a drug lab, talk of losing face, cigarette smoking, the ass of Gary Daniels, shit talking, Gary Daniels speaking Chinese, a lame final fight, and a sappy ending.

Best lines: “Don’t be impatient,” “It’s okay,” “Did you father ask you to bring a phone?,” “What’s wrong? I miss my husband and I want to spend some time with him,” “This is bullshit. I just want you to know this is bullshit. Yeah, well, fuck you, too,” “That’s it. They ruined our weekend for a fucking maybe,” “So, exactly what do you want me to do?,” “You call a life on your knees a good position?,” “You know what I always liked you, Tang? Nothing,” “Go away! We’re bonding!,” “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of her,” “I’m trying to penetrate the Chinese underworld,” “What’s my name? Do you know my name? Mike Ryan! Don’t you forget it!,” “You’re making us Americans feel left out,” “Hi, Mike,” “What have we got, Bobby?,” “You don’t get along with people, do you?,” “You’re gonna kill me! You’re gonna fucking kill me!,” “Have you ever been pushed so far that you have no choice? I can’t walk away,” “Captain Kirk,” “I can deliver you into the fire, but will the flames cleanse you or consume you?,” “No, Jade, I’m a cop, not an assassin,” “I’ll be waiting in the car, Mr. Ryan,” “This hurts me more than it hurts you,” “What the hell did he do to you? Get the bastard!,” and “You look like shit!.”

Rating: 7.0/10.0


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Well, I think that’ll be about it for now. Don’t forget to sign up with disqus if you want to comment on this article and any other 411 article. You know you want to, so just go do it.

B-movies rule. Always remember that.

White Tiger

Gary Daniels– Mike Ryan
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa– Victor Chow
Julia Nickson– Jade
Matt Craven– John Grogan
Dana Lee– Zhou
George Cheung– Detective Fong
(check out the entire cast here)

Directed by Richard Martin
Screenplay by Gordon Melbourne, Roy Sallows, and Don Woodman, based on an original story by Bey Logan (Raul Inglis also, apparently, did “uncredited” work on the screenplay)

Distributed by Hallmark Home Entertainment and Platinum Disc

Rated R for violence, language, and nudity.
Runtime– 93 minutes

Buy it here