image courtesy of Tai Seng
AKA: Eat My Dust
Michael Tsang, Cynthia Lam and Mark Ng (from left to right). Image courtesy of Tai Seng.Even though the "girls with guns" genre is very popular among Western fans of Hong Kong films, the movies never really seemed to inspire as much passion in the local audiences. Part of the problem is that so many of these films were produced in such a short period of time, so that decent pictures like this one got lost in a sea of movies like Angel the Kickboxer. While Drug Tiger is nothing great, it's a good female-oriented action film that's a nice showcase for Cynthia Lam. The basic plot of this shot-in-Taiwan cheapie centers around two low-rent hooligans named Rob (Mark Ng) and Hank (Michael Tsang, whom I am guessing is related to Eric Tsang in some way, since they look a lot alike and share some of the same mannerisms) whose "illegal" activities (mostly selling chestnuts -- what a couple of tough guys) aren't getting them anywhere, and so they want to turn over a new leaf. They meet up with a cop named Wendy Ho (Cynthia Lam, who is fufilling the Moon Lee/Cynthia Khan "cute but tough" cop role here), and, well... nothing much really happens until Rob meets up with his uncle, who tells him that the guy who killed his parents is a drug lord named Bill Yang (Johnny Chiu). You can probably piece together what happens next -- Rob and Hank decide to go after Bill, with Wendy in hot pursuit.
Shing Fui-On. Image courtesy of Tai Seng.Drug Tiger is a really cheap movie. The characters drink Busch beer, the soundtrack uses MC Hammer and recycled bits from Terminator 2, there's a lot of use of stock footage of Hong Kong, you can see wires and mattresses during some of the stunts, and there is even some action footage of guys blowing up that shows up several times during the film. Drug Tiger also suffers from a really lousy script that goes all over the map. The film starts out with a somber tone where Rob's parents are killed in bloody John Woo-like fashion, and then switches into a very dumb comedy mode that had me itching to use the fast-forward button (one particularly bad sequence has Michael Tsang trying to get out of paying a check by sleeping with an old lady). By and large, the acting is fairly wooden and overall just poor, with only Cynthia Lam managing to create an interesting character.
However, like many of these cheap movies, they seem to have sunk the whole budget for Drug Tiger into the last twenty minutes, which is an action extravaganza (or at least as extravagant as you could get on a low budget) with plenty of fighting of both the hand-to-hand and gun-based variety. Again, Cynthia Lam stands out here and shows that she could have been a star in this genre if she had come out a year or two earlier. Alas, the genre was pretty much dead by the time Drug Tiger came out, and Lam's career never took off. It's a shame because despite its' flaws, Drug Tiger shows some signs of promise, and I would liked to have seen Cynthia in something with a budget bigger than fifty cents.
Michael Tsang and Mark Ng. Image courtesy of Tai Seng.