Awfully Good: Challenge of the Tiger
Challenge of the Tiger (1980)
Director: Bruce Le
Stars: Bruce Le, Richard Harrison, Bolo Yeung
Is there a plot?
Neo-Nazis steal a super sterility formula that could kill the sperm of every man on the planet.
[slowly takes off glasses] Oh. My. God.
What's the damage?
I had absolutely no expectations for CHALLENGE OF THE TIGER. It was a "bonus" movie attached to another DVD, but the title was intriguing/confusing enough (Is the tiger metaphorical or is someone really fighting a giant cat?) that I decided to give it a shot. What followed was an epic story of international espionage, boobies and poor decision making.
A rare look inside the Casa de Adams.
The story follows two CIA agents, one a Timothy Dalton-Roger Moore hybrid and the other a Bruce Lee clone, as they attempt to stop semen haters from selling a sterilization potion to evildoers from Spain, Vietnam, the Japanese yakuza, German scientists and more. (Apparently everyone the world over wants to kill sperm more than Mountain Dew.) You'll notice I didn't mention anything about a tiger. That's because there's no reference to the titular cat anywhere in the film. The movie was also released as GYMKATA KILLER, which makes an equal amount of non-sense, as there's no gymnastics or Kurt Thomas to be found.
I would like to say this shot was taken out of context, but it's sadly not. That girl is getting a golden shower from a statue.
The Asian spy, played by conveniently named writer/director/actor Bruce Le (seriously, they couldn't do more than just drop one vowel from his name?), is clearly a poor imitation of the deceased martial arts star. He seems to be an okay fighter, but they only give him ridiculous things to brawl with, like cars, motorcycles, and in the film's most memorable sequence, a live pissed-off bull. (You'll know when he defeats the animal by the random animation that show's the bull's brain exploding.) And in the great tradition of Lee's role as Kato on "The Green Hornet," Le does all the fighting and always has to save the wimpy white guy from harm. At one point, his American partner literally sits in the back and watches Le fight 10 people by himself.
And that was the last time anybody ever made fun of Sandy's Jewfro.
So what is the Timothy Dalton lookalike doing while all the action happens? Why, getting a little action of his own! The only thing his character has to offer in CHALLENGE OF THE TIGER is his power to continuously bed women for no discernible reason. He's not taking one for the team or seducing them for information to further the plot; women meet him and immediately need to know him biblically. It's out of control. This, of course, is symptom to the film's larger love of nudity and sex. In the first five minutes there's a random all-girl topless tennis match that gives JACKASS 3D a run for its money for the "Best Use of Slow Motion Ever" Award. And that's just the start. I think just about every woman on screen, be it an extra or someone with a speaking role, sheds her clothing at least once.
The oft forgotten tenet of Jeet Kune Do: "Keep it freaky."
This is all complicated by the fact that the Asian guy is clearly in love with his partner, which creates a palpable and uneasy sexual tension between them. Though it never reaches SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO-levels or homoeroticism, this isn't your average buddy cop chemistry. The two share many awkward glances, Le's character throws himself under a motorcycle to protect his friend, and at one point he even watches his partner have sex in a bathtub while creepily smiling.
Behold the face of immortality.
The other thing worth noting in CHALLENGE OF THE TIGER is the henchman played by cult martial arts star Bolo Yeung, who appears to be ageless. Some sources say Bolo was born in 1938, while others say 1946. Even assuming the latter, the man was 34 when he filmed this movie and well into his 40s when he made BLOODSPORT and Awfully Good fave BREATHING FIRE, yet he looks exactly the same! (Even today, at 64, he still looks freakily young.) We should seriously be studying that man's genetics.
How do I describe this clip? How about, "Our hero explains about the healing power of getting peed on to two topless girls, while they awkwardly watch another topless girl receive a golden shower from a statue." That'll do. (NSFW)
1) SLOW MOTION TOPLESS TENNIS MATCH! (NSFW)
2) A collection of the "best" fight scenes from the film, including Bruce Le going head to horns with a live bull, our pathetic hero getting nutkicked, and many more sad yet hilarious moments.
3) An example of the inappropriate relationship between the two protagonists, mainly the Asian guy creepily watching his partner get frisky with a girl in a bathtub. (NSFW)
Yes, all shapes and sizes.
Play Along at Home!
Take a shot or drink every time:
- Richard sexes a lady
- Somebody gets shot or stabbed but there's no blood or hole
- Bruce fights an animal
- Something is homoerotic or awkward
- A dog is dubbed
- There's an abrupt cut
Double shot if:
Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email and give him an excuse to drink.