Caged Sword Fighting

While separate in continuity with the first Tiger Cage, the sequel keeps a number of ideas and themes. Drugs, international crime, and corrupt cops all feed this showy Hong Kong action flick, but Tiger Cage II uses this baseline for an ever-changing buddy cop flick.

Donnie Yen is at his peak here, kicking so fast the camera barely records the movement. Paired with actress Rosamund Kwan, the two spar with one another – verbally, mostly – Kwan playing the divorce lawyer for Yen’s ex, and Yen an ex-cop. This does create an obnoxious damsel in distress scenario, and Kwan is repeatedly whining, being duped, or changing allegiances in a role clearly written by a male. Think Kate Capshaw from Temple of Doom.

Tiger Cage II stages a number of memorable set pieces

There is comedy though; it’s not all sexist. Yen’s brutish approach to keeping Kwan safe leads to additionally questionable decisions, then mixes in with the corrupt cop responsible for this chaos. That trio helps keep Tiger Cage II light, even if the violent, bloody action suggests something more serious.

For the action, Tiger Cage II stages a number of memorable set pieces, one with Yen brawling on a bus roof, sending the villain over the edge and onto a moving car. The stunt’s danger is immense. Staring down friend and on-screen adversary John Salvitti, Yen pulls out a sword and duels in a wild spot, bloody, fast, and sensationally choreographed.

Tiger Cage II rarely slows, and those moments build likable characters who rarely agree on anything. With Kwan stuck between two men, one engaged in crime, the other considering it, their constant bickering seems utterly childish considering the circumstances. As such, this offsets some of the helpless damsel routine, making the men out to be testosterone-fueled idiots (emotionally, anyway).

Smartly compact and barely over 90-minutes, Tiger Cage II spends its time well, wholly enjoyable, and in a crowded genre, a standout.


Best guess says Tiger Cage II’s Blu-ray comes from an older master as the visible noise reduction and edge enhancement reduce visible detail to almost nothing (although the final reel does improve). The further back the camera, the worse it is. Halos intrude, lowering the natural texture. Grain does remain, but it’s reduced to mush. Tiger Cage II looks like viewing the movie through a thin layer of oil.

Color fares better, giving flesh tones decent depth. Natural replication provides primaries with warmth and saturation.

The print itself appears almost completely spotless. Ages hasn’t reduced the contrast’s pep or the shadow’s density; mastering doesn’t cause either to lose detail when at their best.


Neither the Cantonese or English dub tracks impress with their fidelity. Both reveal their dated origins with dull dialog reproduction, flat music, and stock sound effects. Remaining in mono regardless of the track choice, DTS-HD doesn’t impede the aural quality, but mastering doesn’t appear to help either.


Author David West continues his commentary for the entire trilogy here. An interview with choreographer Bill Lui is followed by a video essay by author Victor Fan on this era of Hong Kong action cinema. The disc also includes two versions, the Hong Kong and Malaysian cuts, but doesn’t specify any changes/differences (but it’s likely just a different ending).

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Tiger Cage II
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Merging the best of buddy comedies and Hong Kong action, Tiger Cage II is a highlight of both genres.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 34 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray:

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