Few things are more fun than when an action movie has a sense of humor about itself. It’s even better when the action movie in question has an intimate understanding of its chosen vehicles of adrenaline—be they fights, car chases, etc.—and gives them to us as legibly as possible. Cheats or sloppy quick-cuts just don’t satisfy like when a movie really knows what it has and can’t wait to show you the details. That brings us to The Paper Tigers, one of our favorite movies of the year and one that mixes martial arts and comedy with a craftsman’s eye.
The fine folks behind writer/director Bao Tran’s film—now streamable on Netflix, so you have no excuse not to watch it—have given us an exclusive look at how some of its fights came together, courtesy of pre-viz fight choreography footage from action designer Ken Quitugua and second unit directors/stunt coordinators Sam Looc and Kerry Wong.
Take a look:
The fights put together by the ZeroGravity alumni trio—featuring Alain Uy, Mykel Shannon Jenkins, Brian Le, Matthew Page and Phillip Dang—look just as impressive with the pads in place. Especially considering they have to pull off those moves (and comedically pull those muscles) in full costume, making the realism all the more grounding/hilarious, compared to their workout gear.
It’s a fun look behind the curtain that reveals exactly what comes across in the film: That this is a no-frills production put together by folks that know exactly what they’re doing and operate expertly within their scope. You can be funny and exciting at any budget level, as long as you’ve got the chops. The Paper Tigers certainly does.