Plot: What’s it about?
Gina Hayes (Virginia Madsen) is a loving mother and most people would consider her a normal, well adjusted woman. But when tragedy strikes her where she is most sensitive, her personality takes a turn for the dark side and she becomes consumed with anger and revenge. While she is out with her son looking for a mask for Halloween, a stray bullet from a ruthless killer hits and kills her young son, right there in the streets. The man didn’t mean to kill her son and was aiming for some rival gang members, but that matters little to her in the grand scheme. She remembers little about the man, but she does recall a distinct tattoo on the man’s chest, in the form of a red tiger. She uses all the means at her disposal to track down the killer and gain her revenge, but the process is long and tedious. In the end, she chooses to seduce potential men and then check them for the tattoo in the throes of passion. This seems to be a simple revenge plot, but is there much more than meets the eye to Gena’s plans?
I was drawn to this movie because of the interesting storyline, but I always seemed to miss it when it aired on television. As such, when this was released on our beloved format I jumped at the chance to review the disc. I’ve now watch the flick a couple times and I am very pleased with what I saw, especially the action driven sequences. Some very cool action scenes can be found in this film, with an emphasis on gunplay, but don’t think this is another mindless action feature. This film was made in a time when thrillers in this vein were numerous, but it is not a clone by any means. Of course some elements are held in common, but more new than old is used to make this movie come together. I have read some reviews which claim the action scenes life material from John Woo, but I think just because some fancy gunwork is involved, doesn’t make this a rip off. If you like films like American Yakuza and the like, then this would make a perfect rental choice next time you’re looking for a new flick to check out.
This film was directed by Norberto Barba, who seems to have a solid handle on directing action/dramas, as no glaring problems surface in this one. The action sequences do mark the best parts of this film though, which is not a bad thing by any means. Some movies are known for their acting or emotional content, but this one simply shines brightest when guns are being fired. There’s nothing wrong with that, now is there? The techniques used in these do hearken to some other directors, but this is unavoidable with so many gifted action directors in the business. This is not the best one you’ll find, but Barba has delivered a solid effort overall with Blue Tiger. If you want to see more Barba’s work I recommend Solo and Chavez Ravine, as well as television’s New York Undercover. The lead in this film is the talented Virginia Madsen (Candyman, The Hot Spot), who gives a convincing and adequate turn in all respects. Also in nice size roles are Harry Dean Stanton (Repo Man, Red Dawn) and the ultra cool Ryo Ishibashi (American Yakuza, Back To Back), both of whom outshine Madsen most of the time. The supporting cast also includes Toru Nakamura (Gen-X Cops), Henry Mortensen (Crimson Tide), and Claudia Templeton (No Way Back, Maniac Cop 3).
Video: How does it look?
Blue Tiger is presented in a full frame transfer, which seems to be an open matte, since I could find no signs of pan & scan or image cropping. I could be wrong though, but I think this is the original aspect ratio which was matted for theatrical release at one time. The image looks very good, but doesn’t measure up to more recent, anamorphic transfers. The colors look natural, but bright with no smears or bleeds and flesh tones are warm and consistent. Contrast is sometimes a little too bright, but usually the shadows are stark enough and black levels well balanced. Some small instances of edge enhancement and pixel breakup occur, but nothing to become alarmed about.
Audio: How does it sound?
This disc includes a 2.0 surround track, which is more than enough to tackle this film’s audio material. I detected no problems with harshness or balance, so the overall clarity and separation are quite good, which is always a strong starting point. I would have liked to have had a more active option during the action sequences, but you’ll still notice some decent range and activity nonetheless. The track just lacks the powerful punch we’ve come to expect from modern surround mixes. It still sounds good though and I doubt many will complain too much, since the music and dialogue emerge in fine form also. No serious problems come to light and while this could have been a more active mix, I think it turns out well in the end.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.