Crackerjack timing is vital in martial arts brawls and likeable kung fu caper The Paper Tigers has come along at an especially opportune moment.
The till-ringing achievements of Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings – a Marvel superhero movie with a predominantly Asian cast that easily surpassed estimates at the global box office – has demonstrated that there is an appetite for films that combine beat-em-up action with humour and heart.
The ground has also been prepared by the runaway success of Netflix hit Cobra Kai, the unashamedly nostalgic sequel series that channels the against-the-odds spirit of the original Karate Kid movies but adds its own midlife-crisis spin.
Cobra Kai season four will not launch until December but The Paper Tigers functions as an excellent stopgap, since it similarly revolves around sad-sack middle-aged dudes trying to reclaim past glories.
The central trio of Danny (Alain Uy), Hing (Ron Yuan) and Jim (Mykel Shannon Jenkins) are childhood friends in Seattle who trained under a firm-but-fair master – or “sifu” – named Cheung.
After dedicating themselves to the most honourable principles of kung fu, the so-called “Three Tigers” ended up drifting apart when they failed to roll with the punches of adulthood. It is only when Cheung is found dead in an alley decades later that they reunite.