Tiger On The Beat is a pretty routine Hong Kong take on the American buddy cop genre. Lau Kar Leung must have been strangely out of sorts when he made this — the bloody action and crude comedy seems more akin to Wong Jing than the director that brought us The 36 Chambers of Shaolin. Perhaps he simply feels more comfortable in the martial arts world of old.
Conan Lee doesn’t make much of an impression in the lead role (and looks alarmingly like a bodybuilding Jackie Chan), but Chow is fun as the sleazy womaniser complete with nicely dated Hawaiian shirts (not a suit in sight). Lau Kar Leung stalwart Gordon Liu (with hair!) plays a villain for a change, and although he’s not given much to do is actually pretty good at being nasty.
The emphasis for much of the film is on comedy which mostly revolves around the relationship of the budding buddies. It’s not particularly funny but it runs along at a good clip. Basically it’s the last twenty minutes that contains the good stuff: the action. The reputation of this film rests on the shoulders of the insane Conan Lee Vs. Gordon Liu chainsaw duel, and it’s well worth the wait. Chow also has quite a nice “that’s not a knife, this is a knife” scene in the final reel. This is a lesser film in the Lau Kar Leung canon but it’s pretty watchable and definitely has its moments.