Tiger Cage is a 1988 action movie directed by Yuen Woo-Ping, starring Jacky Cheung, Donnie Yen and Simon Yam, and is one of Yuen's many collaborations with Donnie throughout his career, the two of them having worked together previously in Drunken Tai Chi, and will collaborate again in the sequel, and in Iron Monkey.
When a team of police officers consisting of Fan (Jacky), Terry (Donnie), Shirley (Irene Wan), and their superiors Inspector Huang (Simon) and Uncle Tat (Richard Ng) busts a drug deal, but with the leading drug dealer escaping, they end up finding themselves being marked for death, not only by the dealers, but by an informant and mole in their ranks.
The movie is followed by a sequel two years later, Tiger Cage 2, also starring Donnie Yen, but this time the movie follows an entirely new storyline with all-new characters, its cast including Cynthia Khan, Rosamund Kwan (from Once Upon a Time in China) and Robin Shou. The new plot involves Inspector Yau (Donnie), a police officer who ends up getting involved in Mandy (Rosamund), a lawyer, who's a witness in a crime.
Donnie Yen, Yuen Woo-ping and Cynthia Khan would collaborate once again later, in In the Line of Duty 4: Witness.
Tiger Cage provides the following tropes:
- Advertised Extra: Given how Donnie Yen is the most popular and successful actor among the movie's Ensemble Cast, DVD re-releases will often feature Donnie Yen's character, Terry, in its front and center. In the actual film, Terry only have one fight scene before getting shot dead, over an hour before the credits.
- Bait-and-Switch: Happens during the police locker raid scene, when the Superintendant is ordering for every officer's lockers to be emptied to track down whom is the corrupt officer hiding drugs in the police precinte. Uncle Tat's locker is emptied, an investigative officer declared he found something... which turns out to be a porno mag.
- Battle Couple: Shirley and Lung. It doesn't last long. In the opening, he and Shirley are going after the notorious Drug Dealer Hung in their Police Force. They're engaged and ready to get married until Lung is murdered by a venegful Hung.
- Batter Up!: During the fight scene in Uncle Tat's house when Officer Fan is getting beaten up by the black thug, he conveniently finds an aluminum bat beside a shelf, just handy for him to grab and beat up his opponent and turning the battle around.
- Boom, Headshot!: Plenty; Swallow Hsiong the mob boss, the random mobster who tries to use Shirley as a hostage, Terry, Inspector Huang, and a few nameless mooks.
- Breaking the Bonds: When Terry confronts Uncle Tat for being a dirty cop, he forcee Tat at Gun point to handcuff the two drug dealers to their car. Both men breakout and proceed to fight Terry together.
- Desecrating the Dead: After Uncle Tat managed to kill the black thug by shoving his head into a spike, he then spends some time punching at the corpse in a rage. Justified, since he's still upset over Terry's death and the fact that Inspector Huang would betray him and send the black thug to kill him, if not for Officer Fan's rescue.
- Designated Girl Fight: Between Shirley and Inspector Huang's henchwoman. Shirley gets the snot beaten out of her and ends up getting thrown into a pile of barbed wire, but she turns the battle around by tricking the henchwoman to charge into the wire, where the latter then accidentally strangles herself.
- Evil vs. Evil: Drug dealers vs. Corrupt cops.
- Frame-Up: Officer Fan is framed for being an informant for the Hong Kong drug dealers, through the packs of drugs hidden in his locker... by Inspector Huang.
- Groin Attack:
- Terry briefly does this to the black thug during the fight scene at the docks.
- Shirley briefly does this to Inspector Huang using her knee when he attempts to rape her after capturing her alive and revealing his true identity as an informant.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The black thug suffers this fate when Uncle Tat shoves him into a pointed hook, which stabs him through, temple first.
- It's Always Sunny at Funerals: Lung's funeral is in daylight when the service is held.
- Man Bites Man: Uncle Tat briefly bites Inspector Huang in the leg during the final fight in a desparate attempt to take him down.
- Scary Black Man: The muscular African-American drug dealer who is the lead bodyguard of the foreign drug syndicate that infiltrates Hong Kong. He's played by Donnie Yen's close friend Michael Woods, and this is their first (of at least 6) onscreen collaborations.
- Shoot the Hostage Taker:
- It's even better when the hostage is the shooter. The mobster who grabbed a passing woman as a hostage attempts to use her as a shield, but unfortunately for him, that hostage is Inspector Shirley going undercover, where she then whips out a concealed weapon, overpowers her captor, and shoots him in the head.
- In the ending, Officer Fan shoots Inspector Huang in the head while Huang is using Shirley as a hostage.
- Soft Glass: Characters crash through glass and are not ripped to shreds.