What she just saw could kill her. Virginia Madsen (The Rainmaker) and Harry Dean Stanton (The Green Mile) star in this sleek, stylish thriller about an ancient myth that comes to life in a woman's quest for vengeance. Acco... more »rding to legend, the savage Blue Tiger has only one weakness: its desire for a Red Tiger soulmate. When a Yakuza assassin emblazoned with the Blue Tiger tattoo kills her young son, Gena Hayes (Madsen) transforms herself into the predatory Red Tiger to seek revenge. Aided by reclusive tattoo artist Smith (Stanton), she prowls the underworld of Los Angeles's Little Tokyo, seducing Japanese gangsters one by one to see if their bare bodies contain the tattoo she seeks. Increasingly dependent on a world she barely understands, Gena realizes she cannot stop until she finds the Blue Tiger--and her own true destiny.« less
""Blue Tiger" is a film that you want to hate for its overtly gratuitous violence, but instead you find yourself compelled to watch it again and again, haunted by the tragic story that slowly unfolds before your eyes. The film begins with the death of a child. A young mother Gena Hayes played magnificently by Virginia Masden witnesses the death of her son when he is accidentally shot by a member of the Japanese Yakuza. All she sees of the killer is a tattoo on his chest and back depicting a red tiger. This image haunts Gena and to stop herself descending into madness she decides to find the man who killed her child. In order to find him she must first infiltrate the world of the Yakuza. This she does by becoming a hostess at a club frequented by Yakuza gang members. She learns to speak Japanese, teaches herself how to handle a gun and then sets out on her quest of retribution. At the same time she learns more about the red tiger she saw. Harry Dean Stanton is superb as the dying tattoist Smith who tells her the legend of the red tiger and the blue tiger. These two mythical creatures are destined to meet one day, whether in passion or in violence, but when they do meet a price has to be paid. Gena takes this legend to heart and gets Smith to craft into her flesh the image of the red tiger's nemesis. This is he does, and it is one of the film's pivotal moments as we watch him begin to tattoo her flesh, not swiftly with an electric needle but done over time with crude instruments, as it would have been done hundreds of years ago in Japan. Gena's pain becomes our pain as she suffers the agonizing crafting of the Blue Tiger onto her flesh for like her we know that soon the two tigers will meet and only one will survive. The director uses the image of this tiger and its counterpart as a central theme that runs throughout the story. This is not just a story about revenge; it is also a love story, because Gena inadvertently falls in love with the killer of her son. There are several sub plots to keep track of such as the killer's relationship with his brother, a gang war between Asian and Whites, and a cop who suspects that Gena knows more about her son's killer than she is letting on. The film is amazing because it manages to grab you by the throat from the beginning and keep you riveted to your seat right to the end. This is one of the best films you will ever buy; it will stun your senses and leave you begging for more. Virginia Masden brilliantly portrays the fragile but vengeful Gena Hayes and Tôru Nakamura is totally believable as the damned killed Seiji, a man of violence, yet a man of compassion. "Blue Tiger" is well worth adding to your collection of videos if you want something intelligent but action packed on your shelf; it's just a shame it isn't available on DVD as well."
Best in Class!
Robert Blaine Miller | San Francisco, California | 01/09/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an excellant film in nearly all regards. While the storyline is fairly "mature", the plot twists and characterizations are fresh and new. And as anyone with body art will attest, as the ink work progresses with patience and no little amount of discomfort, so to does the film. It's almost as if the frames of the next scene can't come soon enough! I've been looking for this film to add to my collection for some time. Harry Dean Stanton is a real sleeper here. GREAT acting. When the economics allow, it's spot is reserved."
Better than it should be
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 06/29/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While skirting the edges of formula, this film nevertheless manages to include a few elements of originality that definitely place it above the norm in the thriller arena. Gena Hayes, a single mother of a five year old son, watches in shock and grief as her young son's life is destroyed by a yakuza in a drugstore wearing a silver mask. She sees a blue tiger tatoo on the yakuza's chest and does some research, ultimately finding a tatoo artist who knows its signficance. When she has him ink a red tiger on her bare skin, following the legend of the meeting of the two tigers, it's purely for revenge.So the revenge motif, long a staple of the thriller--American and otherwise--pins the story's plot to its characters. But here the writing and directing are both fresh and lean, so there is a minimum of unnecessary grunting, emoting, slipshod hammy dialogue, and pointless commanding and commandeering (i.e., You do this; Steal that truck...etc.)Instead what we have is a sharper, crisper entry in the East meets West thriller department (the setting is Los Angeles' Little Tokyo) whose momentum is strong and confident enough to pull you to the finale which is a meting out of just desserts. More important than the inner working of the yakuza is Gena's own thinking on how to find the one who killed her child. (For a more in-depth, gritty, and intense portrayal of the yakuza, see a few films by Fukasaku like Battles Without Honor or Humanity, or Yakuza Graveyard--or by Beat Takeshi, like Sonatine).Harry Dean Stanton here plays a reclusive tatoo artist and acquits himself well. Only one logical flaw comes to mind here. Is there only ONE man with a blue tiger tatoo?You decide."
Marin Soltys | Houston, TX United States | 09/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie was well done. It got it's message across on how revenge motivates people to do things. Madsen was execellent as the mother out for justice. The other actors did well also. I'd recomend this to everyone I see."
A mothers revenge.
Tainted Cross | Australia | 03/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Great movie, I loved it when it first come out and still love it (apart from the God awful waitress costume choice). The acting is solid and convincing, the story line and pace is entertaining and good. The sex scene was well done and in line with the story. This is a good revenge flick that incorporated the east v west theme well. Highly recommend."