Monday, November 15th, 2010
Subtitled in some markets as a “Spicy Thai Western,” Tears of the Black Tiger declares its intentions almost immediately. Early on in the film, the protagonist successfully shoots a hiding villain in an impressively circuitous, Rube Goldbergian fashion. Immediately thereafter, the following words appear onscreen: “Did you catch that? If not, we’ll play it again!” The firing of the bullet is then replayed in slow-motion, showing the trajectory of the bullet as it ricochets off several items before hitting its unfortunate mark. From the get-go, this film lets you know what you’re in for as an audience member.
I first watched Tears of the Black Tiger on Netflix Instant and was immediately taken with the film. However, when I reached the film’s climax, something seemed terribly wrong. The film ended on a strange note, one that not seemed tonally inconsistent with what came before, but left a few dangling plot threads as well plot. A quick check of IMDB and Wikipedia confirmed my suspicion and reminded me of a long-forgotten controversy in Asian cinema – the film had been re-edited by (surprise, surprise) Harvey Weinstein’s Miramax. Why Netflix decided to run this version, which apparently never had a DVD release of its own anyway was more than a little puzzling.