Niven finds his Inner Tiger
"Major" Walter Bradbury (David Niven) arrives in a troubled Asian county where a Japanese ambassador, Kagoyama (Toshir? Mifune), has hired him to tutor his son being impressed with what Walter says he has done in life and who he has worked for. So Walter meets the ambassador's 11-year-old son Koichi (Kazuhito Ando) and they hit it off with the young child fascinated by Walter's tales of daring do and wartime heroics. What Koichi doesn't realise is that these heroic tales are all lies something which Walter will have to deal with when due to the political unrest guerrillas kidnap him and young Koichi.
It may be my mind playing tricks on me but I might have watched "Paper Tiger" before back in the early 80s. Or it may be that the 70s soundtrack to this movie is so familiar that it makes me feel like I have watched it before. The thing is that whilst "Paper Tiger" is a fun movie whilst watching, especially over 40 years later with the addition of a nostalgic side, it isn't overly memorable due to its simplistic nature. We have Bradbury who is full of lies about is heroic past entertaining a young child with them and then having to find some courage to be heroic when he and the kid is kidnapped it. That is the story and for all the fun and adventure as well as action it isn't at all memorable.
But "Paper Tiger" still entertains thanks to the acting with David Niven perfectly cast as the fake major as not only does he deliver that military aspect to his character you also can see him being a classic con artist who makes things up as he goes. But on top of that Niven also has a touch of the grandfather about him when it comes to how he connects with young Kazuhito Ando. On the subject of young Kazuhito Ando he delivers this cute performance of a wide eye kid who believes everything he is told and is extremely polite which makes them a likeable pairing.
What this all boils down to is that "Paper Tiger" is a pleasant little adventure movie from the 70s which will still entertain those who like David Niven movies. But the simplistic nature of the movie makes it less than memorable.