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I wanted so much to like LITTLE BIG SOLDIER.  I really really did – it was supposedly Jackie doing what he does best; fighting people, pulling stupid faces, and not being in Hollywood.

Luckily, I did like it.  You thought I was going to say something different, didn’t you?  Just keeping you on your toes.  So why did I like it?  Well, because it’s Jackie doing what he does best; fighting people, pulling stupid faces, and not being in Hollywood.  From the off, it’s clear the film’s a comedy, as we’re introduced to Jackie’s lone survivor of a fierce battle.  As he dusts himself off, we notice that there’s an arrow skewered right through his middle, but he seems fine – a puzzle which is quickly unravelled as it’s revealed as a spring loaded fake.  Jackie’s up to his old tricks again.  What is he like eh?  He’s a card!

Then, almost straight away we’re given a quick fight scene ( a good one, too), before the film sets off on its journey, or rather, Jackie’s journey, as he transports Leehom Wang’s injured general across the country to his state in search of a reward.  Oh and he fights some people too.

Now, we all know Jackie’s getting on, so how do his action scenes in this compare to his previous work?  Now, they’re obviously not nearly as good as his early stuff, but they’re still pretty darn good – if a little fight-lite.  By that I mean he doesn’t actually do that much fighting, it’s mostly a case of jumping around the place and throwing stones at people’s heads – which is fine.  It’s fine because he does spring into action in a few places, and when he does, it’s Chantastic (sorry) – just don’t expect any real martial arts popping up.  Still, if you’re a bit disappointed with the lack of Jackie action, you’ve always got Wang Leehom (in only his ninth feature film role) to fill in the cracks.

I’ve always liked Wang, mainly because he was one of the best things in the otherwise poo-poo AVENGING FIST, and I also enjoyed him in CHINA STRIKE FORCE (Shhhhh, I actually quite like that film).  Here, he’s centre stage throughout, playing off Jackie with an amiable charisma that assists the believable chemistry between the two frenemies.  He deals with all his material professionally, and is never unconvincing – which is all the more impressive considering he’s still a pop-star first, actor second.

He’s also quite good at fighting.  He’s proved he’s no slouch in the action department before, so it’s no surprise that he’s just as good in this role, one which requires him to play a skillful fighter.  He’s entirely believable and his numerous scraps with various opponents are rather well-done – they’re mostly sword fights, but they’re impressive all the same.  As are the rest of the fights, although unfortunately they never really get into full swing, they’re all too short, particularly the two which had the greatest potential.  The first is when Yu Rongguang turns up – now this could have been an awesome fight between two legends, but instead the opportunity is completely missed and there’s no fight scene worth watching.  The second comes when the Prince’s guard and a nutty woman with a whip face-off – they’ve both been built up as impressive fighters, so you assume a showdown between the two will be suitable spectacular.  Silly you though, because it only lasts about 30 seconds – ultra let-down.

Apart from the lack of fight scenes, and a completely unnecessary sub plot with a singer/prostitute that adds nothing to the film whatsoever, LITTLE BIG SOLDIER is a success the majority of the time.  Which is nice, because you know, I like Jackie Chan.  It’s nice to like his films too.  Not the case with RUSH HOUR 3, but we’ll let him off.  This was good.  Well done Jackie.

LITTLE BIG SOLDIER is out on 2-disc Region 2 DVD from Cine-Asia on 8th November.

REVIEW: Little Big Soldier (2010), 7.6 out of 10 based on 14 ratings Related Topics:
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  • http://www.wopular.com/blogs/senh Senh

    I went into this knowing that there's not gonna be much in terms of fighting. It's great to see Jackie Chan in another successful movie where he doesn't fight much. It's an entertaining comedy. This, along with Shinjuku Incident, show that Jackie can still have a career without martial arts.

  • Justyn

    great movie, jackie was excellent in this, but also as a writter he is one of the best. Biggest legend ever in hong kong cinema, yes he is bigger than bruce lee by a mile.

  • http://www.wopular.com/blogs/senh Senh

    Hard to say. Bruce only made 3 films in HK (not counting Game of Death and Enter the Dragon), but at the time they broke box office records. Fist of Fury got remade multiple times on TV and at the movies. There are films made that are offshoots to Bruce Lee – Ip Man and Fearless – and a couple biopics. I think most people in the world would still give Bruce Lee the edge as the biggest star from Hong Kong. Your assessment that Jackie Chan is the biggest legend “by a mile” is way off.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-Anderson-Craft/1078925675 Daniel Anderson Craft

    I too must confess to liking “China Strike Force”. Mark Decascos, Coolio and some great stunt work.

  • Adhipar

    It's not like what I expected before coming into the theater but I like this movie a lot for different reason the reviewer has mentioned. Jackie nails the story quite good and plays his character quite convincing. This movie and the Karate Kid shows that Jackie has more talent & charisma than just doing some funny fights and funny faces. Good for him.

  • Baned_fesbuk

    this film is cool with comedy scene / make funny… but isn't best movie of jackie chan..

    http://www.wisatalembang.com/

  • Mike dk

    I did not like this film and found it quite dissapointing…I really wanted to like it, but it just didn't work for me. The ending of the film does not work at all for this kind of film (can not be specific as not to spoil anything).

  • http://twitter.com/GuideEbook GuideEbook

    Jackie Chan, what a combination: a great comedian, actor plus martial art artist. I really like all his movies and especially enjoyed the little big soldier.

  • http://twitter.com/GuideEbook GuideEbook

    Jackie Chan, what a combination: a great comedian, actor plus martial art artist. I really like all his movies and especially enjoyed the little big soldier.

  • 107

    Now in the states … nearly a year later.