I watched Little Big Soldier thinking it was going to be just another Jackie Chan flick. I came to find out that I was pleasantly surprised to find out its a great little movie that follows a soldier, who, alone with an enemy general, are the lone survivors of a long battle. He take the general prisoner intending to hand him over for a reward. All Little Big Soldier’s action is directed as usual by Chan himself, now in his mid-fifties and inclined to indulge in fewer acrobatics than usual. Completed in 2008 and shelved until 2010, it was yet another dud in a long line of martial arts misfires, and many feared that Jackie’s best films were already behind him. Being a fan of asian cinemain general I will never turn my back on Jackie Chan.
I’m happy to state that this is a big hit for him. The absence of Chan’s inimitable death-defying stunts is compensated by supple physical slapstick, which makes clever use of natural props as simple as twigs, stones and bamboo poles culled from extensive outdoor locations. Little Big Soldier’s leads are reasonably likable and carry the film with plenty of chemistry and humor. The comedy works more often than not with the vast majority of it due to Chan’s expressions, mannerisms, and reaction shots. Tension mounts to all this humor however as we realize that the general is not the soldier’s only worry. The Wei’s crown prince is hot on their trail with a private entourage of warriors. They are seeking the general to kill him.
As far as I can see, Little Big Soldier is a movie that marks a dramatic shift in Hong Kong filmmaking. Having watched quite a number of Hong Kong flicks, this is probably the first time that the former British colony has produced a legitimate buddy-movie, and set in a period piece too. Although Chan’s character is the only humorous thing about the movie, he is enough. You will laugh, frequently and loudly. It’s easy to see he’s having lots of fun, and not trying to be too serious.
If Chan fans are here only for action, then Little Big Soldier is probably not going to satisfy them. I said it’s a war movie, but it’s also a movie about peace. About hope. About doing the right thing. But what is really impressive in this story is how well the characters work together. Jackie Chan’s character is terribly unlucky but continues to keep a positive attitude, singing about coming home and what his dad used to say to him as advice. This is an entertainment that crosses multiple genres and doesn’t confine itself to a single tone or emotion. I have no problem recommending this film to my readers and would definetely urge you to watch his movies that don’t arrive in American theaters as the quality of his films will always be better.