DIR: Sheng Ding • WRI: Jackie Chan • PRO: Jackie Chan, Solon So • CAST: Jackie Chan, Rongguang Yu
If you sit down to Little Big Soldier expecting to be thrilled by 90 minutes of Jackie leapfrogging around set pieces, delivering athletic beat-downs and falling off stuff in spectacular fashion, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. This 2010 film is very light in the action stakes, and considering 95% of Jackie’s career has been built around filming action, your disillusionment is understandable.I allot you 30 seconds to deal with it.
Consider instead that 95% of Jackie’s career has also been built about his peerless physical comedy and you’ll get a feeling for Little Big Soldier. Going against the grain, this is a buddy comedy/adventure film about a tired old foot-soldier who finds himself in possession of an enemy commander. Little Big Soldier chronicles his attempts to transport the young general back to his homeland where he’ll be rewarded with goats or sheep or something. As you’re no longer expecting 8-minute fight scenes, you’ll discover the dynamic of Little Big Soldier works better than most films of its genre.
There are minor yet creative fights, imaginative stunts, a well constructed narrative and best of all, a believable, entertaining chemistry between Jackie Chan and Leehom Wang. There’s a common misconception that Jackie cannot act, relying solely on his physicality to compel viewers. Such opinions are ignorant of the fact the man has been acting for over 40 years, and it’s nice to see a film that allows him to showcase his range.
Along with his writing, Jackie’s performance is funny, sensitive and powerfully stirring and coupled with the keen pace and enthusiasm, despite yourself you may find yourself moved by the Little Big Soldier’s conclusion. It’s not perfect: some of the jokes miss their mark, the absence of premier action is noticeable, it concludes a bit too quickly and there is absolutely no room for a sequel. But said complaints are more along the lines of ‘I want more!’ than ‘That were terrible!’
If you adored Jackie’s foray into lighter, more subdued adventure, then the DVD offers a lengthy behind the scenes set in China’s astounding Yunnan province. Similarly there’s an extensive interview gallery featuring the stars, the director, the writers, the goats, the sheep…
It’s easy to come down hard on Little Big Soldier for not being all it could have been, but that attitude is akin to coming down hard on a 56-year-old man who wants to share the lime light, take a different route and, for once, focus on something other than getting beat up.
It’s a sweet tale. It’s good fun. Don’t be a hater!
Format: Dolby, PAL, Widescreen
Region: Region 2 Number of discs: 2
Studio: Showbox Media Group
DVD Release Date: 8th Nov 2010