Little Big Soldier [大兵小將] (2010)
AKA Big Soldier, Little General, Junior Soldiers, The Big Soldier
Starring Jackie Chan, Wang Lee-Hom, Steve Yoo Seung-Jun, Lin Peng, Do Yuk-Ming, Ken Lo, Yu Rong-Guang, Jin Song, Xu Dong-Mei, Wu Yue, Wang Bao-Qiang, Niu Ben
Directed by Ding Sheng
Expectations: Low. Late-period Jackie Chan isn’t usually all that great.
Little Big Soldier has been a film close to Jackie Chan’s heart for roughly twenty years. It languished in development hell since the late 80s for some reason, probably the fact that at its core it’s not really a martial arts film. This is more of Jackie in a dramatic role than a straight action picture, although there is a lot of room for his distinct blend of action and comedy to burst forth. Who knows what might have been if this had been made when it was conceived (or what classic film we might not have), but I’m here to report that Little Big Soldier is pretty good. It’s not going to set your world on fire, nor will it become a modern-day classic Jackie film (like I’m hoping his latest Chinese Zodiac will be). It is simply a fun little road movie with flashes of excellent action and choreography.
The film opens on the aftermath of a huge battle between Liang and Wei forces. Jackie is the lone remaining Liang soldier, and while scouring the battlefield he finds that the Wei general has been wounded, but is still very much alive. The reward for the capture and return of a live enemy general is five acres of land and freedom from conscription, so Jackie ropes him up and the grand adventure home begins.