Little Big Soldier (15)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner04/10/2010

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 110 mins

Watchable Chinese action drama with a likeable performance from Jackie Chan and some energetic fight scenes, though it's let down by a rather simplistic plot and doesn't quite land the emotional punch it's aiming for.

What's it all about?
Directed by Ding Sheng, Little Big Soldier is set during the warring period in China (between 476 BC and 221 BC, Chinese history fans) and stars Jackie Chan as a soldier from Liang who survives a vicious ambush by playing dead, thanks to a spring-loaded fake arrow embedded in his armour. The only other survivor is a general (Wang Leehorn) from the opposing Wei state, so the soldier promptly captures him and decides to transport him back to his home state of Liang in order to collect a reward and receive an honourable discharge.

However, the journey isn't as easy as the soldier expects: for one thing, the general is ashamed and continually tries to commit suicide. On top of that, the soldier has to avoid a gang of bloodthirsty bandits and stay one step ahead of the general's brother (Steve Yoo), who has organised a rescue party.

The Good
Jackie Chan has an instantly likeable screen presence that serves him well here considering he's essentially playing a coward and a deserter. Wang Leehorn is suitably broody as the downcast general and there's strong support from Lin Peng as a seductive songstress who's more dangerous than she appears.

As you'd expect in a Jackie Chan movie, the fight scenes are consistently entertaining, with him using whichever objects come to hand, although, that said, Chan fans might also find that they've seen it all before. There's also a certain amount of gentle humour in the film, such as the moment where it turns out that Chan even dreams about fight sequences; on a similar note, long-time fans will be pleased to note that the credits do indeed feature the time-honoured Jackie Chan out-takes, showing all the injuries sustained during the shoot.

The Bad
The main problem is that the story is rather too simplistic to sustain a 110 minute running time and it never really earns its supposedly emotional finale.

Worth seeing?
Little Good Soldier is never less than watchable, thanks to a likeable performance from Jackie Chan and some decent fight sequences, but the overly simplistic plot means that it ultimately lacks anything resembling emotional or dramatic impact.

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Content updated: 20/08/2018 09:27

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