Little Big Soldier (2010)

Jackie Chan, Leehom Wang, Sung-jun Yoo, Peng Lin,
An old soldier kidnaps a young General of an enemy state and takes him on a long journey to collect the reward.
  • 6.9 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Writer:
  • Ding Sheng, Director:
  • Solon So, Producer:

All subtitles:



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Trailer:

5 / 10

A rather unremarkable outing

A fun but flawed period piece from Jackie Chan, which sees the star indulging in some of his madcap comedy routines while at the same time the film takes more serious inroads in its look at the nature of warfare and violence in the historical age. Indeed, LITTLE BIG SOLDIER is an unusual film, unsure whether it wants to be a serious, character-based drama or the usual knockabout action film that we'd expect from the star. So at one stage we have Jackie beating off a trio of barbarian bad guys and the next we get some moralising about the pointlessness of battle and the fate of warring kingdoms.

Still, even at this late stage in his career, Jackie is difficult to dislike as the star. His stunts may be less outrageous and his fighting less impressive than it was twenty years ago, but he brings a warmth and genuine presence to his role. There's some fun to be had from the premise of two enemies being forced to travel together (bringing to mind all those old handcuffed-together comedies like MIDNIGHT RUN) and the action scenes, while unspectacular, are solid. Certainly not my favourite Jackie Chan film of recent years though, this pales in comparison to the likes of the powerful SHINJUKU INCIDENT.

6 / 10

Back to Square One

Jackie Chan got back into physical comedy after the fail attempts (New Police Story, which did not work on quite a few levels and of course Shinjiku Incident, which fans seem to despise, though it wasn't that bad) to become more serious. He gets back and though he's trying to avoid fighting in this one (his character that is), it is not that much of a stretch from his prior roles/characters. Especially his comedies of recent years were in the vain of trying to avoid to really hurt his opponent.

While this role takes it up a notch, there is still quite a bit of action to be seen here. Though not enough for people who are slightly drunk and expect non-stop fights (fortunately they weren't sitting anywhere near where I was sitting). Still the mixture of action and drama does not work entirely and the dramatic moments don't mix that well with the comedic moments. It means well, but sometimes fails horribly (mood-wise). Still no self-respectful Chan fan should shy away. You will like it anyway and especially if you were disappointed of movies like the ones I mentioned above

7 / 10

Little soldier with a big heart...

Another goal by Jackie Chan. Not only does this movie deliver the usual martial arts extravaganza that is trademark of his movies, but it also delivers a really interesting story that is not just slack-stick humor. And that is a really great trait to the movie, and a great step towards the right approach for a movie of this type.

The story is about a peasant soldier in the Liang army (played by Jackie Chan) who saves himself from slaughter in a massive battle by feigning his death. As luck would have it, he manages to find a surviving general of the Wei army (played by Leehom Wang), the soldier seems to have it made, as he can hand in his captive for land and profit. But the road back to Liang is long and treacherous - the king's men are out searching for the missing general and the land is not at all a friendly place in itself.

A great story that Jackie Chan came up with here and it has been masterfully put to the screen. The story offers great action and just the right amount of comedy without it becoming too much in the usual genre that Jackie Chan operates.

What really makes "Little Big Soldier" work out is the chemistry and dialogue between the soldier and the general on their hard and long trek back towards Liang. And the spectacular landscape and scenery really adds a lot of flavor to the movie, and it is like you are right there back in time in ancient China.

This is one of the better Jackie Chan movies in the recent years, and it is great to see him take on other roles this late in his career. "Little Big Soldier" is well worthy of a place in the DVD collection of any fans of Jackie Chan or of Asian ancient war history movies in general.

6 / 10

Had an Unusual Ebb and Flow

This movie takes place in ancient China before the consolidation into one nation. As a result there were seven rival kingdoms all competing against one another for survival. As it so happens Jackie Chan is a soldier who was drafted to serve in the army of Liang. Having had two brothers who had already been killed in war he felt compelled to avoid risk as much as possible in order to carry on the family name. So during a great battle between the armies of Liang and Wei he feigns death in order to survive. When he finally decides to look around he discovers that everybody on both sides have perished except for one particular enemy general (played by Leehom Wang) who he immediately takes prisoner with the expectation of receiving a handsome reward for delivering him to his superiors in Liang. Unfortunately, there are hazards in store for both of them as they make their way from the battlefield to their destination. Now rather than reveal any more and risk spoiling this picture for those who haven't seen it I will just say that this film had an ebb and flow that was most unusual and not at all typical of most Jackie Chan movies. Naturally, there were quite a few scenes involving martial arts action along with the usual stunts and comedy that usually accompany them. In short, although I don't consider this to be an outstanding movie by any means it was still a fairly decent film and I have rated it accordingly. Slightly above average.

7 / 10

A Nutshell Review: Little Big Soldier

Little Big Soldier continues to reinforce a point, that while one can afford to forgo Jackie Chan's rather dismal outing in any Hollywood flicks of late, his Asian films are a totally different story altogether. JC was said to have this story brewing for some two decades now, and initially his plan was to play the Big General himself, but good advice and probably with more confidence in his dramatic acting ability meant he takes on the Little Soldier role, and went with Wang Leehom for the other.

Maybe I'm crediting him too much since he came up with the story, but here's a film that would probably not work without JC taking on one of the characters, with the Little Soldier seem tailor made for him at this stage of his career, no longer needing to be the hero, but ever willing to be part of the underdogs, which Hollywood still frowns upon (hey, he's JC, he has to be a top notch cop/spy/secret agent/etc), as compared to everyday working man roles like that in Shinjuku Incident, Rob-B-Hood, and as a cowardly soldier whose self preservation instinct kicks into overdrive all the time.

Set prior to the unification of China by the Qin dynasty, the film opens with what seemed like a total annihilation in the battlefield between Wei and Liang troops, only to find Liang's Little Soldier being able to capture Wei's super Big General (Leehom) only because the latter is severely injured. With the promise of plenty of land for the live capture of an enemy general, Little Soldier makes it a point to cart Big General back to his country at all costs, so that he can settle down with new found wealth, coupled with an exemption from having to serve in the army. But of course Big General comes with a lot of baggage in knowing that his kindred had betrayed him and his elite troops in a battle, and are after him to ensure that he stays dead.

So lies the gist of the story, which to say anymore would be to spoil the fun and the depth of the story's development. Suffice to say JC's story contains enough to make you feel for the two lead characters, where their natural adversary would pave the way to inevitable friendship being forged by way of encountering and overcoming painful obstacles and challenges posed along the way, as the adage goes, two is better than one. JC too plays his character so well that you can't help but to endear to his multiple gimmicky toys he employs to survive in battles, plus the sheer luck and street smarts he has to rely on to get out of sticky situations. I'm not much of a Leehom fan, but he managed to pull of his role as the stoic general with aplomb, and shares some fine chemistry with JC, believable that these guys would be friends should they not be from different lands.

But the strength of the film comes from how the two characters contrast with, and how they rub off their respective ideals on each other. The Little Soldier aspires to lead a simple life of farming, to go back to his roots of a simple life, reminiscing upon his father's wise words, where rich means a plot of land to farm, two cows and a wife. Fighting in battles is not his cup of tea, and he'll do anything just to ensure that he comes out unscathed, even if it means being branded as a cowardly deserter. On the other hand, Big General aspires to conquer lands and if inevitable, to die gloriously in battle. Soon enough, he learns how having small but fulfilling, meaningful aspirations would be miles better than material wealth, of the joys that a simple, peaceful life can bring compared to one of constant fights. For the Small Soldier, lessons in the virtues of honour and courage get imparted, which leads to an especially touching and poignant finale.

Serving as action director. JC keeps all the fight sequences here fresh. You know how it is with action flicks when one battle scene doesn't offer anything new from the one that preceded it, JC had done something right in the fight choreography department. There are enough moments here to showcase straight forward fighting sequences, and those of his signature acrobatic buffoonery to suit the role of his Little Soldier to a T. Watch out too for his hilarious gimmicks employed, which will surely bring out a chuckle or two, which only JC can deliver in a true blue JC film.

It's been some time since JC had a major project rolled out every Lunar New Year, and this one comes just in time to perhaps continue in that tradition. If it's anything to go by, this film has surpassed expectations set low thanks to a lacklustre trailer, and thankfully the end product is confirmed to be miles better. He may be slower these days, but Little Big Soldier demonstrates that JC still has what it takes to deliver a Chinese blockbuster. As with almost all JC movies, sit back during the end credits roll to enjoy the many outtakes included.