Blu ray Review: Jackie Chan Returns to his Classic Form in ‘Little Big Soldier’
On Tuesday, Jackie Chan’s latest Chinese feature, Little Big Soldier, hit Blu Ray and DVD shelves thanks to Well Go USA. After watching my copy of the film, I have to agree with everyone, it is Jackie Chan’s best film in what seems like forever.
The film is set in China’s warring states period (476-221 BC) right before the Qin dynasty unified China. After a massive battle between the Liang state and the Wei state finishes, only two people amongst the thousands survive, a lowly soldier from Liang and the general of the Wei army. Jackie Chan, who survives the battle by playing dead, plays Big Soldier from Liang who is against the war and captures the general in an attempt to bring him home in order claim the reward of five acres of land and exemption from the army. Eventually their comic journey turns dangerous when soldiers of the Wei army decide that the general, known as Little Soldier (Wang Leehorn), is a deserter and must be killed. At that point the two men of opposing ideologies must join forces if they hope to survive.
Little Big Soldier really takes Chan back to his roots of explosive action and stunt work coupled with his trademark slapstick comedy and hilarious dialogue. It is reminiscent of Drunken Master in that it is original and widely entertaining. I truly believe that this is one of the better action/adventure comedies to come out in the past few years.
While Little Big Soldier is a comedy it is also an anti-war film and uses its characters to show how war impacts those who are not involved or don’t wish to be. The film shows both sides of the ideological scale so that it doesn’t feel necessarily biased even though it’s about Chan’s character indirectly teaching the general that war doesn’t always solve everything and it prevents people from living the lives they’d like to be living.
Now I’ve already told you that Jackie Chan starred in the film but he also came up with the story (20 years ago), acted as executive producer, chief producer and action director. I tell you this because while it is very much Chan’ film, I think director Sheng Ding did a wonderful job guiding the movie along since, in the end, he was responsible for the final product, which thankfully was a great adventure flick.
When I watch a film like this, flaws don’t nearly stick out as much to me because of how much fun I have while watching the film. When I enjoy a movie I tend to overlook many of the problems and for the most part I believe most people can do that too when they this one. Jackie is a likable guy who plays an even more likable character, the result is you smiling the entire film and embracing all the joy and turmoil that it has to offer. That being said, the acting from some of the supporting cast could have been a little better. I thought Wang Leehorn did a good job in his role as the general but the rest of the cast didn’t always live up to Jackie and his performances.
Now to move onto the special features of my Blu Ray/DVD combo pack. On both discs were a “Making of” featurette, two trailers, and a Jackie Chan music video. While it may not be much, I was really satisfied with the making of featurette because it had 14 minutes worth of interview footage cut with behind the scenes videos as well as footage from the film. It painted a complete picture of what it was like to work with everyone on set, especially Jackie, and how many of the scenes were shot. It is a great feature for those who want to see how much Jackie Chan does and how he doesn’t put himself above anyone he works with. It’s actually quite humbling to see. As for the trailers you can see those online and the Jackie Chan music video is just him singing the full length song that he sings in the movie cut with footage of both him in the studio and footage from the film. Oh, and for those that don’t like subtitles there is an English dub of the film so you don’t have to read if you don’t want to.
Overall, Little Big Soldier is a return to the classic Jackie Chan films that first made the star popular. It’s an action adventure that features some awesome stunts infused with comedy resulting in clean and honest entertainment for practically the entire family. Essentially, what I am trying to tell you is that if you like Jackie Chan and good comedy then this is a good film to have in your collection. It looks good in Blu ray so Iwould go with the Blu-ray combo pack myself.
Rating: A great action comedy with Jackie Chan returning to his roots (7.5/10)