Monday, April 18, 2011

Little Big Soldier (2010) - ActionFest Buffet 2.0: Plate #2

On the Menu:

Jackie Chan, Leehom Wang, Sung-jun Yoo, Rongguang Yu, Peng Lin, Xaio Dong Mei and Song Jin. Directed by Sheng Ding. Run time: 96 minutes. Rated: PG. 

At First Bite: Jackie Chan is almost always entertaining. I say almost always because some of his Hollywood movies have been slightly disappointing. But, LITTLE BIG SOLDIER was filmed in China/Hong Kong, and his Asian fare is typically better. Needless to say, it became the second film on my ActionFest agenda for Day 2.

The movie opens with animation and narration describing the Seven Warring States and their battles during the time before the unification of China. We're dropped into the middle of a resulting bloodbath between two of those states, Liang and Wei. Big Soldier (Chan) has feigned death and discovers the enemy general, Little Soldier (Wang), is also alive, but seriously injured. He plans to collect the general and trade him for a reward of farmland.

The problem is someone else is looking for the general, and wants him dead. 

Tough to Swallow: There are a few instances where the subtitles are misspelled, e.g., the word "small" appears as "samll." 

Something to Chew On: Chan is also the film's producer and writer. He wrote the screenplay 20 years ago, and had intended to play the Little Soldier role. However, the project was stuck in development for those 20 years, so he ended up playing Big Soldier.

The budget was an estimated $25 million.

It premiered February 11, 2010 in Malaysia. Its U.S. debut was June 6th at the Seattle International Film Festival.

The release date for the DVD was November 18, 2010. notes this is Chan's 99th film. His filmography lists 103 films prior to LITTLE BIG SOLDIER, but  he is uncredited in 18 of those. Either way, the numbers don't quite add up.

There is a blooper reel during the closing credits. 

Aftertaste: What makes this fun to watch is Big Soldier's reluctance to fight. That doesn't mean there aren't impressively choreographed fight scenes, but those scenes mostly involve Chan trying to defend himself or escape harm. Coupled with his comical expressions, these fights oftentimes make us laugh or at least smile.

Big Soldier has a fake arrow rigged on his chest and back. He pulls a string and both ends of the arrow pop up making it seem he's been shot with deadly force. The employment of this gadget was my favorite part of the movie; it garnered three good laughs. Of course, there's plenty of slapstick as well.

The movie isn't all comedy and action though. It plays pretty dramatic, especially the end. Basically, the idea is nothing good comes from war, but one shouldn't lose hope. So, yeah, I guess you'd say it's pretty deep for a Jackie Chan flick. Pay attention to the final scene with the Singer (Lin).

Chan and Wang have great chemistry together. They play off each other well. LITTLE BIG SOLDIER is definitely focused more on the characters than it is the action, which is a good thing.

Oh, I did enjoy the opening animation sequence. And, Xiao Dong Mei is pretty cute. 


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