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In 1882, Alfred Nichol, owner of the Nichol Railway Company, is building a railroad through the Canadian Rockies. He sends his irresponsible playboy son, James Nichol, to Hong Kong to check on the company's recruitment of Chinese laborers to work on the railroad's construction. One of the laborers James brings back is a orphan boy named Little Tiger. Unknown to James, Little Tiger is actually a young woman, who is masquerading as a boy to eke out a better living for herself. She is desperate to make it to Canada to find her missing father. Professionally, Little Tiger is tasked with being a tea boy to the other laborers on the construction crew, although she really wants to work on the more lucrative explosives team as, working at a firecracker factory in Hong Kong, she learned the finer details of explosives from a master. She also learns of some improprieties within the construction camp. Personally, Little Tiger falls in love with James, an unforbidden love even if she exposes her ... Written by
In 1882 British Columbia, Alfred Nichol (Sam Neill) is desperate to get Chinese labor as he falls behind crossing the Rocky Mountains. He sends his son James to Hong Kong to gather 2000 workers in one week before Chinese New Year. Their sickly drunken contact Lionel Relic (Peter O'Toole) is having trouble. Little Tiger is an orphan girl passing as a boy. She sells fireworks and learns explosives from the master. She befriends Lionel but James refuses to take her. They battle gangster Lei Mo over workers. Tiger recruits the last 100. Lionel is killed and James takes her fearing for her life. She starts out as the tea boy and volunteers to crawl in after a cave-in to set explosive charges. She starts falling for James despite her secret identity and his girlfriend Melanie Grant (Charlotte Sullivan).
This is a functional love story weaving in the historical drama. Sun Li and Luke Macfarlan are surprisingly good despite being relative unknowns. She's able to shine and he's able to stay in the picture despite having to compete against some A level talents. O'Toole is in the first part. He's a frail man but he still brings it. Both the English and Chinese actors are very professional. The production value is limited. At least, they have a real train and a tunnel. The Hong Kong set looks very fake. They probably built it in Canada which explains it. It's a solid TV mini-series.
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