Da bing xiao jiang (2010) Poster

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7/10
Jackie Chan At What He Does Best
changmoh8 February 2010
"Little Big Soldier" is actually an odd-couple road flick set during China's Warring States period. The war drama, spiced with the usual Jackie Chan comedy, has been Jackie's brainchild for 20 years before finally hitting the big screen. Chan had initially planned to play the role of the young general but having aged since, he has to settle for the role of the elderly soldier.

Well, having seen Jackie as the titular character, I have no complaints. He provides the role with its requisite charm and experience that it is so easy to root for him. A refreshing change from nonsensical comedies like "The Spy Next Door", I may add.

Jackie plays an unnamed soldier from the Liang State who survives an ambush by Qin forces that decimates the 2000-strong Liang army. The lowly soldier, who feigns death rather than fight, captures a young Wei general (Wang Leehom) and plans to 'trade' him for a plot of land as reward.

Along the way, however, captor and captive face a host of mishaps, misadventures and plot twists - and they have to team up in order to survive.

As Jackie's own project, you can be sure of the trademark Jackie stunts and image boosts. Playing a farmer forcibly conscripted into war, Jackie's message (or ego massage) is that war is bad for the people, birds and the environment. He throws in lots of slapstick and sometimes the comedy borders on the ridiculous.

Still, these are forgivable because it is easy to like Jackie's and LeeHom's characters. They have a sparkling screen chemistry that helps us overlook the plot-holes and lapses in logic. What's more important is that "Little Big Soldier" has a nostalgic feel, reminding us of Jackie's classics like "Drunken Master" and "Snake In The Eagle's Shadow". - By LIM CHANG MOH (limchangmoh.blogspot.com)
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8/10
Liked it quite a bit : kinda unusual for Jackie Chan
Quebec_Dragon29 July 2010
In ancient China, after a big ambush in a war, a soldier having faked his death (Jackie Chan) takes captive a general of the opposing camp and tries to get him back to his homeland for a reward. Little Big Soldier is kinda like a buddy movie, or more accurately an odd-couple road trip, except that the characters are really enemies. Jackie Chan is virtually unrecognizable (I mean that I didn't think Jackie Chan all the time while watching) except for his bumbling yet effective fighting style (or avoiding hits non-fighting style) and ingenious battle choreography. Despite what the somewhat lame title might imply, do not expect epic battles between armies, you'll get one-on-one fights and skirmishes between small groups focusing on individual battles. Jackie plays a more complex character than usual and even has some choice quiet and dramatic moments. The soldier is also quite likable made more endearing by Chan's charismatic performance. Plus, it turns out that he sings so good I thought it was someone else, but it wasn't! The general was stoic and honorable : a good straight man.

The funny moments were amusing and the audience laughed a lot (was a full crowd at the Montreal Fantasia Festival that focuses on genre films). Humor is mostly of the absurd situation or physical slapstick type. The fight scenes were exciting and fast yet easy to follow (American action directors take note). There were a few shifts in tones between comedy and drama (especially one near the end) that worked surprisingly well. I didn't like the kind of washed-out pale colors throughout but as a few vivid sequences with brighter colors suggest, it was a stylistic choice. I found that underneath the hope for a better future theme, there was a sense of melancholy and sadness. I think this contributed, along with the historical background, to make Little Big Soldier deeper than the usual Jackie Chan comedy. I can understand after watching it why this project was so dear to his heart.

Rating : 7.5 out of 10
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7/10
"A big road that leads to my home..."
loccomotive200023 February 2010
LITTLE BIG SOLDIER tells the story of a farmer forced into conscription, and has been looking to get out of the army ever since. His great chance arrives when he stumbles upon a wounded general from an enemy state, and he kidnaps him, intending to claim credit for the capture, which includes five "mu" of land, and most importantly, honorable discharge from the army.

Jackie's brainchild which had been stuck in development hell for 20 years, it was easy to see the amount of effort put into LBS over the years. The plot is simple but is one that is refreshing and original, and the story progresses through witty plot devices and hilarious situations. Chan's various gadgets used for feigning death showcases his trademark slapstick humor which we all have come to know and love.

His character alone stands out from the protagonist in most of his other movies. Jackie plays the Old Soldier, who is cowardly, ever optimistic, good natured, and only dreams(and sings) about getting home. He is a flawed yet lovable figure whose own interests and moral values seem to always come into conflict. He aspires but is never boldly ambitious. He'd hurt people but would never kill someone. Such dynamism in a seemingly simple-minded character is especially rare in an action movie, much less a Jackie Chan one, where he is so often the flawless good guy. And all this is topped by Chan's excellent performance, displaying mischief, kindliness, and a little bit of villainy all at once. And he doesn't forget to convey important messages about life, such as filial piety, loyalty, and the negative effects of war. Leehom Wang, on the other hand, delivers a competent performance as the young, patriotic, and upright general whose ambition and stern personality clashes with the Old Soldier's agenda in every possible way. The two share a remarkable chemistry here, and their exchanges a joy to behold.

But this film is not without it's weaknesses. While the plot's strength was in its simplicity, it threatened to throw the audience off by wearing too thin at times, and the lack of major turning points made the movie less engaging than it could have been. The humor was there but not hard-hitting enough, and too many of them die off very quickly without follow-ups. The action scenes are adequate, despite being slightly less ambitious than those in Jackie's other films, both in complexity and in quantity.

Despite these, fans of JC will not be disappointed by this outing of his. This is easily one of Jackie's best films in the past ten years, and carries an excellent, and most importantly, original storyline. Not a masterpiece, but like what the Old Soldier would say: "Ting Hao De".

That meant: "Pretty good."
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8/10
HK Neo Reviews: Little Big Soldier
webmaster-30175 April 2010
One of the most enjoyable Jackie Chan's movies in the last decade...

While there has always been a question or dilemma about Jackie Chan's dramatic range or even his laughable claim of wanting to become the next Robert DeNiro. Opportunities were there to take, with films like New Police Story and Shinjuku Incident. However, his performance as a drunken cop was met with critical despite and his wooden display in the against-type serious persona was met with similar discontent. So it is refreshing to see Chan back to what he is good at: physical comedy. This does not necessary mean more action, as Chan rarely fights or even if he does, he is simply avoiding fights. What is means is that Chan is trying to be funny and the audience also finds it funny as well. Not unlike Jet Li who have now successfully transformed from action icon into an actor, with his own acclaimed role in Warlords. Little Big Soldier is hopefully what you call a breakthrough performance and perhaps a step in the right direction for the aging Chan to take.

The movie goes like this: Chan is an old soldier who pretends to be dead on the battlefield. He avoids fights and by playing dead, he managed to survive a battle where everyone dies. Going by luck, he somehow managed to capture the enemy army general. From there the two roam across the oceans and the seas encountering everything along the way.

It is a delight to witness Mr. Chan in full flight. Rarely do we see this side of Jackie and somehow we never doubted at the back of our mind. Whereas, Chan usually plays one dimensional characters as a cop, spy, agent, cop and cop. Chan is given a character and by the end of the movie, I felt that Chan have succeeded in bringing the character of the old soldier back to life. This is not an understatement, but rather a real sense of achievement. That's not to say Chan have created something special. Perhaps, it serves as either a breakthrough or even a successful change in the right direction. There are moments in the film, where the audience laugh with Chan, escape with Chan and ultimately feel for Chan. Now that's something is that unheard of and missing for the last 40 years of this great man career? Lee-Hom Wang last seen in Ang Lee's Lust, Caution, delivers a wooden yet cool performance. While he was somewhat miscast and lost in Lust, Caution. Here, he is very much in control of what he is doing. Perhaps knowing his limited range and his ability to be cool,; Lee flairs far better in this role as the future heir. His chemistry with Chan is both fun and delightful to watch. There is a fight scene by the river banks which is fun enough for someone to enjoy.

All in all, Little Big Soldier is what you call, a little successful story. It is a light hearted movie that is surprisingly engaging. With Jackie Chan in one of his best character roles, Little Big Soldier is best served after dinner. Surely action fans may be somewhat disappointed in the lack of action, but true Chan fans will know and understand that Chan have finally fulfilled a lifelong dream. To be recognised as an actor and more importantly coming out of the movie as a character rather than his larger than life public persona – Jackie Chan. I wouldn't go to say that Little Big Soldier will be everyone cup of tea, but for anyone who have followed Chan throughout all these years, I am certain that like Chan, you too will be proud...(Neo 2010)

I rate it 8/10

  • www.thehkneo.com
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9/10
Top Shelf Material
Long Le17 June 2010
As a big fan of Jackie's, its hard to stay subjective whenever it comes to the movies he makes. Sometimes the movies are great, other times they are quite terrible, and sometimes he just makes it land somewhere in between. I can say honestly that this movie is one of the movies you will want to place on the top shelf of your movie collection. Its old fashioned, wonderfully comical at times, and tells a story of a small part of a large history of China.

People say that Jackie Chan's acting is hollow. While I agree that this can sometimes be the case, its only because of the terrible "Hollywood" machine movies he is inclined to make versus the traditional Hong Kong action/drama/comedy flicks he is used to. Hollywood Jackie Chan can be quite terrible (The Tuxedo, The Medallion, Around the World in 80 Days, The Spy Next Door, etc). Traditional Jackie Chan is great (New Police Story, Rob-B-Hood, Who Am I?, along with all the Hong Kong classics Jackie Chan has under his belt like Drunken Master, Police Story, City Hunter) I'm rather frustrated at the implication that Jackie Chan cannot act, and that this or The Karate Kid are trumpeting his newfound skills as an actor, when in my opinion he has been a superb actor far before that. Just watch New Police Story.

In any case, this was an excellent watch, and has earned itself a spot on the top shelf of my collection. Hopefully, there will be an English dub sometime in the future so that more people will be able to watch this fine film.
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8/10
A Nutshell Review: Little Big Soldier
DICK STEEL9 February 2010
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.
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8/10
Well done Mr.Chan
Riad Zejnilagic6 May 2010
We all know Jackie Chan and his physical comedy, but in this it was even more, with his freedom as a writer of this movie he brought some really funny quotes in which made the movie even more fun to watch. Also he puts a great twist in where the plot jumps between comedy and drama.

Jackie Chan did a great job in this movie as the Producer, Screenwriter, Actor and Action Director.

Lee-Hom Wang with a weak performance in Ang Lee's Lust, Caution did a really good job here. Playing a young general Lee had a great chemistry with Jackie and his character. They made even a ridiculous fight between them by the river fun and enjoyable to watch.

Little Big Solider with the combination of action/adventure and the specific comedy of Jackie Chan is Great,Fun and Enjoyable movie.
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8/10
Nice Jackie movie
PD30 June 2010
Its been a long time since there was a Jackie movie with fun,story and good direction.

The movie "Little big soldier" stands up in terms of Jackie's Action scenes, his wonderful moves,and mannerism.

The movie would have gained critical acclaim if it was made in English language. Guess they wanted to make a historic/Traditional movie.

Nevertheless, The movie is good. Those who were disappointed after watching an old Jackie in "the karate kid" will be really happy to see him in this movie, with a great new load of stuff.

Waiting for the next action packed Jackie's movie in English.

Hope he pairs up to do another Rush Hour 4 or some cool movies where he doesn't drink much
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8/10
Jackie Chan turns in an Oscar worthy performance in one of his best films ever
dbborroughs20 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Flawed masterpiece from Jackie Chan has him giving an Oscar worthy performance that coupled with Karate Kid and the Shinjuku Incident should put Chan on the fast track to serious actor status in Hollywood.

The film has Chan as a foot soldier finding a wounded, but still living general in the bodies left after a large battle. Knowing that the general could gain him land and a way out of military service if he brings him home a captive, Chan hauls him down the road. However as circumstance, warlords and some of the generals own men pursue them a friendship of sort forms.

Stunning fight scenes and fantastic performances come together to form one of Jackie Chan's best films ever. You can pretty much flush his Hollywood films when you compare them to this little gem. And while I know I've loved some of Chan's recent films from China, there is something so solid in this to make you feel as though it was from a different filmmaker. This is a film that makes you sit up and reevaluate Chan as an actor and filmmaker. He hasn't raised the bar he kicked it into orbit Long in gestation, this film was originally intended to have Jackie play the young general, but time and tide have conspired to give him one of his best roles ever. Funny touching, and wise Jackie hits every emotion letter perfect, and when the end comes I think you'll be hard pressed not to be moved deeply by what transpires.

There is so much to love I can't not recommend the film highly enough.

In fairness I do have to warn you that the film isn't perfect. At times there is a battle between being light and serious that doesn't quite work. The film also meanders a bit in the wilderness at the start as if they are trying to fill in a couple of minutes in running time.

Ultimately though my quibbles are minor and this is a grand return to form, nay reinvention of Jackie Chan.

One of the great finds of 2010.
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7/10
Little soldier with a big heart...
Paul Magne Haakonsen30 March 2013
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.
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10/10
Amazing!
bao mq2 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Well, to tell the truth, initially, I went to see the movie mostly because it features Wang Lee Hom, and I'm simply just a big fan of him. But the movie was much much captivating and deep, far beyond my expectation. I came to see my idol Hom, but instead, it turned out that my favorite character is indeed Jackie Chan's "bing". However, it doesn't mean I did not like Hom' "jiang". On the contrary, Hom and Chan make up the perfect duo, i.e "da bing xiao jiang". And the Korean Steve Yoo did a good job, too. And I don't want to give spoilers here, but please please watch till the end of the movie (at some point, you might have thought it was the end already, but it was not) to see what I mean. How marvelous!
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8/10
To Live in Peace, or Die with Dignity-- the "Laugh-tears" of a Little Big Soldier
dont_b_so_BBC1 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Little Big Soldier-- the only Jackie Chan movie that got me (& the audience I was with) laughing AND crying-- is easily the best of the Jackie's "legacy" projects, where he makes a point of taking on more mature/dramatic roles and working with more industry novices/newcomers. And despite a nondescript trailer lacking in any visual/action eye-candy and lukewarm previews from critics who didn't know what to expect, audience word-of-mouth has slowly but surely carried the movie to box-office success.

Based on Jackie's concept for a war-time "frenemy" road-movie, this is the closest he has ever come to making an "Indie" comedy, where the communication of the story/concept always takes precedence over the presentation of visual/action set-pieces. There is no doubt that Jackie's effortless acting and antics carried the film-- but it is also sensibly supported by a story/script from the newcomer director-cum-writer Ding Sheng, who knew how to flesh out the concept (& so earn his place as director) by adopting the setting of China's "Warring States" era.

As a TV commercial-turned-movie director, Ding Sheng instinctively trusted himself (& the audience) to get a "point/beat" within a precisely-framed 3-second shot (instead of those wide, sweeping or lingering shots done-to-death by cinematographers or MTV-producers turned directors)-- making much of the "foreshadowing" and "reveals" strangely subtle for an action-comedy. So much so that some critics will inevitably lose the plot... because true to the road-movie convention, there are many "pop-up" cameo-roles whose appearance/plot-lines are NOT explained-- except maybe with a 3-second shot (or a one-liner)-- all of whom are inconsequential on their own, but serve to add spice as well as depth to the story/characters.

Not to mention that readers of sub-titles might also miss the bits of cultural references/symbolism littered throughout the film... like the irony of a royalty who quotes classical poetry from memory, but doesn't know the plant from which rice is grown-- or the fact that calling someone a "little person" is one of the oldest/gravest insults in Chinese culture.

The hodgepodge of characters and plot-points sounds like a recipe for disaster, but the "low-tech" animation of some opening-titles and a flurry of short opening-scenes quickly and firmly sets the tone for a light-hearted fable/satire of a dark age-- so much so that the apparently rambling dialog and wildly varying accents (including one unintelligible language) seemed quite natural to it. In fact, a result of this movie following the "action-in-service-of-story/character" principle was that I frequently wanted to get past the action sequences and get on the story/dialog (a prequel/sequel would be nice...)-- so here is an "advanced warning" with spoilers: don't watch this movie if you don't want to see Jackie Chan as...

*SPOILERS START SPOILERS*

...a brazen coward who can't fight to save his own life. The only thing Jackie Chan hurt making this movie was his finger-- and the most impressive skill Jackie Chan showed was his singing.

But Jackie Chan is also the only one who could have made a bumbling rogue so endearing and hold this poignant period action-comedy together-- even edging out similar fare from Stephen Chow (who is more wacky than endearing) and wanna-bes like Zhang Yimou (who is more theatrical than comical) simply in terms of "laugh-tears". So much so that the whole theater burst out laughing even as his character breaks down for the only time in the movie-- because it was just such a "common/banal" result of war. In fact, there wasn't a single gag or joke that didn't add a little more to the story/characters-- so another thumbs-up for applying the "gags-in-service-of-story/character" principle.

And the "turnabout" ending of the movie is just icing on the cake-- being gently foreshadowed (it is pretty obvious that this is a "message" movie), it provides even more food for thought... and brings to fore the existential question faced by the Little Big Soldier: "to live in peace, or die with dignity"? But whether you agree with the ending/choice of the Little Big Soldier, the "out-takes" presented during the end-credits (a feature of most Jackie Chan movies) are there to help you "deconstruct" the movie with further hilarity-- and no one in my theater even tried to leave, until we were sure that the end-credits were absolutely over.

*SPOILERS END SPOILERS*

There isn't anything revolutionary in Little Big Soldier (except maybe personally for Jackie Chan as well as the novices/newcomers involved), but thanks heavens that the current generation of Chinese/HK directors is not asking audiences to condone shaky story-telling for the sake of some shiny set-pieces (like Hollywood-wannabes Zhang Yimou, John Woo, etc.). And I'll willingly pay to watch any movie that does NOT need me to switch off my brains before it can make me laugh/cry.
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Not your typical Jackie Chan lighthearted Film
k-hill9 February 2013
Be forewarned that while there are comic moments in the film, it is primarily a dark film about innocents being caught up in a war outside of their control. Jackie Chan plays a farmer who was drafted into his kingdom's army. He is the last surviving member of his family and wants nothing more than to return to the land and raise a family. He survives a horrible battle and captures the enemy general. If he can get the general back to the capital, he can get five acres of land as a reward and become a farmer again. It is one of Jackie Chan's best performances but don't go expecting Shanghai Knights. Beautifully photographed with a compelling story line it is, in the end a melancholy film.
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10/10
Well done tragicomedy
zbalai11 December 2011
I loved this flick, but of course I am not a popular movie fan. Besides I have much interest in Chinese language, history and mentality. Storytelling is not as tight as in some recent western films, but exactly this gives viewers the opportunity to think and reflect on events. I really appreciated the anti-war sentiment, what is quite common in today's Chinese movies.

Pros: -beautiful scenery -Jackie excels in comic situations -Chinese energy

Cons: -too much slapstick -some scenes may seem unrefined

Let's see, if it reaches the magical seven ;)

Other excellent Chinese movies I would advise: Hua Mulan (2009), Red Cliff, IP Man
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Saturday Night Comedy
karledwards201011 November 2011
I would recommend this film to any one who is after a comedy for the night, Before i saw this film i was wary of it because of films I've seen with shabby Chinese - English conversion, or just terrible Chinese matrix styled martial art films, and i am glad I've been proved wrong. From the start to the end it is pact with Action and Humor. Jackie Chan is a sleek as ever with his strange ability to use the environment to his advantage in brawls and his strange antiques are as fine tuned as ever, ontop of this, his comedy is a fine as it ever has been, he pulled this off well and truly. I also though how the film ended was brilliant, i don't want to spoil it, so take my word, the ending couldn't be any better. In my opinion i would say this is in the top 10 films I've seen this year.
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10/10
Great effort by Chan.
zakfar200029 July 2011
This movie is indeed not a regular Jackie Chan movie, and his character is entirely different. For this reason, this movie might not appeal many of his usual fans. However, with this movie, Jakie has actually attracted a wider audience towards his side. His role is indeed marvelous and his acting was simply great. Some people consider this movie as Jackie having a character role, but the truth is, he's the main character: Movie is on his name, he takes the most screen time, and the movie starts and ends on him.

I know lot of people won't have much interest in the 'Three Kingdom Period' of China, and that might become the reason of their lack of attachment to the main story. You will like it lot more if you study a little bit about that time (however, the movie gives all the important details itself). Although there is limited action in the movie (as compare to other Jackie Chan movies), all that is there is handled pretty good.

The movie is recommended for all (those who love Jackie should see his different type of role, and those who don't like it should also see what he's capable of). I would love to see Jackie having more movies like this.
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8/10
The sparrow that will be a phoenix !
elshikh410 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Let's see what we have here : a buddy comedy, an action adventure, a road movie, a historical war movie, a story about a little soldier who turns big, and a meaning about the necessity of peace. Just WAW. Pure WAW !

The greatest thing about this movie is being solid and entertaining while delivering a substance as well. The genre movie always, and maybe forever, is described as a way to make you enjoy, however I believe that with the right hands, it can make you think as well. This is perfection in my book. And this movie beautifully did it.

The storyline of that old, clumsy and kindhearted foot soldier fascinates me. He's originally a poor farmer, who dreams of having money, land, kids, and respect, though his dreams turn usually into nightmares. Someday he found himself in conscription during a long war, hoping to get out of it unharmed, so he avoided fighting to the extent of feigning death while the battles. But, he got through the journey which proved that he could be a hero; as a soldier and human being, even if he eventually had none of his dreams fulfilled. I loved the way of transforming into the very general he saw dying at the start, to end up exactly like him; dying with his flag up. I loved how he trades 10 years of peace for his captive's life. I loved his wise-cracking lines and dad's sayings. And I loved how Jackie Chan surprisingly didn't play him as Jackie Chan; the martial arts expert and the competent fighting machine.

The endless problems that the 2 leads get into during the difficult road made worthy action comedy. Yet the drama of them as from-haters-to-lovers, then the conflict of the title character to be brave and successful, added to the conflict of the second character, the general of Wei, with his own brother—all enriched the movie to be such a delight satisfaction on many levels.

Did you notice smart touches along the way; like how the 2 leads have no names, or the consecutive dreams of the foot soldier which are colored with darkness, and predict his final fate, or Lin Peng as the singer who sings for peace and life, or a sorrowful line such as "Sorry dad, I will never have children." when the soldier is dying, or even how that character loses his fortune / the gold of the Wei general; as if to assure that he has nothing at the end but himself, and his proved success. Ahh, this is more than enjoyable, and makes this movie suitable to be watched for more than once. I bet, within a few years, Hollywood will remake it in let's say a western movie; just remember that you heard it firstly here !

I was astonished when knew that Jackie Chan wrote it (at first I guessed it needed at least a professional playwright to master !). Undoubtedly this is the best of Chan ever as a writer. Directer Ding Sheng made an impressive world of a movie, where all the aforementioned genres were very well served. Leehom Wang was keen as the little general. And the cinematography did something to be proud of. Aside from picturing the exotic backgrounds mostly ravishingly, it sometimes mounted the character to raising skies, to be like abstract symbols in a folk story.

Now to the problems. I thought that the pace of the second half was more fast, less sane than the first half. The final battle was sure less powerful than the one before it; where Chan rode a bull to break a wall. The matter of the general's brother killing himself to save his brother was melodramatic and forced. At times, I got the feeling of more than enough action and not enough drama. And it was wrong to have the bloopers right after the tragic ending; for one reason it somehow weakened the serious effect of the movie's end, and for another it was like compulsory Jackie Chan move; which while belonging to, and fitting more, his pure action comedies—represented sort of dissonance this round.

This is unique Jackie Chan movie. Enough to recall that he isn't the usual Jackie Chan in it; however succeeds. And as a genre movie, it reaches really high top that not a lot of genre movies can reach. It is more like its own metaphor about the little soldier who could be big; a sparrow that could be a phoenix.
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Jackie's best film for almost a decade.
oneguyrambling17 December 2010
This is not a "Jackie Chan" film. Well not like any I've seen.

Jackie has another crack at a Chinese historical film, this time he eschews the crap that he forced into The Myth. This is a straight up film with real characters, that thankfully stays in one era and sticks there.

Jackie is the lone survivor in a particularly bloody battle that sees many of his fellow soldiers from Liang dead. Once he realizes that there is another survivor, and that he is an enemy General he concocts a plan. Captured Generals are very sought after by Liang soldiers, in fact by providing a live one JC expects to be showered with rewards, namely his own farm and land and exemption from military service.

The problem becomes getting the General to safety where he might collect his prize, as the General is very resourceful and dogged in his efforts to escape. This is only exacerbated when JC uses his abilities to heal the General's wounds, meaning he is even better equipped to provide resistance. Furthermore the General is simultaneously being tracked by his own men who would free him, and bandits who would just as soon kill him, so JC has set himself lofty goals.

Seemingly immune to all around him JC is eternally cheery and optimistic, everything around him is described as "How Marvelous", and he never misses an opportunity to either sing about or talk about his previous hometown of Liang. So determined is he to carry out his plan that after a woman dupes JC and takes his transport he simply drags and then carries the General along for many miles, nearer and nearer to his prize. It appears that all JC wants is out of the army, and peace for himself and Liang. The General however wants honour, and war is all he knows. JC never seems to think too hard about why it seems EVERYONE is out to get this particular General… *************************************************** This is a real change of pace for Jackie, aside from the dubious facial hair his character seems more adept at fleeing than fighting, his best defense is deemed to run, (he's a good shot with a rock though).

As the duo move towards the conclusion they bond together and find some common ground even though they are from different worlds and have entirely different ambitions, the General escapes more than once and both are captured at times, but circumstances have a way so that they find each other once more.

97% of Little Big Soldier is quite light and breezy, the battles aren't too vicious and the dialogue quite refreshing and reasonable entertaining, the other 3% you'll have to see for yourself.

This is not a Jackie Chan flick though, the martial arts action is kept to a minimum and usually Jackie isn't part of it anyway, and the stunts and narrow escapes aren't the normal Jackie Chan stunts and escapes. This is simply a well made movie that tells a good story, and the ending packs more of a punch than the first 80 minutes suggest.

Final Rating – 7.5 / 10. Not a Big Jackie Chan actioner filled with chop-socky and stunts, but also not a Little movie either. Jackie's best film since Shangahi Knights / Rush Hour 2, and his best drama since Crime Story.
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10/10
"Small Potato" art-house perfection...
poe4265 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Jackie Chan, graverobber...? Indeed- and it's one of his finest performances ever. Chan is learning how to mellow with age, and LITTLE BIG SOLDIER enables him to rely more on his carefully-honed acting skills than his death-defying antics. (Surprisingly, there's a cgi/wirework sequence here, but it turns out to be nothing more than a dream sequence- thankfully.) Chan's funnier than ever, too. He wears a fake arrow-through-the-chest rig that comes in handy when he's captured. The barbarian bandits are easily the coolest characters we've seen this side of the original Robert E. Howard CONAN stories (which are NOT to be confused with the alleged "feature films") (nor the live-action nor the cartoon teleshows). When a captured general escapes, Chan, as "Samll Potato," observes: "Just a general. Next time, I'll catch a king." There are some GREAT locations throughout LITTLE BIG SOLDIER and the ending is very dramatic, indeed. Another winner.
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9/10
Refreshing new stuff from Jackie
emir-alkafagi30 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Jackie Chan comedies are funny, but have become clichés and a bit ridiculous at moments. "Little Big Soldier" is a refreshing comedy, action, adventure in which Jackie's performance is better than any of his latest movies. Even though he's a bad ass, kung-fu fighting farmer, he appears to be a coward, which later on proves to be otherwise. His humor is not as immature as before, I even felt like it came from his roots. The Chinese have proved themselves to be witty before, and Jackie really portrays that in this title. It really shows you how the Chinese history was, how the people thought and acted, and adds a big pile of good comedy on top of it. I enjoyed it more than expected and especially liked the twist at the end. I did not, for one minute, mind that this movie was in Chinese. Actually, I enjoyed not watching Jackie suffer with his English, even though it tends to be funny. This movie really deserves a larger audience than I believe it gets, but, I guess not everyone is ready to watch a Chinese movie. Loved it, and I would love to see more of this kinds of movies from Jackie.
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8/10
Little Big Soldier
Tweekums9 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This film is set during China's 'Warring State's' period and begins in the aftermath of a particularly bloody battle between the Liang and Wei armies. There are only two survivors; a lowly Liang soldier who survived by playing dead and a princely general on the Wei side. The former takes the latter captive with the intention of taking him home for the reward. The journey back to Liang won't be an easy one; the general's younger brother is searching for him and there are plenty of other unfriendly characters they will have to pass… not to mention a bear! At first the two don't get on but as they travel and fight various foes a friendship develops.

Given that this film not only stars Jackie Chan but was also written by him it isn't surprising that there is lots of slightly slapstick action and plenty of laughs. He does a fine job as the lowly soldier and is ably supported by Leehom Wang as the general; they work well together; especially during the impressively choreographed fights. There are plenty of these fights and they are nicely varied in style. It isn't all fighting though; there is a decent amount of conversation between the two protagonists that allows the characters to develop nicely as well as being amusing. The story moves at a good pace and even though it is only an hour and a half long it doesn't feel rushed. Without going into too much detail the finale comes as quite a surprise and is far sadder than one would expect from this sort of film… it is effective though. Overall I'd certainly recommend this to fans of Chinese cinema in general or of Jackie Chan in particular.
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7/10
Something a Little Different From Jackie Chan
Charles Herold (cherold)15 August 2014
The aging Jackie Chan's greatest dilemma has been finding a way to stay a star without doing the stunts that made him one. It's a tough balancing act to offer just enough of his trademark action to satisfy fans without shattering his bones, and Chan hits the sweet spot with this one.

Apparently he originally wanted to make this movie 20 years ago, at which point he would have played the general, but instead he plays the old soldier. Chan is not the typical martial arts wizard of his other films, he's an aging farmer and while he has some skills, he is outclassed by almost everyone, getting injured and sometimes surviving through sheer luck. There's only one of those full-on Chan humorous battles, with most of the big fights being more straight ahead combat by others.

But even though the movie has little of the humorously choreographed Chan is known for, the movie has many strengths. It is gorgeously shot - clearly a big budget film. Chan is likable (although in the dubbed version I was distracted by his sounding a little like Ronald Coleman, which seems inappropriate for a peasant). There are some exciting battles, some good performances, a few surprises, and some lovely moments.

There are also some oddities, like the introduction of a female who's part is too big to be considered a walk by but too small to make her seem like part of the movie. I'm not sure what that's all about.

Overall, Chan did a good job of keeping in the game without killing himself.
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8/10
Comedy ??
diggus doggus28 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I do not know what evil spirit pervaded the good people of IMDb but this film is everything except a comedy.

Little Big Soldier is the reason why i no longer watch Jackie Chan films. It is the story of a farmer drafted into an army, thrown about by events greater than him, as he struggles to help in winning the war, but fails miserably.

For some reason, Chan managed to show incredible depth here, so much that when i saw this film i understood that the slapstick comedy of the 90s was over and he was going to finally unite Wuxia with real acting, but again, no, that didn't happen. I guess comedy pays better.

I do recommend Little Big Soldier, it's *very* well made, profound, has a story we can understand, or even relate to, and is not afraid to throw punches.

My vote: 7.5/10 - cultural differences detract from the enjoyment of an otherwise excellent film
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10/10
A Fantastic and Massively Under-Rated Film
rosshumble13 September 2017
I won't give a plot summary, as many have done so already, so instead I just want to stress how good of a film this is. In terms of technical expertise this film isn't really what you are looking for but it makes up for that in every other aspect.

Every emotion is present in full force throughout this film. The action scenes perfectly balance intense and exciting with comedic elements and some very impressive stunts (to be expected of Jackie Chan) but to me the fight scenes are simply the icing on the cake for the rest of the plot. When watching this film I am either laughing my ass off, smiling along with the character's happiness or tearing up like a little bitch. This film plays my emotions like a fiddle and I cannot stress enough how good the writing and acting is throughout the film. It's not a simple action comedy as many on here suggest but a deep emotional journey for both the main protagonists and Jackie Chan really gets a chance to demonstrate his dramatic talent alongside his incredible stunts which never seem to get old.

I recommend this film whole heartily to anyone. It's one of those somewhat unheard of masterpieces in my opinion. It's not a Citizen Kane or 2001: A Space Odyssey type masterpiece but it is not trying to be. Everything this film attempts it lands with expertise and seeming effortlessness. I cannot recommend this film enough. Just watch it. You won't regret it.
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