ASIAN FILM - Article
10:00 - 13th February 2014, by David West

Little Big Soldier

In Little Big Soldier, megastar Jackie Chan proved he could carry a movie with his charisma even if he wasn't performing the martial arts action that made him famous. The plot concerns a lowly soldier (Chan) in the Liang army during China's tumultuous Warring States period. Determined to survive the conflict by means fair or foul, he has rigged his armour with an arrow that pops out of his chest to make it appear that he has been shot so he can play dead and wait for battles to pass him by. In the aftermath of the slaughter of the Liang army, he stumbles upon a wounded general (Wang Leehom) from the Wei forces, whom he takes captive and plans to deliver to his commanders in return for what he hopes will be a generous reward. But life is never as simple as that, and the soldier and the general are forced to work together to survive against bandits and outlaws.

Directed by Ding Sheng from a script by Chan himself, the film is essentially a road movie about a classic odd couple - the honorable, uptight general and the scheming, swindling soldier. Chan had been working on the script for years, and had originally planned to take the more action-heavy role of the general, but decided with his advancing years to opt for the comedy spot of the soldier. He delivers one of his best performances for many years, and the chemistry and comic timing between the two leads is excellent as Wang provides an excellent foil to his more experienced co-star. While Chan's character leaves most of the fighting to the younger general, the veteran still has ample opportunities to show off his marvelous acrobatics and gift for slapstick. The script has surprisingly depth too, with an unexpected and devastating final scene about the futility of war.

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