Little Big Soldier (aka Da bing xiao jiang)
Director: Sheng Ding.
Starring: Jackie Chan, Leehom Wang
As he closes in on his 100th screen adventure, Jackie Chan turns to a project two decades in the making with Little Big Soldier.
A project the Hong Kong superstar wrote himself, it sees Chan playing Big Soldier, an older man keen to get out of the army during the historic Era of Warring States period in China's history. He's sees his opportunity in capturing a young general - Little Soldier (Leehom Wang) - from a rival army, with the reward for his capture being an honourable discharge. However, the journey proves to be full of mishaps as the pair clash constantly on their way back to Big Soldier's superiors.
Chan has been trying to get this passion project made for 20 years, in which time he switched roles (he initially was meant for the role of Little Soldier but grew too old). The fruit of this struggle is some excellent action (although it is noticeable that Chan avoids the bigger stunts), but overall a film that doesn't have the depth to match its impressive visuals.
Chan puts his heart and soul into the part of Big Soldier, and it's a reminder that there is more to the actor than Hollywood cinemagoers may have witnessed. He comes across as likeable and evoking a lot of empathy. Wang also puts in a solid performance, gelling well with his legendary co-star, but crucially it's a story that's too lightweight to be anything memorable.