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Little Big Soldier

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Little Big Soldier

(Da bing xiao jiang)
Sponsored by: Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office (Canada)

Canadian Premiere

  • Hong Kong / China2010
  • 96 min
  • 35mm
  • Mandarin with English subtitles
Official Selection, Berlin International Film Festival 2010
Official Selection, New York Asian Film Festival 2010
Official Selection, Udine Far East Film Festival 2010


WarMartial ArtsHistoricalAction / Adventure

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“Shows that it's possible to be creative within the often-soulless genre of the big-budget Chinese epic” — Min Lee, ABC NEWS


Director: Ding Sheng
Screenplay: Jackie Chan, Ding Sheng
Cast: Jackie Chan, Wong Lee-Hom, Du Yu Ming, Yoo Sung-jun, Lin Peng
Producers: Jackie Chan
Print Source: Jackie & JJ Productions Limited



In the aftermath of a furious clash at Mount Phoenix in the year 227 B.C.—the height of China’s Warring States period—only two survivors crawl out from the carnage on the now-silent battlefield. One is a young but fiercely competent general of the Wei forces, the other a wily, older foot soldier of peasant stock from Liang. Wily enough to take the dazed and wounded general captive, toss him on a wagon and set out for his homeland with the hopes of collecting the prize for such a high-ranking prisoner—five acres of land on which to realize his modest dream of maintaining a farm. Thus begins not only an exciting adventure, as the general’s sinister rivals set out in tireless pursuit of the pair, but also the tale of a fraught relationship that constantly flips the roles of friend and enemy, victor and vanquished, high-born and low-caste. The general is man of honour, the infantryman a lovable trickster, and between the two of them, they may just succeed not only in making it through alive but in changing the face of the China of their day.

A rollicking, righteous historical adventure packed with dazzling action, smart political drama, breathtaking scenery, memorable characters, solid comedy and genuine poignancy, LITTLE BIG SOLDIER shows what 2009’s SHINJUKU INCIDENT hinted at and the recent KARATE KID remake confirmed. Jackie Chan, whom few would challenge as Hong Kong’s leading cultural export, has moved into a rewarding new phase of his career. He hasn’t entirely given up on his debt to Buster Keaton, the crazy, comical acrobatics and elaborate kung fu slapstick for which he’s celebrated worldwide. LITTLE BIG SOLDIER offers a fair amount of that (the bit with a bench, a log and a contested sword is a classic Chan choreography), and co-star Wang Lee-Hom, as the general, hold his own as Chan’s straightfaced foil at those points. But Chan, working from his own longstanding pet-project script, also achieves new heights of nuance, complexity and craft as an actor here, sculpting a personality that engages, delights and sticks in one’s memory. Unlike so many grand Chinese historical epics in which the human dimension is buried under large-scale sets and battles, and equally oversized drama, LITTLE BIG SOLDIER hinges on the realization that—princes or peasants—people are people.

—Rupert Bottenberg

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