Movie Review: Railroad Tigers (2016)

For RAILROAD TIGERS, Jackie Chan reteams with filmmaker Ding Sheng. These two are an interesting pair since one of Jackie’s best acting performances was in their first film together LITTLE BIG SOLDIER in 2010. Their second outing POLICE STORY 2013 aka POLICE STORY: LOCKDOWN was a disappointment. Not because it was a bad movie, it suffered from what I like to think of as expectation. If you look back at the previous POLICE STORY films, they were all action-packed martial arts extravaganzas. LOCKDOWN was a thriller with very little martial arts action (if I remember, only one real fight scene). So RAILROAD TIGERS could have gone either way and thankfully, it’s predominantly a hit.

In this action/comedy, Jackie Chan is Ma Yuan, a railroad worker who is the leader of a group of freedom fighters. They’re a ragtag group of misfits but they all mean well. When a wounded Chinese soldier stumbles into his home, Daguo (Darren Wang) the two form an unlikely bond. The soldier had plans to blow up a railroad bridge, one which is a major point of transporting goods for the invading Japanese army. Daguo succumbs to his wounds leaving Ma Yuan feeling he must complete the mission for him. He assembles his crew and sets out to gather the materials needed to blow the bridge. Their plan was foolproof but it doesn’t exactly work out as hoped and they will have to use their wits if they’re to complete the mission and outsmart the Japanese general, Yamaguchi (Hiroyuki Ikeuchi).

To get the big question out of the way before we go any further, this is not a martial arts film. There’s a bit of fighting here and there but the action most expect from a Chan film is non-existent here. It’s a little missed but it’s not necessary here. The film is highly entertaining for what it is, much of it’s value comes from the relationship of Chan’s group. They have a great rapport with one another and the chemistry is vibrant. It was great to see Jackie teaming with his son Jaycee and some of the best moments in the film revolve around those two. I will say the story tends to jump all over the place and the film could have benefitted from a few extra trims. It seemed to run a bit long but as long as you stick with it, you will be rewarded. The movie looks stunning and WellGo USA put out a beautiful looking disc with some very nice special features. LITTLE BIG SOLDIER might be their best dramatic pairing but RAILROAD TIGERS knows how to have fun and Ding Sheng once again has given Jackie Chan a role where he can show off just how talented of an actor he truly is.

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