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Railroad Tigers
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by Jasmine

Feb 12, 2018
Overall 8.5
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 8.5
I watched this on the plane back from China as a way to kill time and I'm actually pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this. Films and dramas about the fight against the Japanese during World War II basically come out by the dozen in China, but this was so much fun.

Jackie Chan stars as a railroad worker who works on a railway from Tianjin to Nanjing  that serves as an important transportation route for the Japanese, and he leads a small group of fellow railroad workers in retaliating against the Japanese. Initially, they only rebel in small ways - stealing supplies from the Japanese, playing pranks on the soliders, etc., but they are driven by a growing desire to contribute more to the cause. No one around takes them seriously though, believing that there isn't really anything that a regular person can do to fight against what seems to be a losing battle.

Jackie's willingness to embrace the fact that he's older now has served him well in recent years - his character in this movie is a man of middle age who has a lost a lot in his life, and wants to see a better world for his daughter. He is portrayed as a normal man who uses his experience with working on the railroad (and of course, the usual Jackie ability to use various everyday items as tools and weapons) and leads by example. He's a man of few words, and maybe not the brightest bulb in the box, but his courage speaks volumes to those around him.

Tao and Jaycee Chan play two of the members of Jackie's crew, and both are street-smart, supporting characters who are crucial to helping Jackie accomplish his objectives. I liked both performances - neither tried to do too much with their roles and the action and humor was well-suited for their respective characters. If they tried to look cool, it was intentional humor, so it worked. I know Darren Wang is listed as part of the cast, but his part is pretty brief.

But I was most impressed by Wang Kai, who apparently has a career in comedy if he ever wants to change his career path. I found myself trying to hold in my laughter numerous times throughout his scenes. He's a fantastic actor, but I was still very  impressed by how well he balanced the humor out with his character, who was an army sniper turned restaurant owner after being completely disillusioned with how the war was going (his comedic timing is great). He and Jackie had the meatier roles by far, which is to be expected as they are the stronger actors here.

This isn't a movie that takes itself too seriously - it's an action comedy set in a remarkably serious period in Chinese history, so the contrasting tones may be a bit jarring at times, but I found it to be a nice breath of fresh air and a great take on what it means to be a hero.

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