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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Feb 20, 2017

Railroad Tigers Movie Review: Entertaining Action-Comedy Set During The Sino-Japanese War With Jackie Chan Leading Resistance Fighters To Blow Up A Strategic Bridge

JACKIE CHAN’S “Kung Fu Yoga” has just been shown and it’s a big hit locally. Now comes another slambang Jackie Chan movie, “Railroad Tigers”, and it’s definitely more action-packed than his last one. Set during the Chinese-Japanese War in the early 40s, Jackie plays Ma Yuan, a head porter at a small town train station who makes sneak attacks to steal food and supplies from Japanese cargo trains that pass by their place.

He and his group of Tigers then meet a badly wounded Chinese soldier, the lone survivor of a unit sent to blow up a strategic bridge before a Japanese train carrying a major shipment of weapons for the frontlines of the invaders passes by in four days. It then becomes the dangerous mission of Jackie and his Tigers to be resistance fighters and accomplish this at all costs by outsmarting the Japanese captain of the military police, Yamaguchi (Ikeuchi Hiroyuki), who chews the scenery.

Jackie’s tigers are a motley group of mostly neophyte warriors: a tailor (Zitao Huang), a maid (Xu Fan), a thief (Alan Ng), a pancake seller (Zhang Yishang), a sharpshooter (Kai Wang), and railroad workers (Jaycee Chan, who’s Jackie’s own son, and Ping Sam.)

His fans have come to expect Jackie’s movies as action-comedies that are meant to be crowd pleasers and “Railroad Tigers” is no exception. With the help of Hongkong Writer-Director Ding Sheng (who helmed him in the now classic “Police Story”), Jackie just doesn’t disappoint. As usual, the action scenes are well choreographed showing Jackie and his wild bunch of Tigers displaying their martial arts skills in full force, with liberal touches of cartoonish comedy, as they fight their enemies in and out of the running train, particularly during the grand finale.

The big ensemble cast truly delivers. And the opening credits sequence alone is already worth the price of admission. In a tour of old trains in a museum, a little child is shown wandering away to see a vintage World War II train. The boiler hatch opens and animated cinders glow to show who’s manning the train. Why, Jackie Chan, of course!
And he makes this a paean to his avowed
favorite film which is one of his biggest influences, “The General”, a silent 1926 comedy classic by Buster Keaton. Oh yes, don’t leave the theatre right away as they show some hilarious bloopers at the end credits with the actors often forgetting their lines.