Railroad Tigers (2017)
Critic Consensus: Railroad Tigers throws a few sparks hearkening back to Jackie Chan's glory days as an action comedy star, but they're smothered by an unfocused story and jarring shifts in tone.
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Critic Reviews for Railroad Tigers
With little to grab onto-and despite all that it offers-Railroad Tigers is far slower than a goofy action movie that mostly takes place on a locomotive should ever be.
Beyond Mr. Chan's deft work here, "Railroad Tigers," directed by Ding Sheng, is kind of a mess.
Instead of a grand lark of fast fists and derring-do, we get a lumbering, choppy voyage of minimal excitement.
It's only the first week of January, but it will be hard to beat Hong Kong director Ding Sheng's "Railroad Tigers" for the best opening credit sequence of the year.
It takes a special anti-talent to make a movie that's hard to follow out of material this broad.
It's not a complete waste of time as there are a few magical Chan moments as when he's fighting off and dodging bad guys on the top of a speeding train...Chan, at 62, may not be as nimble as he once was but what he can do is still very impressive.
Audience Reviews for Railroad Tigers
Part of me hates reviewing movies like this, simply because some of my complaints might be seen as 'ignorant' by those with a far greater knowledge of history than myself. But the fact of the matter is that I'm gonna do it anyway. I've always known of the fact that Japan and China don't exactly have the best of relations due to Japan's atrocious war crimes during WWII. And I have no problem with telling a story that is obviously fact-based, like The City of Life and Death, which deals with the real-life Battle of Nanjing and aftermath of which resulted in the Nanking Massacre, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Chinese people at the hands of Japanese soldiers. I've got no problem with that, since it's based in a real event. But films like this, on the other hand, feel more like just a piece of propaganda more than anything else. There's nothing fact-based here. This is just a piece of jingoistic filmmaking to stir a sense of national pride in their fellow countrymen. And, again, I'm not defending Japan and their actions during World War 2, they did some horrifyingly terrible things, but even films about Nazis, at this point, have evolved to tell better stories. And this isn't the first film I've seen like this either, that's why I'm even talking about this. Among the Chinese, there are no cowards or evil assholes, all of them want to help the Railroad Tigers achieve their mission. It's so brazen, it's not even funny. But I digress, that's neither here nor there honestly, because, as far as I'm concerned, this movie is still surprisingly decent. I will say right off the gate, however, that I found this film's tone to be a little problematic. They clearly want this to be an action/adventure film that's, in theory, fun for the whole family. Well, I mean, it doesn't really work that way when the film is fairly violent and the whole comedic approach to this film doesn't really gel well. There's this scene near the end, on the train, where the Tigers shoot this cannon at this carriage that the Japanese soldiers are in. Naturally all of the soldiers die. After this scene, however, one of the Tigers walks in and grabs one of the soldiers' legs while a quirky score plays. Yes, really. Another thing is that the characters are one-dimensional as humanly possible. None of the Tigers have real discernible personalities outside of Jackie Chan, what a surprise. There's the fat guy and he's portrayed as a dullard who's always falling down or fucking up. That's some amazing character development right there. That's sarcasm obviously. All the Japanese soldiers are foreign devils with no real discernible personalities either. They're just Japanese, so they're instantly evil, right? The more I write about this movie, the more I realize that giving this 2.5 stars is a mistake. It's not that I think that this is a bad movie, but giving into the stereotypes to tell a jingoistic story is not what I would call a good flick. That's not saying that there aren't highlights here. Like the entire climactic action scene, on the train, is pretty good. It should have been better considering how long it went, but it was still relatively entertaining. I think part of the problem is the fact that there's a whole lot of nothing going on here in between the big set piece scenes. These people talk a whole lot, but I wasn't really paying attention to any of it. I mean, obviously I was paying some sort of attention, but I paid enough to basically understand what was going on. I didn't really care about any of the characters and their one-dimensional personalities. The film introduces the characters with these colorful scenes that show their name and their catchphrases. Talk about contrived, man. You're telling me what their catchphrase is, like what is this? Is that supposed to establish who their character is so you don't have to try to add on anything yourself? What absolute laziness on their part. Don't know what else I can say about this. It's certainly not bad and, obviously, it's not Jackie Chan's best (even for his late-period shit). But this is a perfectly fine and watchable movie, up to a point, if you don't really pay much attention to it. If you get down to the nitty-gritty, you'll see that this really wasn't a very good movie. Lack of strong characters, stereotypical villains and uninteresting story means that this movie gets 2 stars. And that may even be very generous given everything that I mentioned. But, yea, I didn't really like this movie. A few highlights in a movie that's 120 minutes long isn't enough to make this worth sitting through. I love you, Jackie, but you've done much, much better in your career.
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