Railroad Tigers (2016)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2018-04-11
Summary: Jackie is more or less back
Uneven, episodic, too broadly written but redeemed by action scenes and train crashes toward the end and ultimately satisfying to the extent that the good guys won while making the final sacrifice and the bad guys lost with almost everyone in the cast dead at the end.

Typical wartime story of unorganized and poorly armed partisans--in this case a bunch of railroad worker--taking on and defeating an all conquering army that has occupied their country. Brave Chinese guerillas oppose well trained combat veterans of the Japanese army who have the latest weapons and equipment, a seemingly inexhaustible supply of ammunition and enough satchel charges to literally fill a boxcar. The Chinese want to blow up a bridge, a key part of the supply lines to the battlefront and the Japanese need to keep the supplies moving. Among the weapons the Japanese have are small armored rail cars that look like oddly shaped tanks on railway carriages and that patrol the tracks. They were highlights of the production design.

There was self-sacrifice, heroism, unstated but still powerful patriotism and the ability to devise tactics to suit a changing situation on the Chinese side while their opponents were sneaky, ignoble, so fearful of authority that they couldn’t act without specific orders and unable deal with the creative Chinese irregulars. The Japanese weren’t presented as particularly bloodthirsty--they weren’t cruel for the sake of cruelty, there were mass arrests instead of mass slaughter of recalcitrant civilians and the rules of war were generally followed. There were the usual evil Japaneses commanders and intelligence officers, conflicted Chinese caught between wanting to serve their country and just wanting everything to go away and the more noble than noble railroad worker who set about accomplishing what the Eighth Route Army couldn’t.

Overly long--”Railroad Tigers” could have been improved with a firmer hand in the editing booth--but it was fun to see a mature, bearded Jackie Chan in an action role even though most the action was doubled by stuntmen or created by constructive editing.
Reviewer Score: 6