Out tomorrow on Blu-ray/DVD Combo pack from Well Go USA is Railroad Tigers, starring the incomparable Jackie Chan. Directed by Ding Sheng, Railroad Tigers is a historically based action comedy with epic train battle scenes and some of Jackie’s trademark action humor.
Set in December 1941, Jackie plays Ma Yuan, the leader of a ragtag group of Chinese resistance fighters who are forced to work by the occupying Japanese at a railroad depot. This route — from Tianjin to Nanjing — has become a vital part of the Japanese logistics scheme. Loyal to his country, friends, and family, Ma Yuan and his counterparts use their bravery and wit to thwart the Japanese. Co-stars on Jackie’s team of freedom fighters include Zitao Huang, Jaycee Chan, Kai Wang, and Ping Sang, while the main Japanese antagonist is played by Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, who some viewers may recall from 2008’s Ip Man or in some of his other work. Ikeuchi plays an excellent villain role who looks the part and has the fighting skills to back up the persona he’s often called upon to exude in his these type of roles.
Railroad Tigers maintains an entertaining pace and flow throughout its runtime which tops the two hour mark. Its a bit longer than a typical Jackie Chan movie, but it stays entertaining by mixing in good supporting roles and a strong underdog story. The film is bookended with an old man and his son or grandson visiting a museum, leading into and out of the story. The outcome to the core story might be predictable, but the journey there is well told. I didn’t like some of the CG used towards the end with the train, only because the train looked a little too-CG and didn’t fit in with the authentic-looking costumes and sets otherwise. Also, the snowfall scenes were nicely done. Several scenes are build a strong sense of suspense that sees Jackie or his compatriots barely managing to dodge the attention of the Japanese. Particularly, the scene in which Jackie tries to steal several explosives from a storehouse results in some hilarious, yet still tense, interactions involving a rope and makeshift lever/pulley system. This type of creativity is appreciated and even somewhat expected with a Jackie Chan flick, but it doesn’t get old. Even though Jackie isn’t as physically intense as he used to be with stunts and martial arts, he still carries an impressive aura that draws awe and respect. This alone gives this film merit, but the supporting cast, cinematography, and put this one over the top and into the ‘very enjoyable’ category.
On Blu-ray, the presentation quality is excellent, to be blunt. Expect a crisp 1080p image that doesn’t disappoint, and an audio mix that’s stellar technically, but not necessarily enjoyable to actually listen to all of the time. For extra features, there are just a few, but only the twenty-one minute Making of stands out; the other features are all two or three minutes each. All told, in addition to previews for other Well Go titles, you can expect:
-The Making Of
Railroad Tigers is certainly worth watching, but a digital rental may suffice if you aren’t a big fan of the film or Jackie Chan. The technical quality on Blu-ray is quite impressive though, making it one to consider for your collection.