Once upon a time, the mere notion of a Jackie Chan movie coming out -- especially during the prestigious period that envelops Christmas and Chinese New Year -- would be a cause celebre. Now, sadly, it really ends up being a small blip on most moviegoers radar, even for those who have been long invested in the cinematic shenanigans and upward highlights of one once young Mr. Chan. Ding Sheng's 2016 holiday release Railroad Tigers, while being notable for being a "Jackie Chan movie" (trademark and copyright 2016) without all that much actual action from Jackie but still feeling like, yes, you did just get done watching an actual Jackie Chan movie, ends up -- like far too many recent releases from the region -- feeling more than a bit flat and uninspired, making this more fare for hardcore long-time kung fu fans than those who are merely looking for some escapist entertainment.
It's not to say at all, in any way, shape, or form, that Railroad Tigers is a bad -- or even, more damningly, boring -- movie. It's just more disappointing than anything else. Besides a few "wink wink nudge nudge" moments at the expense of Jackie's son Jaycee, there's really nothing at all that makes Railroad Tigers a quote unquote a Jackie Chan film. Of course, one shouldn't realistically expect Jackie to still produce stuff on the same level of classics like Drunken Master 2 or Police Story. But do we really need him in middling retreads of The Dirty Dozen not so professionally buoyed by surprisingly amateurish CGI while sprinkled by casual semi-racist attitudes against Japanese people? Even the most rabid defenders of Chan might be close to admitting that he might need to take this movie's metaphoric train into the sunset of his career.
Railroad Tigers will be released on a limited basis in January 2017 in North America from Well Go USA. Click here for theatres and showtimes.
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