The recent ‘Karate Kid’ remake signalled Jackie Chan’s increasing willingness to inject a little more emotional weight into his popcorn roles, and it’s a trend he develops in ‘Little Big Soldier’, an unpredictable and highly entertaining Eastern western. Chan plays an unnamed farmer conscripted by the Liang army in their war against the Wei dynasty. When the two armies essentially wipe each other out, Chan kidnaps the Wei general and heads for home, hoping to claim a reward. At first, ‘Little Big Soldier’ is structured like a comic road movie, as the two leads bicker and battle across rural China, facing bears, bandits and bad guys along the way. But as the stakes rise and the violence intensifies the movie becomes richer, sadder and more engrossing: a mournful treatise on exploitation and the true cost of war, albeit interspersed with a fistful of superbly directed, high-octane fight scenes. Genre-benders who like their Leone-esque historical slapstick buddy-action epics with a side order of political tragedy will find much to enjoy here.