In December 1941, Japan expands the occupation of its neighbouring countries to Southeast Asia. The railway from Tianjin to Nanjing in East China became a key military transportation route, heavily guarded by Japanese soldiers. Railroad worker Ma Yuan (Jackie Chan) leads a team of freedom fighters. Using his deep knowledge of the train network, he and his men sabotage it, ambushing Japanese soldiers and stealing supplies to feed the starving Chinese. Although the freedom fighters have no weapons of their own, they employ whatever tools are at hand, including a hammer and shovels, loose railway track planks and diverted trains.
The local Chinese call the unlikely heroes the “Railroad Tigers”. The freedom fighters find themselves on the wrong side of the tracks when the Japanese send reinforcements to Shandong. In an act of defiance, Ma Yuan launches his most dangerous mission yet, blowing up a heavily guarded railroad bridge. When the Japanese learn of the crippling plan, which will derail the war effort, the stakes are raised even higher. After many missed opportunities and missed shots, the bridge is blown up by the ragtag Chinese railroad tigers.