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4 Dec 2012


By David Lee Andrews   Posted at  10:30   MOVIES

Battle Creek Brawl Cover I'm sure that you will agree with me when I say that some people just love to have a fight. Boxers. Martial Artists. Mothers. Politicians. Angry People. Office Workers. And that ugly looking sod with a dog that lives at the end of my street. Though there are other people that don't like a wham-bam-bam either. Such as Director: Robert Clouse; and Actors: Jackie Chan, Kristine DeBell, Mako, and José Ferrer. Especially for 95-minute in 1990.

Battle Creek Brawl

Arranging street brawls in the 1930's wasn't a very easy thing to do you know. Take crime-boss, Dominici (José Ferrer), for instance. All he needs is the right man to kick the living cr*p out of his rivals brutal fighter, Killer Kiss (H.B. Haggerty), and everything would be right in his world.

But no. Most his men are right schmucks, because they can't even defend themselves from a Chinese man called Jerry Kwan (Jackie Chan).

Hey! Wait a minute! That's an idea! Why doesn't Dominici get Jerry to help him out? Jerry's masochistic Uncle, Herbert (Mako), has trained him very well in the martial arts. Plus he and his girlfriend, Nancy (Kristine DeBell), do win a roller-skating competition together by default. 

However, how will Dominici enlist Jerry's services, huh? By getting his henchmen to attempt to kill him on numerous occasions? Or what about attacking one of Jerry's skating pals and then leaving him for dead by the side of the street? 

Yeah. They're all worth a stab I suppose. Not that it does Dominici any good. Heck, the only way he manages to persuade Jerry to come to his aide, is by kidnapping his brothers soon to be girlfriend, before making a bargain with him in the process...

'If you win the up and coming Battle Creek Brawl in Texas, you get to keep the prize money and get your brothers girlfriend back too'.

Well, that's most probably why what next transpires all comes into play when Jerry and his Uncle do a spot of night flipping. As crooks alight - fighters fight - opponents dis - and the last man standing gives the last man sitting a very special kiss.

Now before I give you my spiel on 'Battle Creek Brawl', please take note of the following filmic facts.

The Big Brawl Film Poster
(1) This picture was Jackie Chan's American film debut. (2) One of the producers on this flick, Raymond Chow, was the same man that produced most of Bruce Lee's movies [click on link for his section]. (3) Jackie learnt most of his dialogue on this project by sound alone. He didn't know what he was saying most of the time. (4) 'The Brawl' premiered on the 29th of August, 1980, and it grossed $8,527,743 US dollars. (5) Jackie Chan previously worked with the director, Robert Clouse, on the action-adventure 'Enter the Dragon' [click here for the review]. (7) Because this film was deemed a financial failure within the Western film market, Jackie himself was then subjected to star in a number of minor filmic roles in America -- like in 'Cannonball Run' for example [click on link for review]. (8) In an interview, Jackie once said that one of the main reasons why this film failed was because he wasn't given a chance to direct the action scenes in the way he wanted to.

Jackie in Battle Creek Brawl

The Big Brawl Jackie Chan
Well, if you have read all of that, then I'm pretty sure you've got a good idea of how I generally feel about this film. Listen, I'm not trying to imply that I hate 'Battle Creek Brawl'. Far from it. In fact I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. However, if you have taken note of Jackie's comments up above, I have to state for the record that I agree with him. His fighting in this piece isn't as it is normally depicted. It's less powerful. More cartoon-ish. Slightly flimflam in places. Plus the only thing I can compare it to is Jackie's brief fight scene in 'Cannonball Run' -- just with a bit more edge to it.

Also, another thing that I wasn't too keen on was the inconsistent style of this movie either. It's supposed to be 1930's in tone, yet here and there you can see the modern world creeping into shot within the attire and in the background. Moreover, within the confines of certain scenes you can tell where the editor got a bit carried away with himself concerning the flow of a fight -- mainly Jackie's fights.

Jackie Getting Ready To Fight In Battle Creek Brawl

Don't fret though; there's quite a few thing's in this flick that I really did like. For a start, this was the first time I saw a car utilized in such a brash way during an organised street battle. Next, I have to mention how hilarious and shocking the 'lead-in brawl' to the 'main event' really was. Honestly, it really did take me out of my seat. In a good way ofz course. Plus let's not forget Mako, huh? He was a real surprise to me I can tell you. In every scene he was in he added humor and character to his role that I really did get a big kick out of.

Overall 'Battle Creek Brawl' is a fairly decent film. Not as spectacular as some of Jackie's other works. Agreed. But I still think that it is well worth a watch if you would like see an amalgamation of 'Any Which Way You Can', 'Way of the Dragon', and 'No Retreat No Surrender. Plus a little bit of Jackie thrown in for good measure. What do you say about that Mister Chan?

Wow! What a great guy. And he has such nice hair too.


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