Battle Creek Brawl

release year: 1980
genre: martial arts action/comedy
viewing setting: home DVD 2/4/13

synopsis: All Jerry wants to do is train in martial arts and hang out with his girlfriend, but after some local gangsters notice that he can fight, they force him to participate in a big tough-guy brawl in Texas.

impressions: This was Jackie Chan's first attampt to break into the mainstream U.S. movie scene, and it failed because he was forced to compromise and make the movie the Hollywood way rather than his way. Nevertheless, there's some value here: a lot of fights that happen on, around, and through various places and objects, in the Jackie Chan style. There are also plenty of memorable characters, though most of them only appear briefly.

activation point: A rather late 46:00 - this is the point where Jerry realizes that he's going to have to go to Texas and fight in the big brawl.

something this movie has that no other movie has: A guy tied to a section of wooden railing, who breaks free and fights some other guys with the piece of railing still attached to him.

acting: A young Jackie Chan is Jerry, and he does a lot of jumping around, fighting, and mugging for the camera. Veteran actor and martial artist Mako is Jerry's uncle and teacher. Jose Ferrer is the old gangster who's the source of much of Jerry's troubles. There were also brief appearances by H.B. Haggerty (who played Tigerman in a couple episodes of the late-1970s TV show Buck Rogers), Ox Baker (who was the big, bald gladiator guy in Escape From New York), and Lenny Montana (who played enforcer Luca Brasi in The Godfather.)

final word: Jackie Chan's first, and early, major American role/movie; entertaining, but also goofy at times.

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