Battle Creek Brawl (1980)

Posted in Reviews by - October 22, 2012
Battle Creek Brawl (1980)

Following the huge success of The Young Master, Raymond Chow repackages a young Jackie Chan for the American market with this slaphappy concoction which dangerously backfires. The film bombed horribly, despite the best efforts of the team behind Enter the Dragon (director Clouse, producer Weintraub and a music score from Lalo Schifrin). The reasons are plain to see: Chan is straitjacketed by the restrictions of western fight choreography, and although the comic set-pieces are delivered with reasonable panache, the execution is jagged. A diabolical story doesn’t help. Set in 1930s Texas, Chan plays flamboyant immigrant Jerry Kwan, part Bruce Lee part Charlie Chaplin. Local mobsters kidnap his girl and threaten the life of his flat-capped sifu (Mako), forcing Kwan to take part in a succession of cartoon duels with comic book baddies at the Battle Creek Brawl. But don’t bother paying too much attention: the film concludes with most of the loose ends left untied. Instead it succumbs to dreary fight scenes that lack the energy and excitement of his latter-day movies. At a time when Chan was still honing his craft, this brief misadventure would contribute to keeping Jackie Chan in Hong Kong for a long time.

AKA: The Big Brawl

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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