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Teddy Robin Kwan
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A Korean man seeks fame and fortune in 1930s America when he enters an all-comers martial arts competition despite the opposition of the Mob, his father and several imposing opponents. Written by
Keith Loh <email@example.com>
It's the 1930s (or possibly the '50s, going by the typography on a banner in the film's roller skating scene, or maybe even the '70s judging from the garish skating outfits, the afros on display, and Lalo Schifrin's cool and funky score): a group of gangsters want martial arts expert Jerry (Jackie Chan) to compete in the Texas Battle Creek Brawl and will resort to any underhanded means in order to get him to co-operate
Robert Clouse might not be the greatest action director in the business, but he has made two of my favourite cult movies ever: Bruce Lee's martial arts classic Enter The Dragon, and post-apocalyptic flick The Ultimate Warrior, starring Yul Brynner. With Jackie Chan as his star, he had the potential to deliver yet another classic for fans to treasure; unfortunately, Battle Creek Brawl, the director's 1980 attempt at emulating his success with Enter The Dragon, isn't as much fun as one might imagine, failing to capitalise on its star's amazing martial arts skills.
With a series of unsuitable opponents (mostly American wrestlers and muscle-men), Chan is unable to make the most of his incredible speed and timing, his fights looking rather slow and laboured in comparison to the action in his Hong Kong films, where he is pitted against other martial artists; poor choreography and sloppy editing also serve to weaken any impact the action scenes might have had, something that is particularly noticeable during the film's major non-martial arts sequence, the roller skating race that is about as adrenaline pumping as a knitting competition (knit one, pearl one Jackiewhat a rush!).
The non-fighting members of the supporting cast do what they can to help, with José Ferrer lending proceedings an air of class as ruthless gangster Dominici, ex-adult movie star Kristine DeBell putting in a winning turn as Jerry's girlfriend Nancy, and an enthusiastic early performance from Larry 'Dr.Giggles' Drake, but it's the action that fans have come to see and in that department Battle Creek Brawl simply doesn't deliver the goods.
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