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Reviews & Ratings for
The Big Brawl More at IMDbPro »

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Index 30 reviews in total 

9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Slow but good.

7/10
Author: Ashley Whitear from Southampton, England
11 December 2002

Jackie Chan's first movie for the U.S. was good but failed business wise due to a flawed marketing campaign. However, the film had it's good bits. Jackie looked rather silly during the gangster fighting scenes. This was the director's fault. Jackie made an effort to act but the other actors didn't, besides that the film was quite entertaining and so was the fight scenes but they are quite slow.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Jackie Chan in a dilemma

6/10
Author: Don Bendell from Germany
25 January 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"After the enormous success in Hong Kong of Snake in the Eagle's Shadow and Drunken Master, Jackie Chan found himself in a dilemma. He was still under contract to the inept director Lo Wei, who was trying to make Chan into the next Bruce Lee. Chan had long resented trying to be molded into Lee, and with his recent success, he thought he had proved that other forms of martial arts films could do well. However, Lo thought the same formula he had used with Lee on Fist of Fury would work for Chan, and didn't hesitate to keep using it over and over, even though the dismal box office returns told him otherwise. Eventually, Chan walked out on Lo in disgust during the filming of Fearless Hyena 2 and signed with the Golden Harvest studio. Chan thought Golden Harvest's success would free him from Lo's clutches, but Lo had some tricks up his sleeve. He was connected with the Triads (Hong Kong gangsters) and sent thugs to the set to threaten Chan. Eventually, things got so bad that Chan's manager Willie Chan suggested that he travel to America for his first starring role in the States.

On the surface, things looked good. The movie was being backed by the Warner Bros. studio and would have a budget bigger than any of Chan's Hong Kong movies, and was going to be directed by Robert Clouse, who had helmed the most popular kung fu film of all time, Enter the Dragon. Thematically, it was to have contained many elements from the Hollywood Golden Age (films from the 1930's and 40's) that Chan admired so much. In fact, the film was pitched to Chan as an "Eastern Western" -- something that was a dream idea of Chan's. However, one thing lurked beneath the surface -- something that would make Chan miserable and turn this film into the horrible mish-mash that it is. Everyone involved -- the producers, the director, the studio -- wanted Chan to become the thing he had run away from in Hong Kong. They wanted him to become the next Bruce Lee.

The film's shadow of a plot revolves around Chan inadvertently putting the proverbial monkey wrench into gangster Jose Ferrer's plans. Eventually, Ferrer puts the squeeze on Chan's family and Chan finds himself competing in a bare-knuckle fighting tournament to save the family business (which is, of course, a laundry). Really, the particulars don't matter. This movie's horrible from beginning to end. The script, the cinematography, the acting -- they're all bad. Probably the biggest disappointment are the fight sequences. No one on the set allowed Chan any input at all, and as such, well, they're just pathetic. One of the movie's major sequences has Chan battling the gangsters during a roller-skating race. Now, this could actually be good; anyone who's seen Rollerball could attest to that. But in this movie, it comes off as what it is -- a bunch of people who can barely skate attempting to create a fight scene under the supervison of a director who has no idea of what his star can do.

This may (and I stress may) be worth a look for major Chan fans who want to see his US debut. But, honestly, this kind of movie is better left forgotten.

And to wrap up the long-winded story I've set up in this review, Chan was able to go back to Hong Kong via some help from old-school star Jimmy Wang Yu, who had his own Triad connections. He was eventually able to make his Eastern Western (albeit twenty years later) with Shanghai Noon. After the dismal failure of the film, Robert Clouse found himself regulated to doing B-list martial arts movies... and, in perhaps one of the most pathetic attempts to cover ones' tracks, later stated in the documentary The Deadliest Art that Chan was "one of the best people he had ever worked with."

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Not bad

6/10
Author: AwesomeWolf from Australia
7 November 2004

Jackie plays Jerry Kwan, a Chinese living in 1930s America. His father is forced to pay the Mafia protection, and Jerry won't stand for it, picking a fight with some Mafia-goons. The Mafia see Jerry's potential as a fighter, and kidnap his brother's fiancé, forcing Jerry to fight for them in the Battle Creek Brawl: an anything goes, winner-takes-all, fighting competition.

That's pretty much it plot wise, but in a Jackie Chan movie, the faster we get the plot out of the way, the happier we are (although, another pointed out the depiction of openly racist, 1930s America, I did think that was somewhat interesting). The fights and stunts are decent, but not up to Jackie's usual standards - he was forced to work with pro-wrestlers, etc unworthy to work with the Chan-man, and the stunt-coordinator was only a first time stunt-director, and had only performed stunts in three other movies. The fights during the Battle Creek Brawl really highlight the difference between Jackie and his much-larger, slower opponents - while Jackie impresses us with his speed and skill, the other guys are trying impress with sheer-power, and it doesn't work very well.

As his first American movie, its not too bad, and definitely better than his second attempt in America with "The Protector", but I would expect a lot more from Jackie, and the director Robert Clouse (who also directed Enter the Dragon).

6/10

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Average Jackie Chan vehicle set in the 30s in which the Mob forces him to fight fierce combats

5/10
Author: ma-cortes
7 October 2011

This exciting movie is crammed of action-packed, spectacular fights, comedy ,and breathtaking stunt-work . Jackie Chan as young Asian American martial artist expert is top notch , he is one army man fighting a group of heinous criminals and as always he makes his own stunts . As he is forced to participate in a brutal formal street-fight competition .Chan along with his girlfriend (Kristine DeBell) seek fame and fortune in 1930s America when he enters an all-comers martial arts competition , the ¨Champion fight , Battle Creek , the Brawl of this Century¨, forced by Mob that has kidnapped the brother's fiancée (Rosalind Chao) , despite the opposition of his father and several imposing opponents. This time Chan join forces with his uncle , a martial arts master (Mako) , both of whom are taken to Texas to participate in a free-for-all match .

This Chop-Socky displays action-packed, thrills,fast-paced and wild fighting images. Incredible stunts and brief comic touches, as usual , the picture is regularly constructed and contains some flaws and gaps . This is a passable action movie distinguished by ferocious sequences , and packs silly sense of humor as well as subsequent Jackie's entries; however being hampered by mediocre cinematography which is necessary a good remastering . In this outing Jackie teamed up to prestigious secondary named Mako and some veteran star as Jose Ferrer . Jackie Chan's failed at Box-office in this USA debut , however , being quite amusing and better than its reputation . Chan is a hard-working actor and director throughout his long and varied career .He went on playing ¨Cannoball¨ , ¨The protector¨ and "Rumble in the Bronx", until getting all American success with ¨Shangai Kid¨ . Of course , his big hits were ¨The Police story¨ series that won the Golden Horse Award, a Chinese version of the Oscar , the first was titled ¨Police story(1985)¨ directed by the same Chan , it was a perfect action film for enthusiastic of the genre ; the following was ¨Police story 2(1988)¨also pretty violent and with abundant humor touches. It's followed by this ¨Supercop¨ or ¨Police story 3¨ and finally, ¨Police story IV : Crime story.

This medium-budgeted and ordinary Kung-Fu actioner is middling realized by Robert Clouse , an expert on Chop-Socky movies and he directed Bruce Lee's last film , Game of Death (1978) . Robert Clouse is known best for his most successful film : Enter the Dragón (1973) and Clouse was a director who worked mainly in the visuals of cinema, owing to the fact that he was completely deaf, he employed assistant directors who could verify that actors had delivered their lines correctly. After being contracted by Warner Bros. and Golden Harvest to direct Enter the Dragón (1973), Clouse was escalated into the realm of profitable filmmakers . But, unlike others in this category, doors in Hollywood were not entirely open to him and the failed with ¨The big brawl¨. Clouse was hired by Warner Brothers Pictures to direct Black Belt (1974) . The film proved to be a moderate success, but was seen more as a vehicle for Enter the Dragón (1973) protégé 'Jim Kelly'. After that , he directed vehicles for Samo Hung , Jim Kelly , Richard Norton as ¨Gynkata ¨ , Yul Brynner in ¨The last warrior¨ one of the best films of his long career , Cynthia Rothrock as ¨China O'Brian I and II ¨ and other B films .

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Jackie Chan's failed US debut is quite fun and better than it's reputation

Author: DrLenera
19 February 2006

This Jackie Chan vehicle,his first attempt to break into the American market,generally has a bad reputation. Jackie himself hated myself the film,one of the reasons being that he had little to no control over the action. It was also a box office flop,despite it regrouping some of the team that made Enter The Dragon.

However,The Big Brawl is not all that bad. Indeed at first it seems that it does not at all deserve it's critics. Lalo Schifrin's main theme is exceptionally groovy,the 1030s Chicage setting is reasonably well evoked and there is one early fight scene,in which Jackie defeats three baddies seemingly by accident,that,although a little slow,does come across as being classic Jackie,combining fighting and slapstick typically well. As the film goes on it loses interest somewhat,especially as the final third is just Jackie fighting a bunch of wrestler types in the Big Brawl of the title. Nonetheless, if you don't expect much and/or have not seen many other of Chan's movie fights,they are fairly entertaining,as he defeats his opponents with his skill and agility, and despite the slow choreography,he does perform a few great moves and dangerous moments.

Elsewhere Mako is great fun as Jackie's uncle/teacher and his training scenes with Jackie are fun. It's also interesting to see Jackie in a supposedly sexual relationship with his girlfriend {something he normally shied away from}and here are also a few good laughs involving some inept gangsters. The Big Brawl is seriously flawed,but it really isn't bad. It's certainly better than The Protector!

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

I love this movie

Author: bob-731
6 June 2000

The Big Brawl and The Protector are two of my favorite Jackie Chan films. They are both fun to watch, although in the Big Brawl Jackie gets to show his comedic side which adds quite a bit to the enjoyment factor. I have low quality VHS copies of both of these films and I am currently searching for new first generation copies in English. I would advise anyone to give these films a look. Of course I like any film with Jackie Chan, and I hope he will continue to team up with American filmmakers, as in Rushour, to give us more laughs and wild action.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Not Bad But Lacks The Quality of Other Jackie Flicks

5/10
Author: no-skyline from London, England
28 December 2005

Jackie's first staring role in an American made movie, Robert Clouse (Enter the Dragon) directs but this never really hits the high notes of say Project A or Armour of God. The problem being that Jackie is lumbered with ex-pro wrestlers and the like with which to produce fight choreography and not his own JC stunt team so the timing and trust was just not there to produce truly stunning fights.

Only once does Jackie get to work his true magic and this is with two members of his own team in a fight that easily surpasses anything on show in the rest of the movie. If they had let Jackie choreograph the entire movie this would have been a much better film as lets face it the fights are what we here for in a movie like this.

Overall it's entertaining in places but for Chan enthusiasts only, if you've never seen a J.C film before your better of starting with Project A, Police Story or for the older more traditional style kung fu flick Drunken Master.

Entertaining for Chan fans only - 5/10

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

jackie chan's first American movie is good stuff, action comedy, and chan

8/10
Author: daworldismine from United Kingdom
18 May 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

even though it's his first American movie, it delivers everything you expect from a jackie chan movie, including stunts, great fight scenes and comedy. its a great watch and jackie chan is a joy to watch in his many fight scenes with big wrestlers, and the comedy while some of it dated, for the most part it remains very funny and is entertaining. now some fans don't like this movie, and i cant understand why, it delivers everything you expect from a jackie can movie, sure maybe it is a little cheesy and times, and the acting not the best you've ever seen, but arnt most of jackie chans movies. never the less the big brawl is a great jackie chan flick, and i recommend to fans if his, and action fans in general.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Jackie's first American film

6/10
Author: Shawn McKenna (srmckenna@hotmail.com) from Modesto, California
30 August 2005

Jackie Chan's first American venture was the result of Golden Harvest keeping Jackie out of harm's way and to try to push Jackie internationally. When Chan broke contract with Lo Wei for Golden Harvest and five million HK dollars, Lo wanted to do everything he could to get Jackie back (or punish him) even deal with the Triad group Sun Yi On to do this. Jimmy Wang Yu, whom Jackie worked with in The Killer Meteors and had Triad influence, offered to broker a deal between the three parties. He would later require a few favors such as Jackie to appear in Island of Fire and Fantasy Mission Force. Jimmy was quite successful in his talks with the three parties early in Jackie's foreign journey, but Jackie would have to appear in two American films: star in The Big Brawl and have a small part in the horrific Cannonball Run while running the emotional gamut known as the American Press.

Battle Creek Brawl aka The Big Brawl is a mediocre attempt at trying to showcase Jackie's skills. While it is not as bad as the American version of his second attempt – The Protector – it was still only an OK film. It was directed by Robert Clouse (Enter the Dragon and the craptacular Game of Death) but he was relegated to B-movie fare at this point in his career though he would later direct Gymkata. Clouse's static style conflicted with the dynamic nature of Jackie. Though there were several other areas of annoyance for Chan including his working with a language that he did not understand at the time and a stunt coordinator who did not understand his style.

Jackie stars as Jerry Kwan, a prodigal martial art student studying under his uncle Herbert Kwan (played by the prolific Japanese actor Mako) in the late 20's or early 30's Chicago. Herbert is a chiropractor when he is not torturing Jackie or going after large women. He is a disappointment to his father, even when he breaks up extortionists of his father's restaurant, who wants him to be more like his brother Robert, the Doctor. Jerry's fighting ability gets the attention of Dominichi (Jose Ferrer) a local gangster and obtains the ire of his nephew David Leggetti. Dominichi needs a fighter to be able to beat his nemesis, Mr. Morgan, who has control of a beast of a man Billy Kiss who kisses his opponents, sometimes a bit long, after he wins (played by H.B. Haggerty who looks like a 19th century circus strong man.)

For Dominichi to control Jerry he kidnaps his brother's soon-to-be fiancé from China named Mae (Rosalind Chao who is forever known by Trekkers as Keiko O'Brien.) He then enters Jerry in a fighting contest called the Battle Creek Brawl which takes place in Texas. The purse is 15,000 dollars (which seems ridiculously low now.) The biggest problem with this contest is that all the fighters resemble professional wrestlers (yes the great Gene Le Bell is amongst them) and not fighters. This is especially evident in the beginning brawl-for-all where there is a camel clutch, body slams and plenty of large men in tights. The fighters are incredibly slow compared to Jackie, but they do add certain campyness to the film (or do the capes and tights make this point already evident.)

One of the more interesting scenes took place earlier in the film when Jackie is part of a relay roller derby contest. He would also use this new found skill of roller skating in an awesome stunt sequence in Winners and Sinners. But the rest of the film never quite captures my interest the way that scene does. The romance between Jerry and Nancy was handled in an interesting nonchalant manner though. I also did like some of the fight scenes, but not as much as most of Jackie's Hong Kong fight scenes. I am glad that he was able to add humor to several parts of the film. I would not recommend this film to most people, because there are so many better "Jackie" films to watch. I did find this a nice diversion and not as bad as many of the American fight films of that era. NOTES: stunt coordinator Pat E. Johnson has his name on the fighter's tournament chalk board. Some versions (especially early Hong Kong prints) of this film take out the relationship scenes between Nancy and Jerry.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Jackies first slice of American Pie!

Author: thereal0ggy
24 May 2002

Well, I finally got to see it...mmmm I thought, not too bad..seeing as he didnt know much english at the time, and was well restricted by the American Film industry machine!. His Fight scenes were watered down and slow by all normal 'Jackie' standards but that apart,there are some great comic moments and Jackie wins through. He Radiates innocent charm and even manages to Rollerscate with gusto, although Im not too sure about the historical acuracy of some of the costumes..this was supposed to have been 1930s USA and Im sure spandex wasnt invented then!One interresting note for real 'died in the wool' Jackie fans , is the continued theme of the Lazy but tallented boy being trained in wierd and some would say inhumane ways by a 'sifu','master','uncle!'...amazing how this sort of idea managed to cross the pacific with him!.All in all a pleasent movie, although I can understand why Jackie was both Disappointed and Angry at the outcome at least it spurred him on to make greater and greater movies in HK.

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