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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Jackie Chan in a dilemma

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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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Slow but good.

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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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Not bad

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).


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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

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

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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6 out of 7 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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4 out of 5 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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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Not Bad But Lacks The Quality of Other Jackie Flicks

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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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Much better than "RUSH HOUR"

29 July 1999

This is the acceptable face of Jackie Chan.Although there is some unsophisticated comedy here,gone is the ridiculously over the top grimacing and slapstick which mars even the best of his Hong Kong work. The action here is exciting and the latter fights are prolonged,much better than "RUSH HOUR" and its too short skirmishes. Jose Ferrer makes for quite a good villain and lends a touch of class to the proceedings,rest of cast is up to par although the leading lady leaves a lot to be desired. The brawls in the tournament are well choreographed and increase in intensity as the film progresses.Personally I do not think it matters if Chan does not oversee his own action scenes as he needs someone to reign in his excesses.He is not and never will be another Bruce Lee as he has no animal magnetism in his fight scenes so any action director who can make him look tougher can only be an advantage to his future Hollywood career.Robert Clouse tried to do that and that is why "THE BIG BRAWL" is Chan's best American movie so far.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Action scenes aren't that great! 3/10

Author: leonblackwood from United Kingdom
18 December 2015

Review: This movie was a big deal when it was released during the 80's, because it was one of the first Western movies starring Jackie Chan, which were fully English. The main problem that I found with the film is that the action scenes are pretty poor, which is surprising for a Chan movie, and the storyline wasn't that great. Jackie Chan plays Jerry Kwan whose father is being bullied by the local gangsters because he won't pay them protection money for his restaurant. When Jerry bumps into the gangsters while they are leaving his father's place, he uses his Kung Fu skills to fight them off and he warns them not to come back again. The mobsters then tell the head boss, Dominici (Jose Ferrer), about his Kung Fu skills and he decides to use him for the Battle Creek Brawl competition, we're various fighters come together to battle for a cash price. As Jerry is reluctant to fight in the competition, Dominici kidnaps his brothers fiancé, who has just arrived from Hong Kong. After some training with his uncle Herbert (Mako), he enters the competition to fight for her release. There are some other elements to the storyline but I don't want to spoil it for those people who haven't watched it before. Like many Chan movies, there is a lot of weak comedy throughout the movie, especially during the fighting scenes, so I was quite put off from the beginning. I also was expecting a big showdown at the end but it turned out to be a bunch of heavyweight men, wrestling with each other. Chan looked tiny compared to his opponents and the silly Kung Fu moves that he used against them, was pretty poor. The acting wasn't bad and I liked the chemistry between Chan and Mako but the film looked extremely dated and the comedy was just not that funny. Average!

Round-Up: This movie was written and directed by Robert Clouse, who brought you Enter The Dragon, Black Belt Jones, Game Of Death, China O'Brien I & II and Ironheart. He sadly died of kidney failure in 1997, at the age of 68 but he firmly put his stamp in cinema with the movies that he made with Bruce Lee. I don't think that this movie was in the same ball park as Enter The Dragon or Game Of Death but he can honestly say that he had a hand in bringing Chan to a Western market before he died. 

Budget: N/A Worldwide Gross: $8.5million

I recommend this movie to people who are into their action/martial arts/crime/comedies starring Jackie Chan, Jose Ferrer, Kristine DeBell, David Sheiner, Mako and Larry Drake. 3/10

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Jackie C. in the U.S. of A.

Author: BA_Harrison from Hampshire, England
6 July 2014

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 Jackie—what 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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