Big Brawl, The | aka Battle Creek Brawl (1980) Review

"The Big Brawl" Japanese DVD Cover

"The Big Brawl" Japanese DVD Cover

Director: Robert Clouse
Writer: Robert Clouse
Producer: Raymond Chow, Fred Weintraub
Cast: Jackie Chan, Jose Ferrer, Kristine DeBell, Mako, Rosalind Chao, Pat Johnson
Running Time: 95 min.

By James H.

Music is a very key element in films. I think everyone can agree with that statement. If you don’t believe me, just think about it. What would “Superman” be like without John Williams’ sweeping score? A James Bond movie without music is like a washer without a dryer. That is one of the reasons “The Big Brawl” was not a success. Lalo Schifrin, who did a great job scoring “Bullitt” and “Dirty Harry” (among others, like “Mission: Impossible”), did a horride job here. It was like a mix of Spaghetti Western music and Generic-50’s-Cop-Show music.

As I said the music was one of the reasons this movie was a failure. The plot was lame, the supporting cast was lame, the directing was lame and the editing was, yup you guessed it, shoddy. The fights were okay, Clouse didn’t try to re-create “Enter the Dragon,” and Jackie added some cool moves that kept them interesting. Jackie did a decent job, this being his first shot at the North American market. The saving grace of the film is the humour. There were some funny bits here & there which gave it a certain charm.

If there is nothing left at the video store, go ahead and pick it up. Lord knows there are movies shittier than this one (AHEM! “The Protector”!).

James H’s Rating: 3.5/10


By S!DM

In an attempt to break into the American market, Jackie is duped into making “The Big Brawl,” a real stinker. Jackie says that he is glad he did this film, because he learned how to roller skate. Jackie, I am happy for you. I also learned to roller skate by making a 90 minute feature film. And Robert Clouse directed mine, too! The basic premise is that Jackie has to fight in a “Big” brawl to release his brother’s fiancee. And what a brawl it was. There are no stunts in this movie. There are no real fights either. Unless you count that hilariously bad skirmish between Jackie and Pat Johnson from Enter the Dragon (“It’s the dough, Roper, or we gotta break something!”). Pat, this goes out to you and all your friends: Please retire soon!

S!DM’s Rating: 5/10


By The Great Hendu

The number one reason this movie sucked was because Jackie never fought anyone who could even come close to touching him. I mean even the BIG (and I use that word lightly) Brawl was pathetic. The brute who fought Jackie inspired about as much fear in me as my fat uncle Pete who reminds me a lot of Dilbert. Jackie inserted a hint of humor in the very first fight when he tries not to actually fight. That was probably the best part and it wasn’t even that good. Much of the time I felt like I was watching Bruce Lee. Jackie does a number of those quick jabs or kicks then strikes a pose with a very serious look on his face, like he’s mad all the time. We all know Jackie is a fun loving guy and this movie tried to turn Jackie into what he is not. Finally, as much as everyone else hated the whistling musical soundtrack, I thought it was one of the few things which gave the movie a light-hearted feel, and you have to admit, it was undeniably catchy. Overall, Jackie was misused in this film and I would only reccommend it to true Jackie fans.

The Great Hendu’s Rating: 4.5/10


By Shazbot!

The biggest challenge with this film is that it has a modern day setting in an environment where we everyone doesn’t break out into fights. It tries to balance that with a roller skate sequence (weak) and training with his uncle (decent). The alley sequence where he “fights” without fighting is classic Jackie. The rest is crap. It is not exciting to see kung fu when its only one person. His opponent should have been more of an nimble boxer, able to dish out some jabs. A couple of subplots were left unanswered. Jackie has complained they did not let him make his kind of movie. In all fairness, he was still searching for his niche, which he started to find in Young Master but didn’t hit his stride until Project A. Only a few scenes didn’t have the Jackie touch. When he is his father’s kitchen and kicks his father’s hat off, I expected it to land on Jackie’s head. That would’ve been a Jackie touch. Not even that could have saved this movie.

Shazbot!’s Rating: 4/10


By Numskull

This movie is so bad, I refuse to review it!

Numskull’s Rating: 2/10


By DRGII

Jackie Chan’s first American film was a disappointment yet somehow better than I thought it would be. The story is a complete bore, and it didn’t seem to make it clear when the film was set. It looked like the 1920’s most of the time, but then there was something straight out of the 70’s just to throw you off. Jackie Chan does get to exhibit some of his trademark humor thankfully, and a few of the scenes are pretty good. There’s a cool roller derby scene and a too short yet good scene at an outdoor theater (at least that’s what it looks like) that show off Jackie doing his trademark stuff. Jackie’s master in the film is hilarious. I thought the end fights were sort of disappointing. The worst thing though was the musical score, this annoying whistle-type thing that made me scramble for the mute button on my remote. The shocking thing is that the score was by Lalo Schifrin, who composed the classic Mission: Impossible theme. Okay, but keep your fast forward and mute buttons handy.

DRGII’s Rating: 4/10


By Vic Nguyen

This is a mediocre Jackie Chan film that is forgetable. I know it is forgetable because I forgot most of the plot. All I remember is it has to do with Jackie entering a competition with rejects from the WWF to save a family member. I think his uncle trained him. I think this movie marks Jackies first attempt to break into the US market, but failed. I guess I could understand why.

Vic Nguyen’s Rating: 4/10

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