The Big Brawl (1980)
AKA Battle Creek Brawl
Starring Jackie Chan, José Ferrer, Kristine DeBell, Mako, Ron Max, David Sheiner, Rosalind Chao, Lenny Montana, Pat E. Johnson, Mary Ellen O’Neill, H.B. Haggerty, Chao Li Chi, Joycelyne Lew
Directed by Robert Clouse
It’s ironic that Golden Harvest would send Jackie Chan to America in an attempt to recreate Bruce Lee’s success with Enter the Dragon, just as Jackie was finally gaining major notoriety on his own terms with films like The Fearless Hyena and The Young Master. After fighting to break free from Lo Wei’s control and desire to make him the next Bruce Lee, he landed in a more well-funded version of the same dream. Unfortunately, this was never Jackie’s dream. The Big Brawl is the resulting film and it’s definitely not the best way to introduce Jackie Chan to the American audience.
The story casts Jackie as Jerry Kwan, the son of a restaurant owner who is being bullied by some mobsters. Jerry knows kung fu and wants to show ’em what for, but his father forbids him from fighting. The mobsters catch wind of Jerry’s martial prowess, though, and they hatch a plan to force him into fighting for them in the Battle Creek Brawl in Texas. Why? I don’t honestly know, but that’s the plot. It’s not much of one, but that’s all you get. Oh, and just because there weren’t enough clichés, the mobsters also use kidnapping Jerry’s loved ones to force him into doing these things he otherwise wouldn’t be doing.