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The Big Brawl

The Big Brawl (1980)

August. 29,1980
| Action Comedy

A young Asian American martial artist is forced to participate in a brutal formal street-fight competition.


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In truth, there is barely enough story here to make a film.


The film makes a home in your brain and the only cure is to see it again.


This is a coming of age storyline that you've seen in one form or another for decades. It takes a truly unique voice to make yet another one worth watching.

Derrick Gibbons

An old-fashioned movie made with new-fashioned finesse.


For a Jackie Chan film this is below average. For anyone who's seen his Taiwan films you know that his stunts for that market were over the top and just outright dangerous and lethal to a fault. And yet he's survived them all.So then he comes to the U.S. and does this film. There's one dangerous stunt (which, to be honest, I would not have allowed) and some mediocre fight scenes. When I first saw it all those years ago I thought it was decent entertainment, and I still think that, but the shine has worn just a touch. Not much, but, as we say on set "a scoche". The truth is there's a lot of martial arts films, and this one, largely because it's made by Americans, just doesn't pass muster when compared to something like "Enter the Dragon", or Jackie's own Asian market films, much of which have yet to see the international or American markets.Still, it's got a decent plot, is actually shot in the style of films like "The Sting" or "Cannery Row", though still framed for an action martial arts film with comedic overtones and not a crime drama. It's kind of a fun film, though the action sequences are a little slow and perhaps even subpar by martial arts standards.Check it out once and see what you think.


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.


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 .


I just re-watched this movie after seeing it for the first time about 8 years ago, and right thereafter watched Jackie's masterpiece Police Story 2, and my god was the difference painful to bear! The story (although secondary to the action naturally) doesn't really add much to the viewing experience. It doesn't seem to fit well with the tone of the rest of the movie, and the lack of excitement, interesting characters, or pretty much anything that makes many Jackie Chan movies the joy they are, gives the movie a bland and dull impression. In a way, it resembles a boring version of Enter the Dragon, which is probably the movie Clouse was trying to revisit for a possible success in the US. It's almost painful to watch most of the action scenes, when you think about the movies Jackie had starred in just a few years earlier, like "Snake in the Eagles Shadow", "Drunken Master" or even "Fearless Hyena" or "Snake and Crane Arts of Shaolin". Jackie steals the show completely and the only thing I can imagine Jackie thinking while shooting the majority of the action is: "Really, this is what I have to work with.. let's just get it over with and fly back to Hong Kong tomorrow.." The entire tournament, which is supposed to be the highlight of the movie, is actually the part with the worst fights in any Jackie Chan movie. They basically consist of wrestlers twice the size of Jackie punching with the speed of a snail and trying to hug opponents to death, while Jackie performs some fast, acrobatic moves to finish them off. Some of the moves from Jackie are really impressive though and this is probably Jackie at the hight of his physical capacity, too bad it's squandered the way it is here. Most of the time, Jackie's character is probably intended to resemble a Bruce Lee-like figure with powerful, execution-style moves (complete with the EXACT punching sound effects from Enter the Dragon) and it doesn't really fit him well. The movie actually seems hand-made for coming Belgian Ballet-super star Jean-Claude Van Damme, and I can't believe I'm about to write this, but he probably would have made the movie the cheese-fest it should have been and not the sleeping-pill that it is now.