In the past I’ve kept away from a lot of Jackie Chan’s American films as they pretty much never do him justice. There have been the odd exception with the bigger budget films like the Rush Hour and Shanghai series of films, which are actually pretty good, but other than that I do try to avoid them like the plague!
However, often while watching the special features of his great 80’s and early 90’s Hong Kong films, they talk about his first foray into the American market with his film Battle Creek Brawl. This was his attempt at starring in a Hollywood project aiming to make him a star outside of Asia where there was no one bigger than himself at the time. So when I had the chance to finally see the film I had long heard about I thought, ‘why not?’
“Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Jackie Chan’s character, Jerry Kwan leads a very easy-going life with an attractive, girlfriend, Nancy, and his family. His father owns a restaurant, and one day he is threatened by the mob to pay a part of his profits.
As the mob exits, Jackie enters the scene and rushes out the door to catch up with them. He answers back by taking them on and eventually catches the eye of the mob for his unique and talented fighting abilities. In effect, he is forced to join the Battle Creek Brawl fight in Texas.”
Well, there’s one thing I’ll give this film, and that is at least the westerners could act decently enough, as often the actors they find to fill western roles in Jackie’s Hong Kong films are woeful! But sadly with the better acting came a lack of decent action, with Jackie’s antics only slightly showcasing what he’s capable of.
Also his frustration of having a lack of control on the film can be seen clearly on screen when you compare his action skills to those in his own directed Hong Kong films. So, for me, this does deserve to been seen as a bit of a letdown for him at his first attempt to crack the American market.
6 out of 10 from me.