Thursday, April 19, 2007

Classic Jiggs: Movie Review

Still no sun here in the Northeast. Perhaps this weekend there will be sun. In the meantime, here's a movie review from the archives. First one, in fact. Chuck Norris, how you inspire us all to greater things.


Breaker! Breaker! (1977)
Starring Chuck Norris
Plot summary: Chuck Norris is a Zen trucker who must save his brother from a speed trap.

Breaker! Breaker! comes right out of the 1970s, embracing the era in all its decadent glory. And the glory of the 1970s was, of course, CB radio. Yes, cross country truckers were all the rage, their language capturing the American imagination even though it was clear from the start that they were making up every word of it as they went along. This movie brought that particular piece of Americana and mixed it in with the Zen martial arts of the great Chuck Norris in a rare beardless appearance. His first solo work after many years of being Bruce Lee's little cabana boy, this East meets West jewel starts out perfectly and never ceases to satisfy. Chuck Norris, Zen trucker John Dawes, sends his little brother Billy (played by a delightfully scampish Michael Augenstein) out on a short dry run. Billy is by the way a dirt bike enthusiast to make the period piece complete. Sadly, though, the youth falls into a speed trap, or a 10-73 if you speak trucker. This appears to be the main plot point, which is an odd status to award a speeding ticket. I'm pretty sure it symbolizes something.

The little podunk town of twenty called Texas City, California, is actually a vast corrupt crime syndicate run by the mayor, Judge Trimmings. George Murdock plays this character with the subtle mixture of one part Enrst Blofeld from James Bond villain fame and one part Boss Hogg from the Dukes of Hazzard series. After arguing with the judge, assaulting several police officers and jumping through a plate glass window to escape the trial, Billy is captured by the evil townies. He gets locked away somewhere, or so you have to assume since you don't actually get to see him until the last few minutes of the film, but don't think that this will get on your nerves or anything. Chuck Norris rolls into town in search of his brother, driving a big ass van with a golden eagle painted on the side of it. I mean, a giant golden eagle! Nothing screams "don't fuck with me" like a giant golden eagle. Incidentally, the van looks remarkably similar to the Mystery Machine of Scooby Doo fame. Chuck proceeds to investigate, and by investigating I mean kicking the crap out of everyone in the town consecutively and concurrently. Somehow interspersed in all of the asswhooping, the director finds time to add about twenty or so subplots to the film. This is possibly to distract from the fact that he all but ignores the little brother that Chuck is whooping all the ass over in the first place.

These subplots include the single mom waitress with a heart of gold that is wooed (nudge nudge) by Chuck and won over to his cause, her son who runs off into the Central Valley wilderness to escape the evil police force, a mildly retarded hick that is discernible from the merely brutally stupid hicks by virtue of a stutter, his caring brother who is the ruffian with a heart of gold, and a guy who randomly flies around in a helicopter a la Mad Max whose sole purpose in life is to justify a bunch of aerial shots of Chuck running around beating ass. You may want to take notes.

After Chuck works his way through beating down everyone a couple times, one of the resident hicks realizes that repeatedly rushing a master of the deadly arts is not quite as effective as pointing a rifle at him. Outsmarted at last, Chuck Norris winds up in jail. Now with the hero immobilized, you'd think the plot would slow down. Actually it kinda disappears for about fifteen minutes - don't worry. The subplots more than take up for the slack, and soon you've forgotten all about poor Chuck and his brother, and for that matter, why you're watching the flick in the first place. Then when you finally give up all hope of understanding what the hell is going on, the cavalry is called in. Yes, the CB lingo talking cross country truckers themselves. Their plan to save Chuck from jail is apparently a scorched earth policy consisting of driving their big rigs through every building in town, eventually freeing or flattening him. Either way really. As the cross country trucker cavalry is ripping shit up, all of the subplots converge. Not only that, but Chuck's kid brother Billy (Remember him? That's why Chuck is kicking the crap out of the town in the first place!) is found concealed in a barn and is reunited with his golden-haired ass-beating brother. Granted all of these subplots converge in the same minute and a half, so you may need to refer back to the copious notes you have taken throughout the film to have the slightest clue who the hell anyone is. The primary theme you will want to explore is economic freedom for the common man from corrupt government intervention, as symbolized by Chuck Norris delivering countless roundhouse kicks to the face of the local cops.

I would have to say that Breaker! Breaker! is the greatest movie I have ever seen.

8 comments:

Ɯbermilf said...

'Cause we got a great big convoy
ain't nothin' gonna get in our way
so come on and join our convoy
across the USA

CONVOY!

"So I crashed the gate doin' 98 and said 'Let them truckers roll!' 10-4."

Carl Spackler said...

i've never seen a Chuck Norris movie or TV show.

Kat said...

Chuck Norris eats transformer toys in vehicle mode and poos them out transformed into a robot.

slappy said...

Ubie: Damn straight.

Carl: Well, start watching them. I also recommend The Octagon.

Kat: Only the true martial arts warriors get their intestines into such amazing shape.

jamwall said...

slappy remember the 70s when we used to "CB-blog" and leave "CB comments" back and fourth?

those were the days!

slappy said...

Jammer: CB-blogging was sweet, but do you remember CB-porn? That was totally lame.

cybe said...

Obviously you never saw Gymkata.

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