Battle Creek Brawl (1980) Blu-ray version

“Battle Creek Brawl” is a classic Jackie Chan martial arts action comedy that’ll have you both cracking up, and in stitches by the end of it!

From a stunning Blu-ray restoration featuring the original 104-minute Hong Kong cut – you can order it now from 88 Films and Amazon!



Action movie legend Jackie Chan stars as “Jerry Kwan/Lung”. Having become one of the biggest film stars in the Far East, with hits such as “Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow“, “Drunken Master”, “Fearless Hyena” and “The Young Master”, this film marked his first attempt to enter Hollywood.

Makoto Iwamatsu, better known as the actor Mako, stars as “Shifu Herbert Kwan”. He had a varied career appearing in dozens of American movies, television shows and theatre productions. He appeared as Lo Sing, fighting Bruce Lee‘s Kato character in “The Green Hornet” episode “The Preying Mantis”, and opposite Chuck Norris in the thriller “An Eye for an Eye” and also “Walker: Texas Ranger”. He provided the voice for the popular character Iroh in the first two seasons of the animated series “Avatar: The Last Airbender“.  He also voiced Master Splinter in the film “TMNT”, released posthumously in 2007 as his final credited role.

Former Playboy model Kristine DeBell was brought in to provide the glamour as Jerry’s girlfriend “Nancy”. Bringing some gravitas to the acting stakes is actor and director of stage, film and television, Jose Ferrer as “Dominici”. Ferrer was the first Puerto Rican to win an Oscar for his role in 1950’s “Cyrano de Bergerac”. His other acclaimed film appearances include “Moulin Rouge”, “The Caine Mutiny”, “Cockleshell Heroes”, “Lawrence of Arabia”, “Cervantes”, “Dune” and many more.

American-born actress Rosalind Chao Chia-Ling stars as “Mae”. The daughter of California-based Peking Opera performers, Chao first found fame appearing in the final episodes of the hit TV show “M*A*S*H”, the final episode being the most watched U.S. sitcom episode of all time. She appeared regularly in both “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, and played Mulan’s mother in the 2020 live-action movie “Mulan”.

Former professional American football player and wrestler turned actor, Don Stansauk, better known by his ring name as H.B. “Hard Boiled” Haggerty, plays the dastardly fighter “Billy Kiss”. He played roles in several popular films and television shows, including “Paint Your Wagon”, “The Muppet Movie”. “Kung Fu”, “Get Smart”, “Starsky and Hutch”, “Columbo”, “Happy Days”, “The Incredible Hulk”, “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century”, “The Fall Guy” and “Crazy Like a Fox”.

Keep an eye out for martial arts legends Pat E Johnson and Gene LeBell as henchmen!


In 1930s Chicago, a young Chinese American martial arts expert Jerry Kwan finds himself forced to compete in a no-holds-barred toughest man tournament. Only his cantankerous Uncle Herbert can prepare Jerry to fight and win against the mountainous Billy Kiss.


It’s fairly common knowledge that, in comparison to Jackie Chan’s Hong Kong body of work, much of the action in this film feels slower or less spectacular.

Whilst that is true to some extent when Jackie has to fight the American stunt performers, there is actually a lot of his trademark material in this movie.

Jackie’s first action scene in an alleyway has him flipping over, under and through many obstacles, and using a shoe as a weapon. It is similar to so many scenes in his Hong Kong movies.

The way he dives through a car window and then uses the door to take out a bad guy is something Chan has performed in films such as “Police Story“, “The Accidental Spy“, “Twin Dragons“, “Thunderbolt” and more.

There is a training scene with Mako, with some cool slow motion to accentuate Jackie’s agility as he performs various martial arts techniques and acrobatics. Again, it wouldn’t look out of place in “Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow” or “Fearless Hyena“.

For all the criticism this film has received regarding the local U.S. performers, ironically there is a roller skating derby that features some impressive stunts and falls from the American stunt team.

However, you always feel if it was Jackie’s stunt team, it would have been faster, with some jaw-dropping, in shot, hard landings.

There are glimpses of old school Jackie when he gets to face off against two thugs, played by members of his own stunt team, using a traditional wooden bench.

When we get to “The Big Brawl” Jackie does get to demonstrate his acrobatic martial arts style, but it looks very slow, as he has to accommodate a more wrestling-like form of fighting against the comparative Goliath that is H.B. Haggerty.

His final fight with the bad guys has more in common with a brawl in a cowboy film, albeit Jackie chucks in a few jumping kicks for good measure.


“Battle Creek Brawl” is an entertaining movie featuring plenty of slapstick and fight action.

If Jackie could have had his own stunt team to fight with and choreograph the action, it still might not have been a breakout hit in the west, but it might have elevated it to one of his classics.

It has a lot going for it; a strong supporting cast, a simple but effective story that touches on mixed race relationships and the struggles of immigrants, and the legendary Lalo Schifrin supplies a great, jazzy film score.

88 Films’ Blu-ray release features an interesting audio commentary from film critics Kim Newman and Barry Forshaw. It’s interesting to hear their opinions rather than what we might hear from a fans point of view.

Of course for the informed fans view on the film, there is a commentary from Frank Djeng and FJ DeSanto. Other extras include Eastern Heroes Rick Baker giving a great treatise on director Robert Clouse’s attempt at repeating his success with Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon, with this film, and the obstacles faced in the wider American film market.

Battle Creek Brawl Unboxing

In addition to an archival interview with star Jackie Chan, there is a fascinating piece with the late, great Raymond Chow in which he talks about his long and hugely influential career at Golden Harvest.

It’s particularly interesting to hear him recount his memories of his relationship with Bruce Lee.

This film shouldn’t be dismissed as some kind of failure on Jackie’s CV, but embraced as a light, fun action comedy that still features plenty of Jackie Chan’s onscreen charm.


  • In his autobiography “I Am Jackie Chan“, Chan said that he appeared in the film during a self-imposed exile in America, due to a dispute with director Lo Wei, who was purported to have Triad connections and had threatened him for breaking an exclusivity contract. The dispute was eventually resolved through the intervention of Triad-linked actor Jimmy Wang Yu, and Chan returned to Hong Kong in 1982.
  • Golden Harvest mogul Raymond Chow hoped to replicate the success of “Enter the Dragon”. To that end, he hired much of the same crew as “Enter the Dragon”, including director Robert Clouse, producer Fred Weintraub, musical composer Lalo Schifrin and editor Peter Cheung.
  • This is the first time that the authentic voice of Jackie Chan was heard in a movie. All of Chan’s prior Hong Kong movies were dubbed. Chan wouldn’t supply his own voice in a Hong Kong movie again until 1992’s “Police Story 3: Supercop”.
  • Kristine DeBell had to learn how to roller-skate for her role as Nancy.
  • Jackie Chan appeared on the popular British Saturday morning kid’s TV show “Tiswas” to promote the movie.
Battle Creek Brawl available on Blu ray KUNG FU KINGDOM

Battle Creek Brawl – available on Blu-ray! – KUNG FU KINGDOM

Film Rating: 7/10

BATTLE CREEK BRAWL is is OUT NOW on Blu-ray – so get your copy via 88 Films or Amazon!

What do you think of Jackie Chan’s first attempt to crack the American market? What other Jackie Chan films do you think translate best for a Western audience? Let us know in the comments below, join in the conversation, share this on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter & Instagram!

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Glen Stanway

Influenced by the movies of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, Glen began training in martial arts and gymnastics in 1995. He made his first of many visits to Malaysia and Singapore in 1998 to learn Chin Woo kung fu under the supervision of Master Teng Wie Yoo. Glen is the author of "The Art of Coaching" and "Fearless The Story of Chin Woo Kung Fu", and runs a kung fu & kickboxing school in Hertfordshire, England.

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