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Breaker! Breaker!

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    Mark Tolch
    Senior Member

  • Breaker! Breaker!



    Released By: Olive Films
    Released On: March 22, 2016
    Director: Don Hulette
    Cast: Chuck Norris, George Murdock, Jack Nance
    Year: 1977

    The Movie:

    A few years before Chuck Norris would become a household name courtesy of a SLEW of badass 80's action flicks, he was largely known just as that guy with the hairy back that Bruce Lee beat the shit out of in the Coliseum. But in a move that would prove to be ahead of the curve, beating out similarly-themed filmes like CONVOY, 1977's BREAKER! BREAKER! finds Chuck starting down the path to the spin-kicking, golden-maned god that he would become, starring as trucker John David "JD" Dawes. Back in town from a long haul to Alaska, JD is a man with no worries; he's got good friends, like fellow driver Burton (Jack Nance, who would also appear in Eraserhead that same year), a solid relationship with his dirt-biking kid brother, Billy, and he's also the truck stop arm-wrestling champion, defeating all comers, even massive challengers who travel with rough gangs who dress like the village people. JD also has a pretty sweet van (more on that in a minute), and a denim wardrobe that compliments his flaxen locks and strapping, athletic build.

    While all seems to be rosy in JD's world, however, there are some sinister forces at play, a fact that JD is forced to confront when he finds out his good buddy Jack has recently been beaten to a pulp for no good reason. Piecing the facts together, JD finds out that a newly chartered town, Texas City, California, has been diverting big rigs into speed traps, courtesy of some corrupt cops and the crooked city founder, Judge Joshua Trimmings (George Murdock). Jack's mistake in this case was resisting the phony arrest and refusing to let Trimmings and his good ol' boys take a cut of the load he was carrying, one of the common practices that keeps the economy of Texas City stimulated. JD is concerned by this, but it's not really his problem....right? WRONG.

    It turns out Billy, an aspiring trucker like his big brother, has recently disappeared with a load of TV dinners, and chatter from other drivers on the CB indicates that Billy was last known to be heading straight for Texas City...the victim of Judge Trimmings' bad news bears. Not one to stand for such corruption, JD dusts off his denim and loads up his sweet-ass sky-blue 4x4 van with oversized tires and an airbrushed eagle...like really, the whole eagle, wings wrapping around and all....and heads to Texas City for some goddamn answers. But despite the protested innocence of the townspeople and the Judge himself, JD is convinced that there's foul play afoot when he and his van barely escape an attempt on his life, and the same TV dinners that Billy was hauling start turning up around town. Even with the help of the sympathetic and beautiful Arlene, who JD takes the time to make sweet, sweet love to in the back of the Eagle Van, it's going to be an uphill battle to rescue Billy; but if anyone stands the chance of beating the almighty shit out of an entire town (oh, yeah, JD is also a karate expert) and walking away intact, it's this guy.

    I'll admit, with all modesty, that the above description makes BREAKER! BREAKER! sound like a fun night at the movies, and it certainly starts that way. That is to say, it's pretty much indicative of the majority of Chuck's films to come; bad stuff happens, innocent people are at risk, character played by Chuck gets involved, bloody carnage ensues, Chuck gets laid; and that's not a bad thing at all. But even with the running time sitting at a mere 85 minutes, BREAKER! BREAKER! overstays it's welcome, feeling like an overlong episode of The Dukes of Hazzard, complete with a banjo-laden soundtrack. Once JD gets to town, taking care of business should be a fairly simple matter; kick a bunch of asses, grab brother, leave with girl. Granted, that makes for a pretty short film, so the writers have instead decided to drag everything out, and that's not a good thing at all. A scene in a junkyard, with JD trying to creep around while a helicopter circles overhead is especially painful, and things that make zero sense happen a whole lot. And then happen again. Again, granted, if the things that did make sense happened....shorter film.

    All of that being said, if you like to see Chuck Norris throw kicks at people in both slow motion and normal speed, the film does deliver, and these moments do compensate for some pretty bad acting across the board. And the conclusion of the movie is pretty damn fantastic. In a perfect world full of perfect films, BREAKER! BREAKER! would be about 45 minutes long, but that's why they invented the fast forward button. At any rate, it's a necessary stepping stone that gets us from WAY OF THE DRAGON to A FORCE OF ONE...THE OCTAGON...and countless other awesome Chuck Norris vehicles. And speaking of vehicles, that van....you've got to see that van.

    Video/Audio/Extras:


    Olive brings BREAKER! BREAKER! to blu-ray in a 1.85:1 AVC-encoded transfer that looks decent, about what you would expect. Minor instances of dirt and debris pop up, but there's nothing here to take you out of the film. Detail is nicely rendered, grain is abundant, and the gaudy brown and yellow colour palette of the 70's thrives with no compression issues or other glitches.

    The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track is not the greatest...I'd describe a good chunk of it as "harsh"...but the dialogue is consistently audible and the rest of the soundtrack is framed nicely in the stereo soundfield.

    There are no subtitles on the disc, and a Trailer is the lone extra.

    The Final Word:

    Never let it be said that I am not a fan of trashy action flicks. BREAKER! BREAKER!, aside from providing an example in the evolution of the Chuck, is a little too lacking in substance for my liking. Your mileage may vary.




    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!





















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