If there is one lesson to be learned from Breaker! Breaker!, it is that trends come and go, but the CB radio craze will never die. If there is a second lesson to be learned from Breaker! Breaker!, it is that Chuck Norris' beard is his source of awesomeness. He's clean-shaven in this movie. That's not a good sign.
J.D. (Chuck Norris) is a successful truck driver, living the glamorous life of diners, arm wrestling, and the joys of CB radio. His little brother, Billy, is just starting out as a trucker and is going to be on his own for the first time. On the road, Billy talks to some folks on the CB that give him some tips on how to avoid the local police. Billy thanks them and takes the route they give him. In a gross misuse of CB etiquette, Billy's "friends" were really the police of a small town. The town bases its livelihood (as far as I can tell) on pulling over truckers, fining them, and stealing their goods. No wonder it's such a booming shanty town! Now, fleecing truckers is one thing, but this town goes too far when it messes with J.D.'s little brother! After a few days of not hearing from Billy, J.D. figures out where he must have gotten derailed (the town is a known trucker problem) and goes to the town. Everyone is pretty indifferent to him, except for the local mentally handicapped guy. J.D. eventually finds the town leader, Judge Trimmings (George Murdock), who is a jerk. For some reason, the town hides Billy and pretends to be civil to J.D. That only goes so far, of course, before the townsfolk try to arrest J.D. on some inane charges, which means that J.D. has to karate kick the entire town's population. As things take a turn for the deadly, J.D. calls on his ace in the hole: other truckers. With the help of five or six semi trucks, J.D. is ready to tear the town down to the ground.
As bad as this movie sounds, trust that I have spiced it up a bit for you. This is the worst movie I have seen from the 1970s to date. If you want proof, fine. A fight scene ends with a freeze frame of a horse jumping out of its pen. You would think context would make that significant, but you would be wrong.
Pop quiz, hot shot...let's say that you are a bad guy, given the task to kill Chuck Norris. He's already been stabbed in the leg and has bled all over town. You get the drop on him and kick him around, knocking him into some hay on the ground. Do you:
- A) Finish him off now, taking his scalp to wear in future battles
- B) Make sure that kicking Chuck in the stomach knocked him out
- C) Leave Chuck alone, wander into a horse pen for no particular reason, and start drinking Wild Turkey out of the bottle.
When J.D.'s trucker buddies come rolling into town, all the townspeople look to the sky, like they've never heard trucks before. What follows is some of the stupidest cinema I have ever seen. The semi trucks drive through the town, down the streets, and don't hit anything. They're not even going fast. The townspeople, on the other hand, are running for their lives, diving out of the trucks' paths, and generally giving the impression that the entire town confuses semi trucks with some sort of volcano-related apocalypse. Thank goodness the trucks eventually decide to drive through some buildings, which are apparently no match for the semi truck cabs. This may just be my general lack of knowledge about truckers, but don't a lot of truckers lease their rigs? Wouldn't driving through several buildings get them in trouble, or at least hurt their insurance premiums? Oh, wait...>karate kick to the chest< ...never mind.
I will give this film and its director, Don Hulette, credit where it's due. This is the only movie I have ever seen (or even heard of) where a mentally retarded character dies by a gunshot wound. I believe his last words are "I'm so mad at you." After seeing this movie, I know how this handicapped man feels.
This movie is a failure on almost every level. It is a trucker movie that has about sixty minutes without any trucks. It is a movie about people who drive that does not have a single good chase scene. In fact, a conversion van is able to outrace and outmaneuver police cars in this movie. The acting is so bad that I can tell that this is a sub-par performance from Chuck Norris. The characters are all taken from stereotypes about hick towns. The town has a fantastically high man-to-woman ratio, which gives the film some probably unintentional homosexual/Deliverance undertones.
On the other hand, this is a trucker movie that featured arm wrestling, ten years before Over the Top. I guess that means that I, and all Over the Top fans, owe Breaker! Breaker! a debt of gratitude. Not much of one, but a debt just the same.