Somewhere, in Southern California, there’s a small town called Texas City. Texas City is run by a corrupt judge (George Murdock) and a sadistic cop (Don Gentry). The residents of Texas City make their money by arresting truckers, forcing them to pay huge fines, and selling their rigs to the savage yard. But they made a mistake when they arrested a trucker named Billy Dawes (Michael Augensten). Billy has an older brother who is also a trucker. His name is J.D. and he’s Chuck Norris!
After appearing as an “honorable” villain in Bruce Lee’s The Way of the Dragon and providing martial arts training to the Hollywood elite, Chuck Norris made his starring debut in Breaker! Breaker! This is one of those weird only in the 70s hybrid movies. Mix in a little Deliverance, add a little Smokey and the Bandit, and then toss in Chuck Norris doing a roundhouse kick. Shake it up and you get Breaker! Breaker!
The main problem with Breaker! Breaker! is that it does not really know what to do with Chuck Norris. While he’s stil a step above someone like Steven Seagal, Chuck has never exactly been a great actor but, in Breaker! Breaker!, his inexperience in front of the camera is especially noticeable. Chuck is at his best when he’s fighting but he spends too much of Breaker! Breaker! sitting behind the wheel of either his truck or his super groovy 70s van (check out the eagle painted on the side) and doing CB radio patter. When he does fight, his opponents are all rednecks who, unlike Bruce Lee in Way of the Dragon, don’t stand a chance against him.
I did like the movie’s ending, in which an army of big rigs descend on Texas City. Don’t mess with truckers!
Two final notes: Breaker! Breaker! was edited by Steven Zaillian, who 16 years later, would win an Oscar for writing Schindler’s List. Also, keep an eye out for Eraserhead himself, Jack Nance, as one of J.D.’s friends.