Breaker! Breaker! (1977) — Chuck Norris proves he can drive a truck

“This town’s out of order.”

Justin’s rating: Will Smokey ever make up with the Bear?

Justin’s review: Out of the great bounty of pop culture touchstones that the ’70s gave us was the Trucker Film. I have absolutely no idea why everyone suddenly fell in love with trucker culture for about two weeks — maybe it was C.W. McCall’s smash hit “Convoy” in 1975 — but the movement gave birth to movies about burly men (usually Burt Reynolds) driving burly trucks and talking on C.B. radios as if this was the birthplace of internet chat rooms. Honestly, I’ve never seen more than one or two of these because one or two will last you a lifetime.

But add in a young Chuck Norris — sans facial hair! — and a title with not one, but two exclamation marks, and I suppose I’ll loosen up my belt and make room for another meal of denim and trucker lingo. Welcome to Breaker! Breaker!, a movie which is actually less about trucks than it is Chuck Norris’ philosophy that there is no problem on God’s green earth that can’t be solved by a spin kick.

When Chuck’s movie brother is waylaid by a thoroughly corrupt California town, the future Texas Ranger arrives in his custom extended van starts to kick butt until he gets results. It might take a while, though, because this entire town is like a packed level of a beat ’em up video game. At the top of this heap is a semi-drunk judge in a white suit who may be Boss Hogg’s older brother.

Such odds may require backup, but how will this trucker be able to contact his pals on the outside? If only there was some sort of wireless communication technology that could bring the word of Chuck to those who need to hear it!

I know we’re supposed to make fun of Breaker! Breaker! — and trust me, I won’t stop you — but it is mildly entertaining in the way that most Chuck Norris movies are. You get his athleticism, sly smiles, and endless supply of spin kicks with a topping of trucker culture and ridiculously evil hillbillies. How evil? It doesn’t take long before he earns the death sentence and everyone there is perfectly OK with that.

Eventually, a trucker army cruises in to deliver justice the only way that 18-wheelers can: by cutting off everyone and asking you to call a 1-800 number to report on their driving abilities. Oh, and also absolutely flattening the entire place with something approaching a 98% casualty rate.

Thi general embrace of lunacy is the only thing that keeps Breaker! Breaker! from being an underwhelming early outing for Chuck Norris. I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you ignore me, it’s not like you’re going to have the worst time.

Didja notice?

  • Texas City… California?
  • Seeing Chuck Norris without facial hair is so wrong
  • Two grown men rolling down a hill together, nothing to see
  • “If it’s from Shelly it’s good for your belly!”
  • Count how many times this movie says “bears”
  • Some truckers have pirate and chef hats, and that’s OK
  • Those TV dinners are definitely going to go bad
  • Hypnotism is a good excuse for losing an arm wrestling match
  • Need to get out of a courthouse? Jump through the window!
  • She’s not that concerned about Wesley. Probably should be.
  • Girls find doll puppets adorable
  • “You like my trike?”
  • Donut on a plate
  • So many spin kicks
  • Everyone politely moving all of the chairs aside
  • Punch to the crotch
  • Sure, you “talked” in his van all night
  • You have to track Chuck Norris by helicopter. It’s the only way.
  • And the only way to kill him is with a car crusher
  • “Sit on my lap and tell me where your mother slept last night!”
  • Double rifles!
  • Truckers are always happy to start a rampage with no real evidence
  • Shot in the stomach? Not a problem if you’re Chuck Norris.
  • Why not drive a trailer through a helicopter!

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