Breaker! Breaker! is a 1977 action movie directed by Don Hulette and starring Chuck Norris in his first lead role.
Norris plays John David "J.D." Dawes, trucker, badass and all-around nice guy. After JD's younger brother, Billy, goes missing in the middle of his first solo freight run, he and his sweet custom van go out to the notorious town of Texas City, California. There he befriends Arlene (Terry O'Connor), a waitress and single mom and the only person in town who isn't openly hostile to him (other than Arney, the mentally challenged gas station attendant). He runs afoul of town patriarch Judge Joshua Trimmings (George Murdock) and his band of corrupt deputies led by Sgt. Strode (Don Gentry).
There is a reason this film usually isn't mentioned among Norris' other early works like Good Guys Wear Black or The Octagon. The script is threadbare, the acting is sub-par and the entire film has a no-budget exploitation feel (without the exploitation elements).
The film is also available as a RiffTrax Video on Demand download.
Breaker! Breaker! contains examples of the following tropes:
- The Cavalry: The impromptu convoy of truckers who swoop in and rescue JD. Though they don't really "rescue" JD so much as "cause a commotion that ultimately ends up distracting JD's would-be executioner, allowing him to escape.
- Destination Defenestration: This film marks the first appearance of Norris' trademark "Jump-kick the bad guy through a window" maneuver.
- Disproportionate Retribution: When Arlene puts out the call for help, every trucker in range takes the opportunity to ride in and literally destroy the town. Somewhat justified in that Texas City had a reputation for abusing truckers and stealing their loads.
- The Dragon: Strode.
- Dumb Is Good: Of the two adults in town that are nice to JD, one of them is a mentally challenged Manchild.
- Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: Inverted - JD was Kung-Fu Fighting everybody else.
- Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit: Judge Josh, complete with Panama hat.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Arney steps in to keep JD from being executed by Wade, and ends up gut-shot for his troubles.
- Informed Ability: Strode is made out to be a menacing, dangerous brute of a man. He turns out to be a paunchy bully who gets his ass kicked by JD at every turn. Though he is the only character JD fights that doesn't get KO'ed within five seconds.
- Gondor Calls for Aid: During the climax, Arlene manages to get to a CB radio and put out a distress call.
- Just a Flesh Wound: JD is gut-shot from less than three feet away with a normal caliber bullet by Wade, yet he is able to rescue his brother and fight Strode in a long, drawn out brawl as if it were just a minor inconvenience.
- Minion with an F in Evil: Arney, though his cousin/boss, Wade, seems to make sure Arney doesn't know they are doing anything illegal.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Wade's reaction after killing Arney.
- Neutral Female: (Defied) As soon as Arlene learns JD is in trouble, she manages to escape from Judge Josh's goons and call for help.
- No Ending: Once the climactic showdown between JD and Strode is over, one quick shot of the burning remains of Texas City later and roll credits.
- Police Are Useless: The California Highway Patrol seemingly stays away from Texas City. The Texas City cops are all Judge Josh's goons.
- Roaring Rampage of Rescue: The army of truckers who form The Calvary at the end. A big part of the reason they ride in to help JD is that It's Personal.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The main force of the plot, though JD is a bit light on the "roaring" part.
- Smug Snake: Judge Josh.
- Soiled City on a Hill: Texas City. The movie ends with the town destroyed.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The only named character whose fate we know for sure is Arney. See No Ending.
- Wretched Hive: Texas City apparently runs on moonshine running and truck hijacking. They were openly boasting about it in a town hall meeting JD walks in on.