Forgotten Action Cinema: Brazilian Brawl

Since I’m not the type of suicidal numb skull who enjoys pissing off a family of extremely buff, impossibly intimidating Brazilian brothers skilled in Jiu-Jitsu, I’m going to try to keep my analysis of Leo Fong’s unintentionally hilarious 2003 martial arts epic Brazilian Brawl as bright and shiny as humanly possible. However, since there are very few words in the English language that can positively describe the contents of this hypnotically awful motion picture, you’ll forgive me if I lose my way. Working from a script co-written by cult character actor Geoffrey Lewis, Fong magically transforms the Jean-Claude Van Damme classic Nowhere to Run into an oddly political tale of an immigrant farmer’s untimely death at the hands of a cruel white society and the men who seek to pummel those responsible for his murder. Production values are nil, the talent pool void of anyone with a shred of believability — it’s worse than anything you could possibly imagine. The fights — also known as a loosely connected series of demonstrations featuring the Machado Brothers — are ambitiously choreographed and surprisingly entertaining given the circumstances, weakened only by some of the worst editing I’ve ever experienced in a modern-day production. In fact, the entire movie appears to have been constructed over the course of a single weekend, though it’s these gaping holes in quality that have forever assured Brazilian Brawl’s place in my fetid collection of cinematic oddities. Come for the horrible acting, the off-beat sense of humor, and the farting villains, stay for one of the zaniest action-packed climaxes this side of City Dragon. I wish I could buy a copy for every person on the planet. Believe that.