This was a lot like John Wick in that it depicts a fantastical version of crime movie. But Brawl is a bit more of a slow burn and actually has action you can follow. It doesn't go pure fantasy until the last third, and by then I was already sold on the lead character. The violence is over-the-top and it all feels like a sleazy 70s grindhouse film by the climax.
I was planning on watching this eventually but then Burt Reynolds had to go off die. I bumped it to the front of my queue. It's a bit Lifetime Movie-ish, so it's effective in pulling the heart strings in all the right cheesy parts. I have zero nostalgia for Burt Reynolds, except maybe Cannonball Run and Win, Lose or Draw, but I finished the movie caring a bit more for him and all the bad movie choices he made during his career.
This has all the markings of a standard Itallian poliziotteschi, but the first third of the movie plays as a screwball comedy. The premise is pretty much the same as The Rockford Files: a charming, but poor private eye who can solve crimes that the police can't. The only difference is that the lead actor weird looking and not very charming. Oh, and the plot gets icky when it becomes about child prostitution. Not the ideal backdrop for comedy.