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Cleopatra Jones is a United States Special Agent assigned to crack down on drug-trafficking in the U.S. and abroad. After she burns a Turkish poppy field, the notorious drug-lord Mommy is furious at the loss of her supply and vows to destroy Cleopatra Jones. Mommy uses her connections with bad cops on the force to cause trouble for Cleopatra's friends and set her up for an attack. Meanwhile, Mommy is having trouble with some of her pushers, like the renegade Doodlebug. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
One thing's for sure - Tamara Dobson is very very cool in the title role of Cleopatra Jones, the sexy heroine of this satirical blaxploitation flick. That being said, Cleopatra, a Special Agent who fights drug lords and other bad guys in a fire-spitting black corvette, is the only true reason to watch "Cleopatra Jones" of 1973. Apart from the cool heroine the film has not very much to offer, as it is simply not as explicit and exploitation-style as most blaxploitation-highlights of the time, such as "Coffy" and "Foxy Brown" starring the incomparable Pam Grier, for example. Sure, the film has a cool heroine, funky music, action and lots of funny moments, but when I am about to watch a film often labeled as a blaxploitation classic I expect a little more. Namely - a little more violence and sleaze.
Take "Coffy", for example - one of the greatest blaxploitation movies ever made, one of the coolest heroines ever, played by the great Pam Grier, loads of sleaze, brutal violence, and one out of two words is the F-Word. The main weakness of "Cleopatra Jones" is that it is an blaxploitation movie without most of the elements that make exploitation interesting, probably because it was intended for wider audiences. OK, there is some mild violence and some mildly crude language occasionally, but explicit violence, as well as nudity, sex and F-Words were avoided. Not that I need these elements in any movie I see, but for blaxploitation flicks from the 70s they're mandatory, in my opinion.
The film is very satirical, however, the villains are simply ridiculous (and most of them quite annoying). Funnily the main villain, a very annoying, but also somehow funny white drug-queen called "Mommy" is played by the great Shelley Winters. Blaxploitation regular Antonio Fargas and Bernie Casey, as well as some others also fit in their roles quite well. The main reason, to watch "Cleoatra Jones" is Tamara Dobson however. Dobson is certainly not nearly as unforgettable as the great Pam Grier in her many blaxploitation roles, but she still makes a great, sexy and super-cool blaxploitation heroine, and that alone makes the movie worth the time! The film is overall pretty funny, and a highly entertaining time-waster. If you're looking for truly great blaxploitation cinema, however, go for films like "Coffy" or "Foxy Brown".
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