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|Index||27 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
*The Things That Turned Me on :
1 The music of (J.J.Johnson) as well as the rest of the soundtrack. Actually all my friends just hate that disco music of the 1970s, but I just adore it. The best thing about it is that it has a fine fast rhythm and an orchestral sense in the same time; it's fun, gratifying, and like no other. But the thing that bothers me is that I can't find it unless in movies like that, or at some TV's shows from the 1970s and the start of the 1980s only ! It was real enjoyable part of this era's culture, I miss it powerfully and I don't understand why so many people disdain it just because "it's from the 1970s" !??
2 Watching (Shelly Winters) as a lesbian evil drug dealer who talks in filthy language ! Ohh I couldn't believe myself ! First of all it's new character especially when you have on the other hand a woman also as the lead star. Secondly it was like watching (Gary Cooper) as a pimp in some movie ! It's a chance to see Hollywood's icon in something away from all the previous prototypes or the polished clichés that seemed everlasting. It was totally a new image which hit me and succeeded at cleaving me to my chair till the end of the movie.
3 The fact that it's technically dexterous, and how the atmosphere looked so solid. The photography, the direction, the editing and the production were brilliant compared to the same elements at another Blaxploitation movies from the same era. Look at the opening scene or the car chase for instances...That was super. True that the script was nothing but shadows and echoes of another story lines at another flicks and TV's shows but Hey, it's the year 1973, so those folks were quite pioneers particularly when this kind of low budget Action movies ruled afterwards, and made its mark on later ones too.
*The Things That Turned Me off !
1 (Tamara Dobson) to begin with. She didn't have that radiate sexual charisma, being close to mannish for most of the time. Moreover how her acting was more terrible than the hairstyle of everybody in the movie!
2 Of course the hairstyle of everybody in the movie !, and (Antonio Fargas) saying "My Hair Is Like A Woman If I Treat It Well It'll Treat Me Well !"..So that's the very much why he got himself killed !
3 (Tamara Dobson)'s alleged beauty !, and the way she impresses every man, boy, Martian in the movie to make them smack their lips and say "what a mama", "look at that" ! OH MY GOD what a bunch of feeble eyes, hypocrites, bad tasting people ! In one word (Pam Grier) was one hot mama who could've been unforgettable (Cleopatra Jones), however (Dobson) could've been fine as (Jones) only !
*The Thing That Turned Me on and off !
The bizarre outfits of (Cleopatra) ! I think the revolutionary fashion at the time just said a lot about getting revenge on the old modes or the traditional disposition along with the black desire to define a distinct independent character. Here it's some way to assure the dissimilarity of their characters or the uniqueness to be specific. So look at (Cleopatra)'s to know about her and the way they intended to make her look : she's wild as a tiger, as fierce as a fox, yet soft as a deer, and proud as a peacock. That strong animally form wasn't only exquisite as confident sexy figure, but also as a contemporary rebel manifestation of the black community just like those days' Jive talking. So the outfits fitted the dramatic state cleverly and weren't too much to a hilariously comic extent like in (Foxy Brown). I just liked the one at the climax's sequence which (Cleopatra) takes its skirt off to fight freely..WAW that's cool breathing one which I bet a lot of audience loved it back then as quite novel when there was no WWF, or women's wrestling on TV weekly ! However I personally think how it would've been perfect with another woman, despite how (Tamara Dobson) mastered the way character like that moves.
Generally every era has for political economical social circumstances a lot of changes and vicissitudes, not to mention how the human taste is that fickle all along to have something fashionable at one time then becomes unfashionable in later time with too many parodies could be more successful than its original ! But nothing can deny that it was (or its parody) in fashion once. So maybe all of my lists' elements here could turn someone on, or maybe all of it may become fashionable again !, or maybe my list of the things that turned me off would turn me on one day.. Hmmm.., or maybe not !
this movie was really weird, even by 70's blaxploitation standards. tamara dobson was one fine looking black woman, but doesn't look she could kick anybody's butt. the fight scenes were really cheesy and, even though cleopatra beats up innumerable people, you never actually see her beat anybody up because of all the quick cutting and editing. in a typical scene, they'll be a close up of cleopatra giving a karate chop and in the next, the guy is falling down. we never actually see any contact. anyway, cleopatra couldn't really kick butt because she'd mess up her outlandish 70's fashions, including big furry hats and tight dresses with spangles. shelley winters gives a totally over the top performance as the lesbian leader of an inner-city heroin ring. her appearance is grotesque, even by her standards and no heterosexual man will find lesbianism sexy after seeing fat shelley grope her pretty, female assistants behind and get an erotic foot massage from another one. anyway, cleopatra jones is a total hypocrite in that she's claims she's fighting to get drugs off the streets of the ghetto and make it a better place for her downtrodden brothers and sisters while she rides around in an expensive corvette and wears expensive clothes. she seems far removed from the economic plight in the ghetto and the fact that she works for a government organization means that she isn't taking it to Whitey, cleopatra jones is Whitey!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Cleopatra Jones is a well made little movie, which isn't something you
can say for all of its "blaxploitation" brethren. While the genre has
its own distinct charms, they often don't include finely tuned
storytelling or high quality filmmaking. This one, though, can stand up
side-by-side with the mainstream drive-in fare of its era. More wish
fulfillment than earnest tale of urban struggle, this motion picture
combines a statuesque leading lady, some decent 1970s karate, the
exaggerated antics of Shelley Winters and a surprisingly strong
performance by Bernie Casey into a tale that never loses its cool or
its sense of humor.
Cleopatra Jones (Tamara Dobson) is a U.S. special agent fighting the international drug trade who is summoned back to Los Angeles to combat the evil machinations of Mommy (Shelley Winters), a drug lord with an explosive temper and a vaudevillian personality. Mommy uses her contacts in law enforcement to put the squeeze on a neighborhood center that helps recovering addicts which just so happens to be run by Jones' proud and defiant lover, Rueben (Bernie Casey). But Mommy has more to worry about than a super-stylish fed. One of her criminal underlings, Doodlebug Simkins (Antonio Fargas), is rebelling against her rule. That dispute is what ultimately gives Jones, Rueben, the karate-chopping Johnson brothers (Caro Kenyatta and Albert Popwell) and a whole African-American neighborhood of butt-kickers the chance to take down Mommy once and for all.
If you're wondering where this flick fits in the "blaxploitation" spectrum, the cops here are all white and they're all basically decent guys except for one racist who's laughed at more than feared and gets what he deserves in the end. This story runs on white guilt instead of black pride.
Though she's the star and the title of the show, Cleopatra Jones is a passive bystander for much of the plot. The story largely turns on the ambition and tribulations of Doodlebug Simkins while Jones mostly saunters into situations, dishes out beautiful smiles and beatings with equal relish and then is on her way again. Tamara Dobson has such a striking presence, however, that you barely notice and don't care.
Clocking in at just under 90 minutes, this is a fun romp that doesn't carry a lot of social or cultural weight to it. It's not going to make you think about much, unless it's the sheer awesomeness of Jones' sports car. It's so compact and low to the ground, the driver's side roof has to swing up so she can get in and out with her headgear or gorgeous afro intact. If you're looking for a gentle introduction to "blaxploitation" cinema or just a good time, give Cleopatra Jones a try.
This film sure has a lot of familiar faces--Bernie Casey, Antonio
Fargas, Shelly Winters (as "Mommy"), Esther Role and even Don Cornelius
(from "Soul Train") are all here to support Tamara Dobson as Cleopatra
Jones. Cleopatra is an extra-special narcotics agent--practically James
Bond and a DEA officer combined! She knows martial arts, carries a
machine gun, drives like a NASCAR driver AND manages to look hot on top
of everything else! It seems that Cleo's efforts have begun to hurt
Mommy's businesses and those of her associates--especially Fargas' drug
dealing. So, it's the mob against Cleopatra. Considering it's only 682
to 1, it's reasonably certain that Cleo will be victorious by the end
of the film.
This movie has some similarities to COFFY and FOXY BROWN, as all three films are about an angry woman's attack on the drug trade. One major difference was that in these two Pam Greer films, the title character wasn't a special agent--just a vigilante wanting to rid the world of dope fiends. Dobson, unlike most other blaxploitation heroes works for "the Man"! Another difference is that Ms. Dobson manages to keep her clothes on throughout the film! The final difference is that, believe it or not, Greer's films were a lot more believable, as Dobson can do ANYTHING and is practically Wonderwoman--whereas, Greer is just really, really mad!! Heck, one of the victims even calls Dobson "Wonderwoman"!
Overall, this film is far less gritty blaxploitation and more like an episode of "Get Christie Love" or "Charlie's Angels"--the music, the plot, the acting--the whole package. I wonder if Aaron Spelling had anything to do with this project!!
I suppose that as a conservative, I should give this movie points for
avoiding the normal anti-establishment "blaxploitation" theme (you can't get
much more establishment than being a federal agent during the Nixon
Administration) and showing blacks working within the system to effect
But I can't.
The only thing that makes John Shaft the cultural icon that he is, is the fact that he was meant to frighten middle-class white people. Without the whole "black man standing up to whitey's system" aspect, *Shaft* is just another dime-a-dozen, derivative private-eye flick (and the sex scenes, effective in the 70s as a play on the "oversexed black man" stereotype, seem pretty sleazy now).
And *Cleopatra Jones* is just another dime-a-dozen, derivative supercop flick. Here, the "black thing" is merely a gimmick. It could have been made with an all-white cast with very few changes.
Even considered purely as an action movie, it fails. Even the cool car chase has some editing problems, and Tamara Dobson, though a stunningly beautiful woman, simply doesn't have the moves for the fight scenes.
About the only really enjoyable scenes are those involving Doodlebug (Antonio "Huggy Bear" Fargas) and his henchmen.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is amongst the worst B-grade Hollywood movies ever made and how on
earth one of your reviewers could get featured let alone win a
competition with this is beyond me. The movie about some schmuck who is
seconded by the USA government to decrease drug trafficking incinerates
and opium poppy field and upsets a drug Barron. The direction and
acting is appalling give it a total miss there 20,000 better films to
see than this one that was meant for midday television in Hungary.
These sort of films will only be used for academic purposes and sociology in Cinema in the future.
My reference to other reviewers was an Australian SBS movie show web site that I use to contribute to.
This is a thoroughly routine blaxploitation feature, with clumsily edited and often unconvincing fight scenes, an imposing but unsexy female lead, a hammy and nearly ludicrous villainess (played by Shelley Winters), and generally a very dated "feel" about it. About the only thing that keeps it going is some colorful "jive talk", on behalf of some supporting characters. (**)
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