Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold (1975) Poster

User Reviews

Add a Review
15 ReviewsOrdered By: Helpfulness
Solid blaxploitation with impressive action.
Abyss4723 September 2012
The first Cleopatra Jones, in my book, is one of the very best black action films of the 70's. Tamara Dobson made for a gorgeous and charismatic lead, the full embodiment of a strong black woman, who contains beauty, brains, and attitude. It also helped that her body was in such great shape, considering she was a model. She towered over her supporting actors like a giant, at 6 feet 2 inches. The film was also quite successful at the box-office and quickly gained a cult following that continues to this very day. So, of course a sequel had to be made.

The first film took place on the streets of Los Angeles, which worked great for the film's story, but the sequel moved things to Hong Kong, a location that better suits the playful tone Max Julien was going for. The story here is pretty mild compared to the racially charged one found in its predecessor, moving away from being steeped in black culture like most other blaxploitation films at the time. Here, two black male agents are sent on an undercover mission, only to find themselves getting into trouble with the film's villainess, the dragon lady (played convincingly by Stella Stevens), who is a sadistic lesbian and a marksman at shooting. Whereas Coffy demonstrated female empowerment in excessive ways, this film takes a more subtle approach, as Cleo is forced to go get her fellow male agents out of trouble, and save the day. There are no scenes with a female blowing a man's balls off here, the film takes on a light-hearted tone pretty early and sticks with it until the end. That doesn't mean it has no violence, there's plenty to be found here, but none of it is over-the-top like it is in the Pam Grier revenge movies.

As expected, Cleo gets hit on by her white boss, as well as the various Asian characters who take up most of the film's cast, and who can blame them? The fight choreography isn't the best, but their rapid enough so as to avoid tearing the film down, and thankfully, the movie doesn't just contain fights. There are gunfights, vehicle chases, and explosions aplenty, and director Charles Bail did a good job of keeping the ball rolling. There are some slow spots to allow the viewer to catch a breather, especially towards the beginning, but for the most part, this is a very action-packed film that has plenty of appeal for both Hong Kong action fans and blaxploitation fans, as the two genres mesh together and form a seamless whole here, similar to Black Belt Jones and Enter the Dragon. Cleo gets aided in the film by an Asian woman named Mi Ling, who proves capable of being able to kick just as much ass as Cleo. This foreshadowed the team-up of Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan in the Rush Hour movies, as both trade quips and wisecracks throughout.

The acting isn't the best, but if you've seen enough exploitation movies, that shouldn't be a problem, as even the worst acting adds to the amusement factor. Personality-wise, Tamara Dobson overshadows the rest of the cast by quite a wide margin though, and I definitely disagree with reviewers who said she was best in supporting roles. I think both Cleopatra Jones films proved she could carry her own film very well. The movie hits its peak in the finale, which contains a large-scale battle in the dragon lady casino complete with motorcycles, machine guns, explosions, Kung-Fu, and swords, as both Cleo and the dragon lady duke it out in a fight I wish was a bit longer. It's a stunning sequence that easily one-ups everything that came before it. The rest of the action scenes are quite good though, and the soundtrack as well. I always liked the Cleopatra Jones theme. Sure, it's not iconic like the James Bond theme, but it's still really nice. If I had one major complaint, it would be that the scenes scattered throughout the film with the two black male agents aren't very interesting, and there are some cringe-worthy lines here and there, but not enough to ruin the overall experience.

It's a shame that another Cleopatra Jones film was not made soon after, I would've loved for it to be a trilogy, but apparently this one wasn't well received and didn't do the business the first film did at the box-office, so it's understandable. Still, an awesome B-movie gem like this is definitely worth a look alongside the first film, as they're among the best films of the blaxploitation genre.
7 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Superior Sequel
gridoon3 August 2006
This sequel to "Cleopatra Jones" reduces the blaxploitation elements and adds a HK flavor to the mix, with colorful production design and over-the-top stunts (definitely some "ouch!" moments here). Tamara Dobson is a little sexier this time (despite the excessive makeup), but she still lacks a certain grace in her fighting, and she is overshadowed by her Chinese co-star Tanny, who is not only beautiful but executes some great kicks as well. Stella Stevens, as the villainess, is also a major improvement over Shelley Winters, as she actually poses a physical challenge to Cleo (who knew that Stevens could be so good with a sword?). Overall, this sequel is better than the original mainly because it feels more like a HK action film than an American action film. (**1/2)
8 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
"Don't Race Your Engine, It's Staying in the Garage"
BaronBl00d28 December 2005
Surprisingly entertaining Blaxploitation film from the 70s with Amazonian Tamara Dobson returning as the hustling, Kung Fu fighting, bizarre fashion plate Cleopatra Jones. This time Cleo needs to help Matthew and Melvin Johnson in Hong Kong to break up a drug ring under control of the Dragon Lady(actually she and her casino are in Macao). Dobson must wear no fewer then ten weird outfits and quips one-liners throughout with the aid of little helper Ni Tien(a most beautiful young lady). The Dragon Lady is played deliciously by the ever delicious Stella Stevens. Stevens actually gives a pretty good performance as one cold-hearted, ruthless woman accustomed to getting what she wants. This movie gives you exactly what you are promised and expect: lots of action, lots of silliness, lots of innuendo and subtle as well as obvious humour, and lots of martial arts. Dobson gives her standard performance and the rest of the cast does as well. Character actor Norman Fell is here as Cleo's governmental contact and lends the film some credibility. You got to love the 70s action sequences, the outlandish costumes, and that groovy soundtrack.
8 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Mamma Jamma takes on Hong Kong!
Infofreak17 January 2002
'Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold' is even more enjoyable than 'Cleopatra Jones' (if such a thing is possible!), because it realizes that the best thing about the first movie was its sense of fantasy. The sequel doesn't even attempt to be realistic or socially aware, it goes for trashy Bond-like entertainment, and is all the better for it.

Special Agent Cleopatra Jones (the beautiful Tamara Dobson) arrives in Hong Kong after the disappearance of her friends the Johnson brothers (the always amusing Albert Popwell and Caro Kenyatta) in a drug sting gone wrong. She befriends a local street smart girl Mi Ling (Tanny) who helps her track them down. All paths lead to The Dragon Lady (Stella Stevens).

In the first movie Cleo's nemesis Momma was played by Shelley Winters, a drug pushing lesbian. In this movie it's Winters' 'Poseidon Adventure' co-star Stevens, again a drug pushing lesbian. What's up with that? I don't know, but The Dragon Lady beats Momma at her own game, she also runs a gold casino in Macao, has foxier girlfriends, and is pretty nifty with a sword.

This is fantastically entertaining silliness. Cleopatra wears her usual outrageous outfits, talks tough, kicks ass, and never runs out of wise-cracks or loses her cool. The relocation to Hong Kong and the ensuing increase in martial arts is a good thing. Don't ignore this movie if you're a fan of blaxploitation, 'Enter The Dragon' or James Bond. Great fun!
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Stella Stevens is HOT!
Jimbo522 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
A much better looking lesbian villainess for Cleopatra Jones to fight in this second one of the series! Stella Stevens as the "Dragon Lady" is a two-face: smiling and cooing to her casino guests, but a deadly bitch to those who cross her (including one of her Chinese girl lovers whom she has killed when the girl decides she prefers Black dude Albert Popwell instead of her blonde sapphic mistress.

The climatic fight to the death between the black heroine and the white villainess is totally rousing, and the outcome prompted cheers from the 1975 audience!

Rumors of Stella's nude bath scene are still unconfirmed. It would be great to see!
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
pure blaxploitation
trashgang27 September 2011
Made in the midst of the seventies and the era just before the explosion of the horror genre. Just before that exploitation was the independent thing. And of course black actors wanted to have their own exploitation. Here we have a very good example what we call blaxploitation. But this here is really good. Naturally the main leads are black people but the one to look out to is Tamara Dobson. She was a natural beauty but sadly she became sick and stopped making movies in 1984. She died of her disease which was MS in 2006. Here she's Cleopatra Jones, let's just say a black 007. But look how the feature was made, back in those days they knew how to do their stuff, no CGI or other stupid effects, here's it's the real stuff but here it's effects in the attacks and the many fights. Don't think that you will see a serious amount of blood, no it doesn't. But of course for the seventies nudity was a normal thing and it contains some nudity. But also have a look at Cleopatra's clothes and the way they put some make-up on her. The score, pure seventies, this is excellent stuff. I can't say anything that I didn't like in it. The chases with the cars and motorcycles, it goes on for minutes. You can guess it, one to watch
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Bad Girl - Stella!!
Ty Wolf26 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The large bosom-ed but sweet girl of the 60's, early 70's changed her dumb blonde persona in this one completely as the deliciously evil Dragon Lady. Through out this movie the tension between Cleopatra and Bianca, the Dragon Lady, keeps escalating. You know before the movie is over it will come down to a showdown between these two beautiful ladies. And when it finally happens the Dragon Lady gives Cleopatra all she can handle. Stella Stevens is wonderful as a "bad girl". The final fight scene is very well done as these two deadly ladies go at it with swords. A very convincing fight. Cleopatra's (Tamara Dobson) satisfied look as she takes Stella's sword away from her and runs it through the evil Dragon Ladies stomach is amazing! I wish Stella would have played more bad girls in her career.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The Best
Neriah2228 November 1998
I think this is one of the best movies during the Blaxploitation era. Its full of Suspense and Drama. I would recommend this movie to anyone. I gove it two BIG thumbs up!!!!!!!!
7 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Dumb fun...
JasparLamarCrabb21 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Tamara Dobson returns as the high fashion government agent in this fun, and very dumb, sequel to the 1973 hit. This time Dobson is in Hong Kong trying to find the drug dealers who've kidnapped her cronies (jive-talking brothers Matthew & Melvin Johnson). She's helped out by Shaw Bros. star Tanny, as Mi Ling Fong, a very efficient Chinese detective and the two women have great chemistry. Director Charles Bail brings a lot of style to the film, aided by very colorful cinematography by Alan Hume. Dobson wears one outlandish outfit after another including, at one point, a fox stole. As in the earlier film, she's a very commanding presence. The supporting cast is stellar and includes Norman Fell as Dobson's befuddled superior, creepy Christopher Hunt and Stella Stevens as the "Dragon Lady." It's action packed though not the classic the original is.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews