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Funky & Fun Gem!
dgordon-131 March 2003
"Cleopatra Jones" was one of the first "blaxploitation" movies that I ever saw back in the '70s. Tamara Dobson plays Cleopatra Jones, a government agent that must crack a drug ring run by Mommy, Shelley Winters. This movie has a nice pace, and looks like it had a fairly big budget for this genre. Tamara plays the role flawlessly and with style. Some of those fashions! I am surprised she could do some kung-fu fighting with those killer platform shoes on. The other thing that stands out in my mind about this movie is Cleo's sexy corvette, complete with a cassette deck! This was state of the art back in '73 for most cars came with the standard AM radio, or if you wanted to, you could upgrade to 8-track! Shelley Winters is funny and over-the-top with her role as Mommy, the Queen of drug trade. Her performance just adds to the campy appeal of this movie. The supporting cast do well too, and round out this made-for-drive-in classic! The DVD is very basic with no extras, however, it is presented in it's original "cinemascope" aspect ratio. The print looks good, and clear. I am glad that this movie is available on DVD, for it's an enjoyable taste of the '70s!
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Nothing can match the 70s movies
Boyo-226 August 2004
Tamara Dobson plays the title character, the best dressed United States Agent in the history of cinema. She's on a quest for justice and for burning down poppy fields.

Her rival is Mommy, played by Shelley Winters, who gives a subtle, restrained perf...naw, I'm fooling ya, she's re-defining over-the-top as she GNAWS on every single piece of scenery, all in a variety of Eva Gabor wigs. Seeing her rub the bottom of her young girlfriend, and then get her feet rubbed by the same girl...I wasn't sure if I was going to vomit or thank the movie gods that created this.

Plot is virtually unimportant as Cleo battles the fuzz, Antonio Fargas and anyone who gets in her way. Movie is vintage fun and it was nice to see Esther Rolle in a small part. 6/10.
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Who was that Bad Mamma Jamma???
anitatanky14 December 2001
Cleapatra Jones is one of those movies that you might have caught on t.v. as a little kid and thought, "Wow, that was amazing! I want to be just like her!" Then, when you are older and see it scheduled to come on t.v. again, or see it in the video store, you arrange to watch it with all sorts of anticipation and end up laughing through the entire movie-the choreographed fight scenes, the extreme villains, the jive "put downs". Either way, it is a cool movie to watch, whether you want to go "WOW" or joke it.

I think Tamara Dobson is absolutely stunning in the movie. Very glamorous and very "tough" (if you disregard the fake fight scenes)and within the context of the movie, she is very smart. Blaxploitation films had their place back in the day (and they still do).

Shelly Winters played a "surprising" role as the villain. If you need to get a handle on this, view the movie, "I'm Gonna to git You Sucka"- Towards the end of the movie, a whole list of actors/actresses, who are thought to be above playing in exploitation movies, are named in various exploitation films. Of course Cleopatra Jones is mentioned.

While the movie can be classified as "cheesy" by many, it does have action, adventure, and romance. The action is non-stop-Cleo is always kung fuing someone or driving the hell out of her Corvette to get away from the bad guys. Also, there a pretty neat scene where she rides a motorcycle up a steep hill to everyone's dismay (if you happen to catch CJ on DVD or VHS, use pause on this scene-it is clearly a Caucasian male, with brown makeup, who is actually riding the motorcycle). The adventure is during the beginning-she is in Turkey blowing up poppy fields. Also, her investigations takes her to various parts of town and she interfaces with various "interesting" supporting characters. And then there is the romantic scene with her and Bernie Casey.

If anything, CJ is a wonderful film to have going if you happen to have a 70's theme party or something.
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Bizarre blaxploitation! Not be missed!
Infofreak11 January 2002
'Cleopatra Jones' is one of my favourite 1970s exploitation movies. While technically blaxploitation it bears very little resemblance to the grittiness and relative realism of 'Shaft', 'Superfly' or 'Black Caesar'. It is closer to 'Black Belt Jones' meets James Bond, especially the spectacular opening sequence in Turkey. If you don't take it too seriously this is fantastic fun.

Tamara Dobson is beautiful, sassy and kick ass as Special Government Agent Cleopatra Jones, enemy to drug pushers everywhere. Her lover's (Bernie Casey - 'Never Say Never Again') half-way house is under threat of closure after a dubious drug bust. Cleo suspects the involvement of a crooked cop (the always menacing Bill McKinney - 'Deliverance'), and local drug big wig Mommy (Shelley Winters as a larger than life lesbian leather queen!). Mommy and her henchmen (one of which is the legendary Paul Koslo - 'The Omega Man') try everything in their power to stop Cleopatra, but hell, look at her moves! her clothes! her Afro! Who do you think is gonna win here?!

A stylish, silly and wonderfully entertaining trash classic. Directed by Jack Starrett ('Slaughter', 'Race With The Devil') and co-written and produced by actor Max Julien ('Psych-Out', 'The Mack'). 'Cleopatra Jones' is a must see for 70s buffs.
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My Crash Course in Race Relations
wainscoat-127 March 2009
I saw this film the weekend it came out in 1973 in downtown Baltimore, Tamara Dobson's hometown. Although that was 36 years ago, I remember it very well.

1973 was about 5 years past the golden age of the beautiful but unbeatable-in-a-fight female heroine. A total fantasy, but as a middle-aged woman now, I still sometimes ask myself "What would Emma Peele do?" I found the early '70's heroines to be complete wimps compared to the late 60's heroines.

So when the ad campaign hit in 1973 for "Tamara Dobson IS Cleopatra Jones," with the poster of the tall gun-toting Ms. Dobson, I begged and begged to go.

I went downtown with an older woman friend of the family, and the two of us were literally the only white people in the entire packed theater of black people.

In the film. the villains are all white and the good guys are all black. Also, there are many many scenes in which white people are killed by black people. During these scenes, the theater cheered wildly. This is probably not something you would notice watching the film on T.V., but believe me, if you are one of two white people in the theater, it makes a big impression.

There was also a well-written and clever scene in the film in which one of Cleopatra's male assistants is lying in wait for the white villains. When they arrive, he pulls a gun on them and says "Guess what just jumped out of the woodpile?" The older woman who took me to the movie was southern. She thought this joke was hysterical and kept trying to explain it to me several times, with her extremely clear explanations catching the attention of everyone sitting around us. For those of you not blessed by an older southern friend, the phrase "Guess what just jumped out of the woodpile?" refers to the expression "N-word in the woodpile," a southern term for an unpleasant surprise.

So what did I learn in my trip to the movies?

1) The term "blaxploitation" is totally false. This "blaxploitation" movie seemed to be about blacks who were superior in every way to whites, both morally and physically.

2) It is really scary and uncomfortable being in the minority.
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The biggest afro in the business!
Andrew Leavold8 October 2003
Back in the Seventies, mainstream audiences still reeling from the one-two punch of Shaft and Superfly were subjected to a barrage of ghetto avengers - Black Caesar, Willie Dynamite, The Candy Tangerine Man and the rest - all covering depressingly familiar terrain. Black writer Max Julien (also an actor, playing the lead role in the pimpsploitation classic The Mack) offered AiP his script for a female alternative but passed. Warner was quick to snatch up the rights, and in 1973 foisted the first black superchick onto the American public: Cleopatra Jones.

The film opens with a blazing opium field somewhere in Turkey. Cleo Jones, hap-ki-do expert and international do-gooder, returns to America to report on her success as a 'special agent' in her one-woman war on dope. Lesbian drug baroness Mommy (Shelley Winters, fresh from Corman's Bloody Mama) is furious her poppy fields were torched, and threatens an all-out war between the Brothers and the Mothers. One of Mommy's uppity underlings, Doodlebug (Antonio Fargas, best remembered as Huggy Bear in Starsky And Hutch) is getting rich off stealing Mommy's coke, and provides a cautionary moral aside warning against living as a White Man's flunky (Cleo points to Doodlebug's white chauffeur, and asks "What next - two white jockeys on the lawn?"). With a "whacka-whacka" superfunk guitar in the background, Cleo does her chop-sockey routine on the coke dealers and crooked cops, and kicks Shelley Winters' portly ass for her wild overacting in the final showdown. Tamara Dobson as Cleo Jones reportedly stood 6"2, and that doesn't include what must've been the BIGGEST afro in the business! Despite her physical prowess, the script doesn't give Cleo any real motive for her cartoon crusade (unlike the later Coffy and Foxy Brown) and reduces her to a smug self-satisfied cardboard cutout. Add the sloppy direction by Jack Starrett and you get a surprisingly poor release by a major studio.
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Not a great movie but deserves to be seen
mu_min10 November 2005
It deserves to be seen because it features the incredible Antonio Fargas, as a mob little boss, with cool clothes and hilarious jive talking. In my opinion Antonio is a great actor, each time i saw him i was stunned by his rhythmic talking and the way he moves. It deserves to be seen because it features Shelley Winters as Mommy, a lesbian red-head old mob chieftain whose angriness and sadism are really funny to see (in my European DVD, there is no scene in which she receives a feet massage!). Plot, kung-fuish fight scenes are not fantastic, Tamara Dobson who plays the leading role is a nice-looking tall woman who does not play very well and does not do really sexy stuff (she does not match with Pam Grier), but i nevertheless had a good moment seeing this movie, and i hope you will too. Cleopatra drives an awesome car, the car chase scene is good, and she wears a majestic afro haircut, and like Pam Grier in Foxy Brown she changes clothes before each scene, it's like a fashion review, it is cool.
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A fun flick!
ColemanDerrick16 June 2001
Cleopatra Jones was an inspired effort, given the period it was made. As a black male, I really appreciate the film. The character is one of liberation, and contrary to what has been said about the film, her job is to get rid of drugs, and keep America safe, black or white!!! And yes, you can do good in the hood and look good as well! She is clearly not meant to be anti-establishment, and the story goes a long way in that regard. It is too bad that characters such as Cleopatra Jones, Foxy Brown, and Coffy do not get the credit they deserve. You wouldn't find too many strong heroines beside Wonder Woman, until Ellen Ripley comes along in Alien.
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A Classic
JasparLamarCrabb7 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
A really witty film starring the striking Tamara Dobson in the title role. Cleopatra is a DEA officer bent on putting crime queen Shelly Winters out of business. Winters puts up quite a fight. Director Jack Starrett keeps things moving at a fast clip with a lot of great set pieces: Dobson taking out would-be assassins at a baggage carousel; a really great car chase sequence through LA; an out-of-left field car crash involving two tow trucks & a Rolls. Dobson is not only beautiful but a terrific actress, very believable despite the high fashion wardrobe (must be seen to be believed). Winters is fun with Technicolor red hair and the dependable Bernie Casey is in it too. Best of all is kooky Antonio Fargas as one of Winters' less cooperative soldiers. A classic.
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Blaxploitation Light
Witchfinder General 66619 December 2007
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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A Slightly Flawed Diamond in the Rough
Uriah4322 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
"Cleopatra Jones" (Tamara Dobson) is a Special Agent for the United States whose primary mission concerns itself with drug interdiction. As a result she travels to Turkey and oversees the destruction of a huge poppy field which just happens to be a main source of heroin for an American mob boss by the name of "Mommy" (Shelley Winters). Needless to say the destruction of this poppy field infuriates Mommy who decides to get her revenge by closing a halfway house in Los Angeles which is near and dear to Cleopatra Jones. This news brings Cleopatra back to Los Angeles where Mommy already has plans to eliminate her one way or the other. Now rather than reveal any more of this movie and risk spoiling it for those who haven't seen it I will just say that even though this isn't the most realistic "blaxploitation movie" ever filmed it does have a few good things going for it. The first good attribute is the presence of Tamara Dobson who was both sexy and elegant at the same time. Another good aspect of this film pertained to the excellent timing of the movie during a period when quality blaxploitation films like this were in high demand but low supply. It was sort of a diamond in the rough so to speak. That's not to say that there weren't flaws of course but overall this movie was enjoyable and because of that I rate it as slightly above average.
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Funky fun with a statuesque lead and a game cast of known faces.
Poseidon-327 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Though this entry into the "tough black chick" subgenre of 70's Blaxploitation doesn't feature the undisputed queen Pam Grier, it's sure to live on, thanks to the bizarre presence of two-time Oscar winner Winters as the colorful antagonist. Dobson, a true Amazon if there ever was one, plays a larger than life Federal agent who does everything in her power to rid the streets of illegal drugs and stop the trafficking at its source. She is shown at the start of the film ordering a massive poppy field to be burned. This ticks off drug queen Winters who proceeds to declare war on Dobson. Meanwhile, a shelter for reforming druggies, run by Dobson's beau Casey, is targeted by some over-eager members of the police force, chiefly nasty, racist McKinney. Also stirred into the mix is streetwise pusher Fargas, who reports to Winters, but would like his own territory. The various factions take each other on, frequently betraying one another until Dobson has to face down Winters in a campy finale. Dobson, a towering presence draped in designer clothes and furs who drives a mean corvette, is not a particularly strong actress, but she makes an unforgettable visual impression. Unusual for this type of film, she works hand in hand with the law, though she isn't afraid to branch out on her own when she wants to. Casey adds a nice dose of reality and concern into his role. He's basically got the "girlfriend" role, but he and Dobson make a nice couple. Winters is way, way out there, abandoning all subtlety. Sporting a series of garish wigs, most of them vibrant red, she wails and rails at everyone around her when she isn't fondling her female assistants. It's a shrill, outrageous performance, but she's never boring. Fargas is engagingly flamboyant. He would later play a lighter variation on this type of role (and others he specialized in during this time) on "Starsky & Hutch." Sykes appears as his main squeeze. She sings (badly) and makes almost no impression at all until the end when she registers fear and despair fairly well. Frazer is authentic as a police captain. He would essay similar roles on "Kojak" and "As the World Turns." McKinney, legendary as the depraved hillbilly rapist in "Deliverance", gives another effectively nasty performance here. Reportedly, he was quite a caring and considerate man in real life! Other familiar faces include Warren as a motocross racer, Rolle as a soul food restaurant owner and Popwell (notable for his roles in the "Dirty Harry" films) as one of Rolle's adventuresome sons. This film remains one of the less graphically violent and sexually exploitive of the genre and, on that point, may disappoint some viewers. Still, it's got decent music, acceptable production values, interesting locales and costumes and some snappy dialogue. This was likely one of the films that inspired the short-lived TV series "Get Christie Love" (a show that was partly derailed when its star Teresa Graves got religion and refused to do most of what her character was intended to do as a focal point of the series!)
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"Right on, sweet sister!"
utgard1415 July 2015
Fun blaxploitation flick about a karate-kicking special agent named Cleopatra Jones (Tamara Dobson) taking on a vicious lesbian drug lord named Mommy (Shelley Winters). Statuesque Tamara Dobson is quite an imposing heroine. Not the strongest actress but she can kick ass and look good doing it. Shelley Winters hams it up with glee as the villain ("I'm tired of being a pussycat!"). She doesn't have a single scene where she dials it down a notch. She's at 20 on a 10 scale the whole time. She's a hoot to watch. Bernie Casey plays Dobson's love interest. Bill McKinney plays a racist cop. Others in the cast include Antonio Fargas, Esther Rolle, Brenda Sykes, and Michael Warren. Less gritty and realistic than most blaxploitation films with more of a focus on comedy and cheesiness. That isn't to say this is something you'd let your kids watch, as evidenced by Shelley Winters screaming profanities and racial slurs within the first ten minutes. But it is an enjoyable time-passer for blaxploitation fans.
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I can't get enough of these great 'urban action' films from the 70's!
talisencrw15 April 2016
Needless to say, my favourite Quentin Tarantino film is 'Jackie Brown'. I enjoyed the action, and Tamara Dobson was gorgeous (I can't believe she was 6'2"! Wow!). I wish she had done more movies, and hadn't died so young (at age 59, of pneumonia and multiple sclerosis). Though director Starrett (who died even younger, of kidney failure) mainly did TV work, I loved his 'Race with the Devil', which was from around this time. He was very good at these kind of films, at both presenting action set-pieces and building suspense.

I would like to see ALL of these 'urban action' films. Though from my movie-watching experience, I find that I tend to prefer films from before 1970, these films from the 70's are great too, and are a lot more enjoyable to me than most films I see today.

I sincerely hope that, like in 'Cleopatra Jones', the filmmakers of today could concentrate on actors' presence and stunts, rather than simply go with CGI. I for one would be a lot happier as a cinephile.
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A total vintage 70's blaxploitation treat
Woodyanders20 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Cleopatra Jones (the stunningly classy and statuesque Tamara Dobson), a no-nonsense government agent, ace martial artist and funky fashion plate, is determined to rid the inner city streets of heroin. Cleopatra's crusade against smack incurs the venomous wrath of ruthless lesbian drug kingpin Mommy (a positively volcanic portrayal by the redoubtable Shelley Winters). Director Jack Starrett tackles the wacky plot with his trademark go-for-it panache: he keeps the pace snappy throughout and stages the plentiful action with considerable rip-snorting vigor (a lengthy car chase qualifies as the definite stirring highlight). David Walsh's polished cinematography and J.J. Johnson's awesomely funky score (the soulful theme song seriously smokes) are both the authentic gnarly article. The terrific cast have a field day with their colorful roles: Bernie Casey as a dedicated drug rehab center counselor, Antonio Fargas as preening, flamboyant dope pusher Doodlebug, Bill McKinney as a despicable racist corrupt cop, Stafford Morgan as an on-the-take detective, Brenda Sykes as Doodlebug's sexy singer girlfriend, and soft-core film regular John Alderman and a Brit-accented Paul Koslo as two of Mommy's flunkies. Winters in particular has a whale of a time as Mommy: she screams all her dialogue at the top of her lungs, joyfully squeezes the shapely butts of her lovely young female servants, sports a bright red Ronald McDonald fright wig, wears a tight leather outfit, brandishes a riding crop, and totally cuts loose in a rousing, no-holds-barred womano-to-womano physical confrontation with Dobson at the end of the picture. Max Julien of "The Mack" fame not only wrote the zany story, but also co-wrote the witty script. Followed by the equally enjoyable sequel "Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold." The Warner Brothers DVD offers a nice widescreen presentation of this delightfully dynamic tongue-in-cheek vintage 70's blaxploitation treat.
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Cleopatra Jones takes it to Whitey!
dethboi13 July 1999
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!
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Almost as cool as Nefertiti Smith and the Teepee of Despair.
Son_of_Mansfield6 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Former model Tamara Dobson struts around in some wacky fashions with one mean afro, taking on drug dealer Shelley Winters who really is the quintessential embankment to protect low land from being flooded, if you know what I mean, in this oddity that also features Antonio "Huggy Bear" Fargas, Bernie "Lamda Lamda Lamda" Casey, Bill "Squeal" McKinney, Esther "Movin' on up" Rolle, and Albert "I gots to know" Popwell. Dobson's lack of acting skill is offset by watching her feign karate in an epic battle with Shelley Winters. Yeah, Cleopatra Jones may be silly, but it's a lot of fun too. If you want grit, watch Shaft. If you want sex and violence, watch Coffy. Yeah, Cleopatra Jones may be silly, but it's a lot of fun too.
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Right on, sista! Stand up to...uh, whoever....
counterrevolutionary11 January 2003
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 change.

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.
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"Whatever Turns You on, Baby !"
elshikh411 May 2008
Warning: 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 !
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gridoon12 October 2001
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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Miss Dynamite
Prismark1019 June 2016
Cleopatra Jones features Tamara Dobson, whole 6 feet 2 inches of her as a sassy government Special Agent burning down poppy fields in Turkey and going after drug traffickers like Mommy (Shelley Winters.)

When her boyfriend's (Bernie Casey) halfway house for recovering drug addicts is under threat from crooked cops, Cleopatra suspects Mommy is behind it all and decides to kick ass with her kung fu moves and driving her fast Corvette Stingray.

Tamara Dobson is certainly statuesque and glamorous as a blaxploitation female version of James Bond but Dobson lacks the screen sensuality and charisma of Pam Grier. However Shelley Winters more than compensates with a scenery chewing performance as the lesbian Mommy appearing with several different types of wigs and in one point clad in leather.

The plot is rather so-so but Warner Brothers certainly put some money in this movie as it benefits from better production values and has good pacing.
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Still kicks Mommy
enojon29 April 2001
While it is pitiful black exploitation as we view with 20/20 hindsight, this film marked another of H*wood's strenuous efforts to embrace black actors and actresses on the silver screen. In today's view the glam outfits look ridiculous, but then if you walked the streets in the 70's, the outfits and characters might easily be a collage of reality. Big afros and "to the max" jackets are all hallmarks of the 1970's American style--especially, the Black neighborhood.

The metaphorical message means much when taken in its contextual setting. Blacks were fighting for their neighborhoods against the onslaught of "urban renewal" and infestation of drug dealers and pimps, which compared to the 80's now seem a 'walk in the park'. It could be classed as some morality play--where combatants take on the role of the nemesis in reality and the heroine becomes the overcoming and empowered victims in reality.

It's "fly".
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Hasn't aged well in several aspects
Wizard-84 August 2015
While I'm not saying that "Cleopatra Jones" is a BAD example of the blaxploitation genre - it's fun to a certain degree - there are some aspects of it that will likely disappoint viewers in this day and age. The movie is indeed well produced, and while Tamara Dobson is a little awkward in the moments involving action, she does otherwise make a charismatic lead. As the lead bad guy, Shelley Winters is campy and a lot of fun in her scenes. Strangely, however, she only appears for a few minutes in total - a movie like this really needs a villain who regularly shows up to cause trouble. Another problem with the screenplay is that Cleopatra Jones seems mighty slow tracking down the bad guys - her investigation moves at a crawl. It's also strange that Cleopatra Jones is also offscreen several times for significant periods of time. Despite these problems, the movie is still worth a look. It is occasionally fun, and it's one of the few blaxploitation movies outside of Pam Grier movies to showcase a black actress in a lead role.
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This is Caucasian-friendly "blaxsploitation"
MBunge15 March 2012
Warning: 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.
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Subtle, it ain't! This is one of the silliest films I've seen in some time!
MartinHafer20 July 2008
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!!
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