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Black Belt Jones
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Black Belt Jones: conclusion

By The Man

It's impossible to talk about Black Belt Jones without mentioning some of the intentional, or otherwise, howlers in the movie. Scatman Crothers appears in a bad toupee and proceeds to beat up several very large and very menacing thugs at least twice his size. Black Belt Jones picks a bunch of 15 year-old girl acrobats up off the beach and turns them into a crack commando squad before the end of the afternoon. The Mafia hoods have splendid mock-Italian names and run a winery as a cover for their operations, being caught napping by Jones and his guerillas while enjoying a traditional Italian 'family' meal. Jones and Sidney end up fighting the Mafia hoodlums in a car wash full of soapsuds during the film's finale. Jones continues the hairpiece theme by stealing a thug's toupee before dispatching him into a dump truck, and to top it all, the good guys shout "Let's go to McDonalds" after saving the day!

Black Belt Jones is a great example of a film that knows its own limitations and makes the best of available resources. Jim Kelly, Gloria Hendry and Eric Laneuville as Quincy all put in fine performances. As Film Review stated at the time, "Gloria Hendry is a capable and charismatic Sidney, and Eric Laneuville gives a notable performance which is a joy to watch". The film doesn't slip into the common black action movie trap of taking itself too seriously - an accusation that could be levelled at many of the later 1970s movies - and, due to its fast pace and sheer energy, is consistently entertaining viewing. The New York Times may have called the movie "basically silly" but that didn't prevent the reviewer from concluding that it was enjoyable to watch. Jim Kelly's Afro is a memorable example of the style. As for the soundtrack, the music makes the opening scene unforgettable and continues to groove throughout the duration of the movie. If you don't like the film, you can always sample the music for your next hit. Black Belt Jones features the classical themes of love, comedy and tragedy and throws in some kick-ass kung fu sequences for good measure. Sure, the dialogue may be a little stilted and the continuity questionable, but that's part of the appeal. So next time you 'take a hard ride' down to that video store, you know what to pick up, you dig?

All site contents ©2001 blaxploitation.com. The author has asserted his moral rights. Cover scans, album reviews, all other text content and/or pictures may only be used by prior permission of the.man@blaxploitation.com. But what the hell, I'm a nice guy, so drop me a line!