Cleopatra Jones (1973)

‘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.