Well, Death Is a Motherfucker Part 2. The great Jim Kelly died today at only 67. I’m sure you all know him as the #2 badass in ENTER THE DRAGON. If you haven’t seen it I implore you to watch BLACK BELT JONES, his star vehicle also directed by Robert Clouse. It’s a much sillier movie but to me it’s the pinnacle of that peculiar intersection between martial arts and black culture. It has one of the funkiest theme songs ever, it has freeze frames on the opening credits, it has girls on trampolines, it has a fight in car wash bubbles. It’s awesome and hilarious and you will love it.As my way of pouring one on the curb I got out an old magazine, the December 1974 issue of Reel Soul Magazine, with Bruce Lee on the cover. Inside there are two different articles about Jim Kelly, one called “Jim Kelly: Super Confident Dude” and this one:
(click on it for a pdf if you want to read it)
You may recognize the starburst at the top – this was one of two ’70s magazines that heavily inspired the last outlawvern.com re-design. The same issue also had a behind-the-scenes article about THREE THE HARD WAY and, in unrelated news, one about The Jackson 5 signing on to make a movie called ISOMAN CROSS AND SONS, written and directed by Raymond St. Jacques. (It never happened.)
Now, if you haven’t seen BLACK BELT JONES, just watch this and you’ll understand why you have to change that.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.