Posts Tagged ‘Jim Kelly’

Three the Hard Way

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020

THREE THE HARD WAY (1974) is directed by Gordon Parks Jr. (this is #3 of his four movies, after SUPER FLY and THOMASINE & BUSHROD, before AARON LOVES ANGELA). His famous Life Magazine photographer father directed SHAFT in 1971, its explosive popularity leading to the wave of genre films aimed at black audiences known as Blaxploitation*. Junior directed SUPER FLY in 1972, which was even more successful than SHAFT. Though both received some criticism for promoting negative stereotypes, in style and substance they were on the more serious, artful end of the Blaxploitation spectrum.

So it’s kind of funny that for his second movie Parks Jr. just leapt right into the silly caricature side of the pool. This one teams up three of the biggest stars of the genre to play some random freelance tough dudes in different cities who know each other from way back (no explanations offered), and sends them to fight straight up white supremacists planning a genocidal super villain plot. Other than the horrendous racism that has to be depicted to show what they’re up against, this is all froth, bluster and wish-fulfillment. Which I can get behind. (read the rest of this shit…)

R.I.P. Jim Kelly

Sunday, June 30th, 2013


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. (read the rest of this shit…)

Black Belt Jones

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

tn_blackbeltjonesFrom the director of ENTER THE DRAGON comes Jim Kelly as BLACK BELT JONES. Black Belt Jones is a cool, afro-sporting karate expert and sometimes government agent. He doesn’t have any other first name, but you can call him “B.B.” if you want. He tries to stay out of conflicts but then a crime lord named Pinky (Malik Carter) kills the owner of the karate school, Poppa “Pops” Byrd (Scatman Crothers). The government or somebody wants the land, so the mafia pushes Pinky, so Pinky is after the karate school. Pops wills it to a daughter nobody knew about named Sydney (Gloria Hendry from BLACK CAESAR), they use threats and kidnapping to try to force her to give it over, Black Belt helps out, etc.

Obviously it’s a silly movie and at times it’s sloppy, but it has many of the funny and absurd types of moments I look for in a movie like this. A couple of my favorites:

1. Robert Clouse’s directing credit is over a freeze frame of Black Belt aiming his gun at a dude who’s running away. When it unfreezes the bullet hits the guy in the ass. (read the rest of this shit…)

Enter the Dragon

Friday, June 24th, 2005

BREAKING NEWS: ENTER THE DRAGON is a classic and it’s mainly because of Bruce Lee’s performance. More on this story as it develops.

Okay maybe that’s old news. He’d been trying for years to become a superstar in the US (he only went back to hong kong after being dissed one too many times by the white man). So it was a big deal for him to have his big american co-production. And in the movie he has so much screen presence that they had to build a special type of camera to film him, after going through six different regular cameras that broke because of his power.

Actually that’s complete bullshit, I just made that up. That woulda been cool though. Anyway anything you need to know about why Bruce Lee is such an icon is in this movie: the arrogant persona (his character is actually kind of a dick), the perfect physique, the powerful moves, the cool nunchucks, the occasional philosophy, the greatest theme song of all time (thank you Lalo Schifrin). But everybody knows that. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know if I talk about that. So let’s give some credit to the rest of the movie. For example, co-star John Saxon. (read the rest of this shit…)