Cleopatra Jones (1973) – By Brian Morton

In order to further my quest to see movies that I’ve always heard of but never taken the time to see, I sat down to watch another great 70’s blaxploitation classic. Now, why am I watching alot of blaxploitation movies all of a sudden you ask? And that’s a legitimate question, being that I’m a fat white guy, but here’s the answer.

You see, we’ve all heard of Cleopatra Jones, Foxy Brown, and Superfly, but most of us haven’t taken the time to actually watch them. So, one day I heard someone at work talking about one of these movies and I realized that there’s a whole level of American culture that I’ve never even looked at, much less experienced. Now, you can argue that as a fat white dude, actually experiencing black American culture is a bit of a stretch, but, you know what? I felt like I was missing out on something and I owed it to myself to at least have a passing knowledge of something that we’ve all heard of. So began my quest to watch things I’ve heard of but have never seen.

And what did I discover? Well, that these movies are excellent! Cleopatra Jones, for example, is basically the story of a black, female James Bond. When the movie opens, Cleo is in the mid-east over-seeing the burning of poppy fields in order to stem the flow of ‘horse’ into the ‘neighborhoods’ here in the US. What Cleo doesn’t know is that by burning these particular fields, she’s angering one of the biggest female drug lords in the city, Mommy. Mommy’s not happy about her business being damaged, so she sends people to attack a local charity that Cleo is involved with.

Now, Cleo comes back to the states and begins hunting down the people responsible. From there, this is your basic revenge flick, with the addition of Cleo being a government agent with a cool car with guns built into the doors (which I’m pretty sure was an actual accessory you could order in the 70’s) and a couple of friends who are experts in kung-fu. This is actually a very good movie!

Made in 1973, Cleopatra Jones has some recognizable stars in it, Cleo herself I didn’t recognize, but Bernie Casey is in there and Antonio Fargas, who we all know as Huggy Bear from ‘Starsky and Hutch’ is in there and, last but not least, Shelley Winters is here as Mommy, the large, angry, perverted (slightly lesbian) drug lord who Cleo has to hunt down in the final scenes for that, oh so satisfying, movie revenge. Cleopatra Jones is well worth checking out and it’s a movie that I know you’ve heard of too, but probably have never seen, well, you should change that ASAP.

Next up for me, I’m going to attempt some Anime, I always hear about these movies when I’m hanging with my truly geeky friends, but I’ve never seen one all the way through, I think I’ll see what that’s all about next time.