Black Belt Jones

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“He Clobbers the Mob!”

It’s a kick ass blaxploitation tsunami when ‘70s kung fu superstar Jim Kelly sticks it to the bad guys and takes out the trash as Black Belt Jones, the meanest, baddest, most afrolicious avenger to ever spread his bad movie cheese on the mean streets of LA! After being introduced to the world as Bruce Lee’s butt-kicking costar in the 1973 chop sockey classic Enter the Dragon, American martial arts star Jim Kelly received his own starring vehicle with the entertainingly absurd action flick Black Belt Jones. Here, Kelly plays the title character, a suave, perhaps overly-confident kung fu dude who decides to help his old dojo naster Pop Bird (Scatman Crothers, The Shining) battle some local mobsters who are trying to intimidate Pop into shutting down his karate school for their own evil purposes. Luckily, cool cat Black Belt Jones doesn’t roll like that, and soon he’s taking on mobster Pinky and his gang of goons (who all sport catchy names like Blue Eyes and Big Tuna), karate chopping them into submission via a series of truly loopy, borderline slapstick battles, all of which are soundtracked by Jones’ bizarre in-fight vocalizations, which sound suspiciously like the highly distinctive “Woo-woo-woo-woo-woo” of Curly from the Three Stooges. But Jones is both a lover AND a fighter, and he ends up awkwardly romancing Pop’s sassy kung fu kicking daughter Sydney (Gloria Hendry, Black Caesar), who woos her man in a laughably bizarre courtship ritual involving vicious insults to his manhood and nut-crunching kicks to his crotch bag. Of course, it all culminates (as these things inevitably must) in an epic kung fu battle in a soapy suds-filled car wash, a WTF? smackdown that must be seen and then still not believed. Filled with amazing action scenes so silly they border on the surreal, jaw-dropping fashions (dig Jones’ funky patchwork denim jumpsuit and massive tube socks), bizarre ‘70s touches (marvel at Jones’ private army of karate-trained, trampoline-bouncing white bikini girls … no, really), and the undeniable charisma of Mr. Jim Kelly himself, Black Belt Jones is one the most righteous blaxploitations flicks of the decade! (Dir. by Robert Clause, 1974, USA, 87 mins., Rated R) Digital