Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold (1975)

“I never claim to be God… Only close to him.”

Cleopatra Jones Poster

Synopsis:
With the help of a local detective (Tanny) in Hong Kong, female operative Cleopatra Jones (Tamara Dobson) tries to rescue her co-workers (Albert Popwell and Caro Kenyatta) from the clutches of a vicious drug dealer known as the Dragon Lady (Stella Stevens).

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Response to Peary’s Review:
Although I haven’t yet seen 1973’s Cleopatra Jones (not listed in Peary’s book), I believe Peary when he states that this sequel — a “sexy, funny, fast-moving exploitation film” — is “better than the original.” As Peary notes, “Amazonian” Tamara Dobson (“one of the main assets of [the] blaxpoitation generation”) is “no Pam Grier”, but she fits the bill here as a larger-than-life female agent; in her outrageously colorful outfits and over-the-top make-up, she’s consistently stunning to look at. Even better, however, is her “pretty and lethal” sidekick (played by “Tanny”, a.k.a. Ni Tien), who kicks some serious butt in a couple of well-choreographed fight scenes; meanwhile, cult film star Stella Stevens seems to be having fun in her role as the Dragon Lady, a drug “queenpin” who you don’t want to mess with. The film as a whole moves quickly, and director Chuck Bail makes good use of authentic Hong Kong locales; the final extended fight sequence — taking place inside the Dragon Lady’s baroque “Casino of Gold” — is especially exciting.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • “Tanny” as Mi Ling
    Cleopatra Jones Tanny
  • Stella Stevens as the Dragon Lady
    Cleopatra Jones Stevens
  • Cleopatra’s seemingly endless array of outrageous outfits
    Cleopatra Jones Costumes
  • Enjoyably stylized set designs
    Cleopatra Jones Sets
  • Effective use of Hong Kong street locales
    Cleopatra Jones Streets

Must See?
No, but it’s worth a look as a representative blaxploitation/”strong female” film of the ’70s.

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