Black Belt Jones (1974)

Black Belt Jones (1974)

“Let’s fix his cavities.”

A Black martial arts expert (Jim Kelly) partners with the daughter (Gloria Hendry) of a slain studio owner (Scatman Crothers) in confronting the Mafia bosses and gangsters who killed him.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • African-Americans
  • Gangsters
  • Martial Arts

After directing Jim Kelly in a supporting role for Enter the Dragon (1973), Richard Strouse helmed this combination Blaxploitation-kung fu flick specifically designed to bank on both markets. It’s effectively filmed, and offers up exactly what it promises:

… albeit it with far too many punches to the groin (though I’m guessing audiences were fine with that). The entire affair ends with a massive fight-out in a car wash, leading to very sudsy adversaries.

Gloria Hendry — perhaps best known to film fanatics for her role in Live and Let Die (1973) — is a fine and feisty female companion for Kelly, who doesn’t seem to exude much on-screen charisma other than through his fighting. See below for my favorite scene between the two of them (involving a request to do the dishes).

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Good use of location shooting in Los Angeles

  • Best response EVER by a woman to a man telling her: “Just do those dishes or something.”

Must See?
No, but it’s worth a one-time look as a solid example of Blaxploitation mixed with “kung fu”.


One thought on “Black Belt Jones (1974)

  1. First viewing (2/5/21). Not must -see; only for blaxploitation / martial arts fans.

    Outside of a few details, this is by-the-numbers stuff for fans. It has some lively dialogue (“Wesley! I’m gonna slap the black off you!”; “Who else wants to sing soprano?!”; “You mean a *broad* did this?!”).

    The addition of Hendry brings Pam Grier to mind and she shows she’s worthy in that competition arena.

    Overall, it’s filmed and edited well and lively-enough in delivering the goods in terms of genre content. Action pretty much dominates the last half-hour, though a slight ‘love angle’ segue slows things up a bit.

Leave a Reply