Cleopatra Jones (1973)

Cleopatra Jones (1973)

Director: Jack Starrett
Starring: Tamara Dobson, Bernie Casey, Brenda Sykes

Special Agent Cleopatra Jones takes on a drug kingpin while corrupt cops put pressure on her rehabilitation charity.

People are likely to compare this with Coffy. It does have some elements in common, being a blaxploitation film with an action girl lead pitted against the drug trade. While Tamara Dobson doesn't have as much charisma as Pam Grier, she still has some good screen presence being taller than most of the men in the cast. Shelley Winters delightfully hams it up as the lead villain and I also liked Albert Popwell and Caro Kenyatta as the Johnson Brothers, Antonio Fargas as Doodlebug, and Christopher Joy in his one-scene wonder as the pitiful small-time pusher Snake. While there are corrupt cops on the villain's side, Cleo does have the backing of a sympathetic police chief which is a nice aversion to the cops being entirely on the other side. The music is pretty good and the action ranges in quality, but the car chase scene in the canals stands out. All told, it's a pretty enjoyable film. Particularly if you like blaxploitation, it's worth a watch.

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