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Cleopatra Jones Blu-ray Review

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“Cleopatra Jones” is a blaxploitation classic.

After destroying a 30 million dollar poppy field in Turkey, a pissed off drug trafficker named Mommy seeks revenge against the secret agent responsible- Cleopatra Jones. Using her influence and minions, Mommy try to get rid of Cleopatra Jones and shut down her lover Reuben’s Brothers and Sisters rehab house. With the help of her allies, the titular hero plots to stop Mommy, her minions, and stay alive.

1973’s “Cleopatra Jones” is one of those titles I can’t believe hadn’t been released on Blu-ray, but, at long last, the title finally gets a release courtesy of Warner Archive. Alongside “Foxy Brown,” ‘Shaft,” “Black Belt Jones” and so on, director Jack Starrett’s “Cleopatra Jones” is a seminal blaxploitation film that boasts a strong, cool, calm, stylish and inspirational black female hero. Whenever she is on screen, the movie is full of life particularly when she’s engaged in one of the big action set pieces (the car chase and climactic junkyard scene are thrilling sequences).

Where the movie falters is with the script by Max Julien and Sheldon Keller. Truthfully, I think both Cleopatra Jones and her foe Mommy deserved a stronger story built around them because what we do get is meandering and paper thin. There are several elements here that could have easily been expanded ala the corrupt cops, Cleopatra helping the community she grew up in, the Tiffany character, and more development on Cleopatra Jones and her backstory.

Script problems aside, the cast is quite memorable here with Tamara Dobson wonderfully bringing the butt-kicking Cleopatra Jones to life. Bernie Casey’s screentime is limited as Reuben but he has his moments. Shelley Winters (who plays the baddie Mommy) is completely over-the-top here. To say she chews the scenery doesn’t even begin to describe it. It’s truly a sight to behold.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.4:1 1080p. How does it look? From the opening frame, I was blown away by this transfer as the colors are truly striking here. You can’t ask for a better transfer.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? It’s a little soft in spots, but it comes alive when it needs to.

The lone extra is a “Cleopatra Jones” trailer

April 19, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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