Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold DVD Review - -

Feature 7.5
Video 8.0
Audio 7.0
Special Features   0.0
Total 7.0
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Running Time:
92 minutes
Rick Thorpe


Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold

Sometimes nothing beats a good 70s era blaxpoitation movie for sheer entertainment. Like the "80s action movie" this type of movie has been consigned to history, usually as a more embarassing form of entertainment than a revered institution. If anything, these movies need to be more widely available as aside from being commentaries on the treatment of the urban black population in america in the 70s, they also provide some genuinely fun movie experiences that deliver great enrtainment.

This movie is a sequel to the original Cleopatra Jones movie from a few years earlier which for all intents and purposes is a direct result of the popularity of the Pam Grier starred Coffy movie (and later Foxy Brown) that featured a sexy and sassy black woman taking the law into her own hands, with venegeance on her mind.

Where Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold differs is that it attempts to be a little more accessible to a wider audience. Sure, theres drugs,  violence and language, but its not nearly as extreme as the earlier Pam Grier movies. Cleo (played by the amazonianly statuesque Tamara Dobson) is portrayed as a fun loving fashion plate who'll get the job done by her own rules, but always seems playful and rarely serious, even in the most threatening scenes. It certainly gives her a lot of charm, but also ensures the mood never gets too suspenseful for the duration of the movie.

The plot involves undercover agents attempting to expose heroin cartel's in Asia, but it goes horribly, so Cleopatra Jones is brought in to sort the situation out and get to the bottom of stopping the evil heroin cartels once and for all.

The plot is as it sounds: wafer thin and reasonably unrealistic in how it develops. But thats not what you're watching it for. You came for the action, the 70s dialogue and the incredibly brutal 70s fashion. This filme delivers all of these "must haves" in droves and theres very few scenes in the entire movie that aren't entertaining. The setting for the movie is Hong Kong, so expect lots of sweeping vistas of Hong Kong's high rises, street markets and boat dotted harbour, plus this also means you get a very cute private detective, Mi Ling Fong (played very well by Ni Tien) who's street smarts and local knowledge aid Cleopatara Jones immeasurably. The cast has a surprise inclusion of Stella Stevens as the villianess of the piece and Norman Fell plays the atypical "by the book" law man who is constantly being riled up by Cleo's own methods of investigation.

Its hard not to like this movie, I thought it was a great piece of cinema that was very well produced and photographed, When put into perspective with the time it was made in. Defintiely a keep your brain in neutral and enjoy the ride type movie, if there ever was one.

Video: I was very surprised with the quality of the video. The 2.35:1 enhanced transfer is very detailed and only has minor dirt and scratches as obvious flaws. The colour is vibrant and the night scenes, while not super clear, are still very watchable and do exceedingly well at showing off the action on screen. Too often these movies get absoloutely dire transfers, but its great see one transferred so well, you'll definitely see every sequin and detail in all of Cleo's incredibly over the top wardrobe. Based on the source material, this is an exceptional transfer.

Audio: As expected the sound isn't exactly of reference quality. The audio generally sounds very thin with very little dynamic range. Based off the  source material, this is no surprise. Whats here is serviceable however and all the dialogue is nice and clear with only a few minor inconsistencies. I doubt there'll ever be a DTS remastering of Celopatra Jones and the Casino Of Gold so enjoy whats on offer here as its good quality and an accurate rendition of how it would have sounded in cinemas  at the time it was released.

Extras: Zero, interactive menus and scene access don't constitute as extras I'm afraid. Its a shame there isn't a commentary, as they are usually fascinating recollections of the times the film was made it, Foxy Brown (region 1) benefitted greatly from an excellent and informative commentary from director Jack Hill. As it stands, no extras are afforded on this release.

I'd recommend this film to anyone looking for a great piece of 70s action. It differs from a lot of traditional blaxpoitation films due to its setting, so theres a more pronounced martial arts angle to the action. This Eastern flavour makes Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold quite an oddity, and makes for some great B movie style 70s action.


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