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  Black Belt Jones 2 Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly?
Year: 1978
Director: Lee Tso Nam
Stars: Jim Kelly, Chen Sing, Tan Tao-Liang, Nami Misaki, Norman Wingrove, Bobby Canavarro, Chan Lau, Chen Kun, Cheng Fu Hung, Cheng Shu-Ying, Chiang Tao, Chou Chiang, Fang Yuen, Alexander Grand, Jim James, Bruce Liang, Bolo Yeung
Genre: Thriller, Martial Arts, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Tin-hao (Tan Tao-Liang) approaches a group of men in a cargo yard and more or less invites himself to fight them. He wants to take one of their number who owes a lot of money to his boss, Mr Lu (Chen Sing), and after beating them up he gets his wish, for they are no match for his incredible skills. But Mr Lu has something else on his mind, a diamond heist which he stages by having his men intercept a car carrying the official holding the three million dollar gemstone in a briefcase, and liberating said case after giving the guards and official a thumping. Now he has what he wants, he must sell it at that huge profit, but there is one man, an American agent brought in by the victims of the heist, who will throw a spanner in the works...

And that agent is Black Belt Lucas! Wait, what? Well, Jim Kelly, for it was he, was called Mr Lucas in the dialogue - let's be generous and assume he was operating under an alias - but the title was Black Belt Jones 2, a sequel in tacked on name only to his earlier cult flick from the people who offered the world Enter the Dragon. It was also called The Tattoo Connection, a more accurate moniker when tattoos did indeed feature, albeit briefly, or if you were from Hong Kong then E yu tou hei sha xing would be what you knew it as, but the Jones mention made it obvious Kelly was the main attraction, an accomplished martial artist who after winning championships had made inroads into the movie business and garnered a loyal following as a result.

The plot here was hardly worth following mind you, as Lucas delved into a criminal underworld with its own mysterious codes, excuses for breaking out into hand to hand combat at the drop of a hat, and lots of ladies taking their clothes off. Most would be watching this to see Kelly kicking bottom, but truth be told the filmmakers were just as keen on showing his co-star Tan Tiao-Liang doing the same, another sporting champion who had broken into the East Asian film industry hungry for another Bruce Lee. They didn't find it with him, as he retreated into the world of martial arts heroes best known by martial arts fanatics rather than the casual aficionado, but he acquitted himself well, sped up shots aside.

Aside from Kelly, Bolo Yeung would be the most famous face here, in a supporting role as, guess what, a henchman baddie, and after you see what he does to a couple of innocent bunnies you will be relishing what happens when both Kelly and Tan get their hands on him. That said, while the fighting was fair enough, what offered this some distinction were the oft-seen examples of lunacy, so intent in presenting a macho environment was director Lee Tso Nam that his notions for adding a dose of grit were unmistakably nuts. Sure, there were instances of the naked ladies for the blokes in the audience to ogle, but what was the thinking behind staging a violent sex scene with accompaniment by stills of Formula 1 racing cars and a roaring engine as the evil Mr Lu gets up to no good?

Meanwhile Lucas didn't seduce anybody, though he did offer his rule for increasing his sexual power which was apparently to down a glass of egg mixed with brandy before doing the deed. If he wasn't doing that, he was attending nightclubs where they played Suzi Quatro at blaring volume, hanging onto the roof of a moving car in a lumberyard, or busting heads with his expected moves, though he did suffer a crisis when the massed ranks of Mr Lu's heavies got the better of him. Mr Lu was no slouch when it came to the violence either, patently setting us up for a grand showdown between him and Lucas (Kelly distractingly dubbed with daft, butch lines) which ended with ludicrous abruptness, but that was the tone, straining to be deadly serious and muy macho, but ending up fairly preposterous more or less throughout. Those sequences of violence may have been what you turned up for, but you would stay for the big, unintentional laughs. Nice reference to Kelly's tennis career in there as well. Music by Anders Nelsson.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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