Cleopatra Jones (Tamara Dobson) is a special agent for the U.S. government. After overseeing the destruction of a poppy field in Turkey, she returns to the U.S.A. to discover that drug lord Mommy (Shelley Winters) is tightening her iron grip on the inner cities and is trying to get the drug rehab unit of Cleopatra's boyfriend (Bernie Casey) closed down - and Cleopatra herself is next on Mommy's list of targets!
You don't need me to tell you that Pam Grier was the queen of blaxploitation movies in the seventies, but Tamara Dobson was notable too. Standing 6'2", the high-kicking heroine strikes an imposing figure in this over-the-top thriller written by Max Julien and Sheldon Keller. All the right ingredients are here: a car chase, drug pushers, racist cops, hand to hand combat, nightclub scenes and, of course, the hip dialogue ("See you around, super honky!"), and if it's not deep, it is at least a fun way to kill ninety minutes.
The characters are larger than life throughout. Cleopatra drives a flash car and may be answerable to the authorities, but she never forgets the streets she came from. She also has an extravagant taste in clothes, which, unfortunately in these P.C. days, extends to a penchant for a lot of fur. Overacting baddie Winters is a top-of-her-voice, red-wigged lesbian, who does that typical villain thing of killing off one of her own untrustworthy henchmen. Then there's Doodlebug (Antonio Fargas) a vain drug pusher who has a white chauffeur and a need to set himself up in business away from Mommy's influence.
The trouble is, Cleopatra seems too exotic to be beating up small time crooks - she really should be abseiling into a criminal mastermind's underground lair, or sipping champagne on a private yacht. Plus, you might think after a while that there should be more martial arts in the film, but when the fight scenes finally arrive, they're terrible! Still, it's a pity Dobson largely disappeared from films after her brief run of starring roles, which included a sequel to this, Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold. Music by J.J. Johnson.