Comments Off on Black Belt Jones 2: The Tattoo Connection
Tagline: Jim Kelly is back and tougher than ever!
Year: 1978 Runtime: 88 min
Director: Tso Nam Lee
Writer: Hsin Yi Chang (screenplay), Pai Sheng Lu (screenplay)
Starring: Jim Kelly, Sing Chen and Tao-liang Tan
How do you say “beat down” in Cantonese?
“Black Belt Jones!!”
Normally the extra exclamation point is superfluous, but this is Jim “Stomp a Mud Hole in You” Kelly. Not being gratuitous is criminal.
One might ask, “When would you need this phrase?” Because in Black Belt Jones 2: The Tattoo Connection some Hong Kong gangsters have stolen the North Pole Star diamond. Black Belt Jones’ twin fists, Punch & Punch, are on a mission to connect with some faces.
Now, Black Belt Jones would normally care less about such mess, but this time it’s personal. Oh, no, wait a minute. It’s not. He just happens to work for the insurance company that’s covering the diamond. Still, someone’s got to pay. His ire was raised by the chairman of the board’s impassioned plea:
CotB: “Mr. Lucas [i.e. Black Belt Jones], the board of directors have given their approval for you to take any action necessary for the recovery of the North Pole Star.”
BBJ: “I’ve been known to be called the black 6 million dollar man.”
What kind of response is that? One of a man so enraged that he can’t even make no sense. Without delay he’s on his way.
Side Note: Even though he speaks English, Black Belt Jones delivers his lines like the English dubbing. “I’ve been… known to be called… the black $6 million man.” The filmmakers didn’t want his dialogue to stand out too much from the rest of the acting.
Because this film takes place in Hong Kong, one of the “not America” countries you hear about on the PBS, you expect things to be a little different, but these people are way out there. For instance, take Black Belt Jones’ first outing with his friend on the police force; they visit a local whore house. Good a place as any to start the search, as prostitution is run by gangsters and gangsters are who he’s looking for. Thing is, the Madam knows the cop by name, and the particular girl he fancies.
Whoa! Say what?!
Better still, Black Belt Jones orders up some women. He may be ready to kick ass, but there’s no need to rush.
A film can’t be blaxploitation without some racialistic hatred. It’s not just the white man that slings the Uncle Tom discrimination. Take this exchange, between Nana, the strip club’s hottest act and Black Belt Jones:
BBJ: “That’s one thing I really admire about you, Nana, your oriental nature. Shall we make friends?”
Nana: “Let me tell you, I don’t want to because I don’t know you, and because you are black.”
Damn, oriental cracker! We’re all pink and juicy on the inside.
But where Nana might not be racially sensitive, she is a brilliant logician. When she is trying to get her boyfriend, Tin-hao, the boss’s right-hand man, out of the gang, she argues, “What’s the difference between a beggar and a robber? One gets his money illegally, one does not.”
Valid. Sound. A perfect argument. Advantage, and point, Nana.
Speaking of the boss, Mr. Lu, he’s not a very nice man. The big boss usually isn’t. One evening his manly needs require attention, and he chooses Nana. Problem is, she’s Tin-hao’s girl. Even though she’s turned away his advances before, this time no means yes.
So, she starts crying and… there’s tender music playing. Huh?! I was completely confused. Then, as Mr. Lu connects, there are sounds of race cars racing and flashes of a still picture of the Marlboro F-1 car. Huh!? I know that cigarettes are bad for you, deadly even, and racing is dangerous, but I don’t think either ever raped anyone? Although, truth be told, when I sat on the Marlboro Man’s lap one Xmas, he did rest his hand on my thigh for an uncomfortable amount of time, but that’s something totally different.
Tin-hao hands out relentless beatings worse than those received by a 16 year old’s wee-wee. Yet, he’s got a soft heart. After his girlfriend is raped, his heart starts to harden, particularly towards Mr. Lu. This sets up the final boss fight scene, Mr. Lu vs Tin-hao and Black Belt Jones. I’ll not spoil the explosive ending, but I will say that Tin-hao promises that when he’s out of jail, in a year and a half (life is very cheap in Hong Kong), he’s going to the States to hang with his new best friend, Black Belt Jones.
In closing I’d be remiss if I failed to give you one bit of warning: there is so much polyester my nipples got sympathy chafing just watching it. Before you fire up this movie, slather on a dollop of Vaseline, runner’s nipples is no joke.
Check out the trailer for “Black Belt Jones 2: The Tattoo Connection”