Wow, it’s been a while since I have watched a Blaxploitation and I honestly don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I understand the need for them, as they helped give African-Americans characters that were the focus or hero of the movie, and not just a side character, but they did tend to stereotype them in a bad light sometimes. Now Roger Corman was known for doing plenty of exploitation movies during the 70’s and so it isn’t too surprising that he would do one or two Blaxploitation movies during that time. Today’s movie just happens to be one of them so let’s see what is in store for me as I watch TNT Jackson.
The plot: In Hong Kong, an African-American man, Stan Jackson, is walking down the street when he is cornered by a gang, led by another African-American, Charlie. The gang leader strikes the man, claiming he stole something from him, and the man attempts to get away but the gang chases after him and ends up attacking him backstage in a theater. The next day, Diana “T.N.T.” Jackson arrives in Hong Kong and asks her taxi driver to take her to a place called Joe’s, but the driver refuses, saying it is in a dangerous part of town, but offers to take her as far as he can. When the taxi stops, the driver points Diana in the direction she wants to go and she makes her way through the area, witnessing an attempted rape and a murder. As she asks around for Joe’s place, a group of men attempt to mug her but she is able to fight them off. A woman named Elaine in a passing car stops and offers Diana a lift and tries making some small talk but Diana blows her off so Elaine tells her to finish her business and leave town before dropping her off at Joe’s. Inside, she finds Joe practicing karate in an upstairs room of his restaurant and asks if he has seen her brother, as this was the address she was given to contact him. Joe hands her an unopened letter she had sent and says he hasn’t been there for a while to collect his mail. When a waitress is being assaulted by one of the restaurant patrons, Joe goes to stop the man and as a fight breaks out, Diana helps him when he is overwhelmed. As the fight finishes, she is approached by Charlie, who offers her a job working with him. Diana says she will think about and after he leaves, she asks Joe about him. Elsewhere, Charlie is talking with Elaine, who asks his opinion about Diane, and they then head upstairs to see Elaine’s boyfriend Sid, who is busy making an arrangement to smuggle in some heroin. That night, Sid, Elaine, Charlie, and Sid’s assistant Ming head to Joe’s and ask Diana to meet with them. Diana sits with them and Sid speaks with her and offers her a job but as Elaine insults Diana, she gets up and leaves, later apologizing to Joe for blowing her chance at getting more information from them. Meanwhile, the heroin shipment is ambushed and stolen and Ming believes that Diana has something to do with it. Ming thinks she should be eliminated but Charlie and Elaine both argue that she might be useful. Charlie is sent out to hire some more men and when Diana hears about it, she decides to use the opportunity to try and work her way inside the gang. Going to the temple where Charlie is recruiting some fighters, she ends up sparring with Charlie, who offers her a drink after she beats him. The next day, Diana is wandering around when she ends up being attacked by Elaine, and as the two fight, Elaine ends up getting knocked out. Meanwhile, Charlie and his men are attacked and the shipment they were carrying was stolen. When Ming and Sid arrive, Ming renews his idea to eliminate Diana, as this started when she came to town. Meanwhile, Diana takes Elaine to Joe’s and as she figures out what to do with her, Elaine reveals that she knows about Diana and that she is actually an undercover cop working to break up Sid’s smuggling ring. Ming shows up at Joe’s to get Diana and sees Elaine there and Elaine tells Ming that Diana had nothing to do with the ambush as she was with her all day. Ming still has Diana accompany him as he takes Diana back to Sid’s place and he attempts to rape and torture her for information but Diana manages to turn off the lights and proceed to beat up Ming and his men. Meanwhile, Charlie is talking to Elaine about how he has his own plans to start a criminal empire when they see Ming walking by and comment on what happened. Charlie leaves and makes some arrangements of his own, then goes to see Diana and the two end up having sex. Afterwards, Diana notices the lighter that Charlie uses to light a cigarette as one that belonged to Stan and realizes that he is the one that killed Stan but she doesn’t confront him right then. The next day, Sid has a meeting planned with his heroin distributors and as they make the arrangements, Elaine goes out to enjoy the parade outside. Elaine secretly meets with her boss and tells him about the meeting but notices Diana and goes to talk to her. When Diana says she plans on killing Charlie, Elaine tells her boss to deal with Diana or else she will ruin their sting. The police arrest Diana but when Elaine returns to the hotel, she finds that Sid and Ming had found her contact and Sid knocks her out, then orders Ming to kill the officer, saying they will deal with Elaine after the meeting. Meanwhile, Joe helps break Diana out of jail and she heads to the hotel to find Charlie. At the meeting, the distributors say they won’t deliver any more product unless they get paid first and Charlie tells them that he will pay for the product, revealing that he was the one ambushing the shipments. When Sid confronts him, Charlie quickly knocks him out, then ends up fighting with Ming and some of his men. Elaine regains consciousness and manages to get away from her guards but as she tries to escape, she finds herself surrounded by more of Ming’s men and she is forced to fight them, and Diana shows up to help her. The police arrive and begin arresting the drug smugglers and Sid’s men and Diana sees Charlie sneaking off and goes after him. Sid regains consciousness and goes to leave but runs into Elaine, who fights with him and they both end up crashing through a window and falling to their deaths. Diane catches up to Charlie and when he starts talking with her, she strikes him and tells him about her brother, and the two start fighting, with Diana eventually killing him.
Well, this was about what I expected it to be, and that is not a good thing. This movie was pretty terrible on a number of levels. The acting was lousy, with most of the people seeming to be too stiff and non organic in their interactions. The story should have been a straightforward revenge movie but the whole drug trade angle kind of muddied the plot some. The fight scenes were terrible, incredibly slow, most likely due to Jeannie Bell’s not knowing any martial arts and having to fake it, rather badly I might add. It was kind of funny, as they would slowly make the motions, then speed up the film at times to make it seem like Diana was moving faster in her attacks. This is a pretty lousy movie and not really worth watching unless you really want to watch one of these movies.
Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5