Monday, November 22, 2010

Fan-Boy Icon #29

Who's super-bad? Jim "the Dragon" Kelly, that's who.

While it was not his first film, Jim Kelly hit the public consciousness in the Bruce Lee classic, Enter the Dragon. He went on to several blaxploitation films, including Black Belt Jones, Black Samurai, and Hot Potato. Kelly was a collegiate athlete before studying martial arts full time. He was not the first choice for "Williams" in Enter the Dragon, but made a last minute impression on producers when the original choice dropped out. After his film career slackened, Kelly became a professional tennis player on the senior tour.

I am no huge martial arts fan, but I do love Kelly's style. He has a touch of the Bruce Lee action, mixed with Muhammad Ali flair. If there is a better afro out there (aside from Pam Grier's) I want to see it.


The Angry Lurker said...

He was good in Enter the Dragon, never saw the others.

Asrul "iLham" Sany said...

nice blog,

added ur link to my blog list, would u mind do the same? hope to hear more from ur blog and be ur toys-buddy, thanks, dude ;-)p

Lisa K. said...

I really have to catch up with blaxploitation films. Probably going to start with 'Black Samurai', sounds promising (;

Darius Whiteplume said...

@The Angry Lurker - He was pretty awesome in EtD, though I get the feeling no one was allowed to show Bruce Lee up. ;-)

@iLham - I will check it out. Glad you like the blog.

@Lisa - There are some good films out there, though they get a _little_ offensive to modern sensibilities at times. Check out "Across 110th Street" (streams on Hulu and Netflix) and if you like to mix genres, "Blacula" is surprisingly awesome. William Marshall is great. "Coffy" and "Foxy Brown" are also some of the best.

Copyboy said...

Sadly I don't remember those films, just the spoof they did in I'm gonna get you sucka.

Darius Whiteplume said...

There is some really great blaxploitation. A great spoof is "Black Dynamite" - but the classics are better. I prefer the American International/MGM films.

Lisa K. said...

Thanks for your recommendations.

A little offensive? Yes please! ;)

Darius Whiteplume said...

They tend to throw the N word around a lot, but often it is to make the white bad guy look like an ass. As for the Pam Grier films, I think Foxy Brown is better. Sid Haig is in both (he was in a lot of films with Grier); I think Coffy got to be more "rapey" than Foxy Brown, though King George in Coffy is a riot.

The best thing about Grier is that she was more athletic than most of the female stars of the day, so they did not have to shy away from action scenes. Also, in Coffy and Foxy Brown, both by Jack Hill, you get to see Bob Minor, who was a stunt man, but got to be an actor and stunt coordinator. Hill tried to expand the roles of the African American cast, and minor is really one of the first black stunt coordinators.

Darius Whiteplume said...

Anonymous said:

"Jim Kelly having a touch of Bruce Lee flair? Hmm now that’s a big statement, but I’m not sure anyone can really be compared to the martial arts legend. His legacy will always appeal to people and a good way to get the new generations on board would be to use reliable translation companies and update the English used in his films so they look a little more realistic."

Darius Whiteplume says:

Since Lee already had some notoriety, and was willing to instruct non-Chinese students, it is obvious that Kelly and others would imitate him.

I did not publish the original post, as I thought it was an attempt to advertise for a particular translation company. Sorry, but that's how I roll.

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