Friday, February 10, 2012

T.N.T. Jackson

T.N.T. Jackson (1974)

Dir: Cirio H. Santiago (Trouble Man/The Muthers/Vampire Hookers)

IMDB Rating: 4.3 out of 10


Now here we have what I consider a true Blaxploitation flick, With the first entry to this months Blaxploitation History Month being somewhat more of a typical WIP film now we get down to the basics, However this film could also be considered a martial arts film it is most certainly not lacking in the typical standard fare for the genre.

              The film opens with a drug deal gone bad when a buyer is chased down in an alley after a transaction and killed by local drug dealer and mob goon Charlie. Shortly after this scene we meet our protagonist Dianna "T.N.T." Jackson (Playboy Playmate Jeanie Bell) who has just arrived in a rough part of town in what appears to be China. As she arrives looking for her "Friend" Stack's she immediately comes across a woman being raped and springs into action giving us aour first taste of the Kung-Fu action that awaits. After disposing of the attacker and a gang of his goons, Dianna continues her travels to meet up with a local club owner and martial arts instructor Joe. When she meets him she asks for details on the whereabouts of her lost pal Stack's. While conversing she also comes across Charlie who takes an interest in her for more than one reason being that he see's she can fight and not to mention she is gorgeous, Charlie offer's her work with his boss , Gang leader and big time drug dealer Sid. At first she is hesitant but a meeting is set up between the two.Meanwhile Joe does some investigating on STack's only to find that he was murdered which leads Dianna to swear revenge for her fallen brother.

Druing the meeting with Sid, Dianna does not leave a good first impression, upsetting Sid's Girlfriend and disrespecting Sid before storming off. Later Sid is planning a big deal which sadly for him goes badly and the gang is ambushed and looses all thier goods in the process. For some reason Sid's right hand man Wong believes Dianna may have something to do with the failed deal, But Charlie convinces them otherwise and wants to be solely in charge of the next deal as he sets out to form a personal army of the greatest fighters he can find. Dianna gets word of this and heads to Charlie's dojo to ask to be in on the deal, After she proves herself to him in a fight he relunctantly gives in but Wong disapporves. Dianna and Joe get word of where the next deal will take place and they spy on the deal while noticing that Sid's girl Elaine is also spying on the transaction. After a long chase Dianna cathches and kidnaps Elaine, While she is tied up Elaine reveals that she is in fact a spy for the government and was sent to infiltrate Sid's opperation from the inside. Elsewhere Charlie and Wang are sent to find Dianna so Sid can question her about her purpose for being in town after once again another drug deal goes south. Dianna is caught with Elaine and is taken in for interrogation. While Wang attempts to torture Dianna she manages to fight the guys off this time while naked , which makes for an interesting scene for sure.

Sid decides to give his men one more chance at the big score as the gang heads out to  Portuguese island for one last deal. While Sid and his men meet up with some of the financiers Charlie comes clean about being the one who set up the ambushes on the previous dealings and he wants to buy the drugs and take over Sid's operation. After a big fight Charlie goes looking for Dianna to tell her to skip town and he will split all his riches with her, WHile the two are getting intimate she notices her brothers lighter in Charlie's possession, Now knowing he is responsible for the death of her brother she plans her revenge by following Charlie to the island. While on the island Dianna is spotted by Elaine and she has her arrested as to not screw up the bust she had set up. Unfortunately for Elaine , Sid finds out she was an informant and he traps her in a hotel room while he heads out to complete the deal. Joe however is a sly dog and uses some of the parade performers to distract the prison guards where Dianna is being held in order to help her escape. This of course leads to the big meeting and final showdown between everyone. Sid and Elaine end up offing each other in a fight while Charlie and Dianna face off in a long poorly choreographed fight scene. The movie comes to a odd and abrupt ending after she manages to punch completely through Charlies stomach killing him and then "The End" just shows on the screen with no closure other than she killed Charlie.

 In the genre of Blaxploitation it seems that allot of the films often incorporate Martial Arts into the films, As if the world these films were made in is a place where everyone is on hard drugs and happens to be a Karate expert. These scenarios make for some truly hilarious and off the wall situations for sure. T.N.T. Jackson could be considered the female answer  to Black belt Jones in allot of ways and I could totally see the two films playing on the same bill together for a throwback movie night. The fight scenes which feature Dianna however are really awful as opposed to Jim Kelly who was a legitimate Martial Artist , In this film the scenes where you do see Dianna doing the fighting clearly they are all terribly slow and badly choreographed and the rest are shot from angles where you cannot really see her but it is obvious they used a male in a wig as her fight double which I found rather laughable. As usual all the characters are as sleazy as can be and I gotta say i am never against that as it makes for some funny dialogue and scenes. I will give the film some credit as it is a fun watch and Jeanie Bell is pretty good in her role here as T.N.T. Jackson and she is truly easy on the eyes (Which is why she was cast I'm sure), It is obvious this one is just a cash in on the Strong Black Woman phase that was big for a moment in these films thanks to Pam Grier and this one is not the worst of it's kind....It just is not that good. If you enjoy flicks like Coffy and Foxy Brown and even Cleopatra Jones than you may find something to like here but I think this one is often overlooked for good reason as it just doesn't have the same punch as those others.

Fun Factor:5
Overall: 4.5 out of 10

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