TNT Jackson (1974) / Action-Drama
aka Dynamite Jackson
MPAA Rated R for violence, nudity, sexuality, drug content and language
Running time: 72 min.
Cast: Jeannie Bell, Stan Shaw, Chiquito, Pat Anderson, Ken Metcalfe
Director: Cirio H. Santiago
Screenplay: Leonard Hermes, Ken Metcalfe, Dick Miller
Review published August 20, 2011
Former Playboy Playmate Jeannie Bell (The Choirboys, Mean Streets) stars as Diana 'T.N.T.' Jackson, an African-American martial artist who finds herself in Hong Kong's deadly, dangerous 'Yellow' district (the Philippines substitutes) looking for her brother, who has gone mysteriously missing there. Hong Kong, at least as depicted in this movie, seems to be an international meeting place for thugs, gangsters and scoundrels of all ethnicities and nationalities, all vying to be the king of the underbelly of the city. She teams up with a local martial arts teacher (and nightclub owner) named Joe (Chiquito) in search for bro, while a drug smuggler named Charlie (Shaw, Truck Turner) might know more than he's letting on about the situation.
This is a bad -- no, very bad -- film that will turn off all but the most determined of b-movie masochists who find enjoyment in the worst cinematic excursions the world of action movies has to offer, especially as produced for Roger Corman's New World Pictures. Terrible fight sequences are the most unintentionally humorous moments in this highly inept film, the most hilarious of which is how awful Bell is at trying to throw an effective punch or quick, only to burst into action overdrive when an obvious stunt double in an afro wig (likely of the opposite sex) replaces her and begins to do acrobatic acts such as backflips and somersaults.
That the action is sometimes sped up only adds to the humor, as is the 'one hit and you're knocked out' style of fight choreography, though the bad guys, who can't seem to land a hit within several feet, or a bullet even with a machine gun, aren't afforded the luxury. Bell's fighting skills are about as nonexistent as her acting skills, as she sleepwalks through her role with almost no palpable energy whatsoever, though some might find a scene where she kicks butt while topless a highlight. Outside of this, the choreography is either improvised, or they copied moves based on watching young children mimic Kung Fu fighting at a playground.
Director Cirio H. Santiago (The Hunt for Eagle One, The Big Doll House) barely hangs this together, injecting a couple of forced nude scenes for Bell as if checking a box for audience expectation (i.e. studio insistence). There is little sense of cinematography, even less emphasis on lighting, as it is ugly, dark and choppy throughout, and dialogue is nearly completely drowned out by the terrible music score. The plot makes very little sense, and most audiences with likely ignore it in the hope of action and titillation, which is thrown often, yet always seems unsatisfying, capping off with an abrupt ending that makes you wonder if they ran out of budget to complete the project before release. That, or they weren't expecting anyone to actually stay to the end credits, which, at least in the version I viewed, are nonexistent.
Trivia: character actor Dick Miller (Pulp Fiction, The Terminator) is a credited co-screenwriter.
©2011 Vince Leo