Cleopatra Jones and The Casino of Gold (1975)

Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of GoldIt’s a blaxploitation sequel played out against a Hong Kong backdrop.

Often, I wonder if these ‘foreign’ films with American actors set their stories abroad because it’s cheap and it serves as a partial vacation for those involved in the production. There is always a leisurely approach to films of like Cleopatra Jone and the Casino of Gold. The acting, directing and story are not bad, but relaxed. Here the story meanders from scene to scene and wardrobe-change to wardrobe-change as it follows Cleopatra Jones on assignment overseas. This time around Tamara Dobson returns as the titular heroine searching for two missing undercover brothers. Stella Stevens plays a major drug dealer. Ni Tien co-stars as Cleopatra’s side-kick, Mi Ling and  Norman Fell (TV’s Mr. Roper) tries to keep Cleo from demolishing all of Hong Kong. He does a half-way decent job until the last 20 minutes when all hell breaks loose in the Casino of Gold.

It’s actually more like an overly saturated casino soaked in gaudy colors. Tony Montana could have been the interior designer. It also seems to have been built simply to be demolished in one of the more outrageous action sequences I’ve seen in a long time, ripe with kung-fu, gun-play, and lots of motorcycles tearing through the set.For all of its leisurely pace, Cleopatra Jone and the Casino of Gold certainly delivers in both decadent decor, eye-popping attire, and an over-the-top finale, making it one of the most entertaining films I’ve seen in along time. Mind you, it’s hollow entertainment more akin to wild television than great cinema.I guess it should be no surprise then that director Charles Bail went on to direct a lot of action and crime shows for television.



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