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  T.N.T. Jackson She's Dynamite
Year: 1975
Director: Cirio H. Santiago
Stars: Jeannie Bell, Stan Shaw, Pat Anderson, Ken Metcalfe, Chiquito, Imelda Ilanan, Leo Martinez, Max Alvarado, Percy Gordon, Chris Cruz, Joonee Gamboa
Genre: Action, Thriller, Martial Arts, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 2 votes)
Review: Diana Jackson (Jeannie Bell), also known as T.N.T., has arrived in Hong Kong for personal reasons: she wants to know what happened to her brother, who she had been sending money to but now has not been in contact for quite some time. Little does she know that he has been murdered by gangster kingpin Charlie (Stan Shaw) in a dispute over a drugs stash he had stolen from him. She asks the taxi driver to take her to see Joe (Chiquito), a tavern owner in the rough part of town, but he will only take her so far; Jackson will have to rely on her instincts from now on...

T.N.T. Jackson starred former Playboy Playmate Jeannie Bell, and her beauty was the best reason for watching this film, because its martial arts expertise certainly wasn't. It purported to be a high octane action extravaganza and a blaxploitation movie to boot, but what this was best recalled for was not any killer lines or bad attitude, but a singular fight scene that occurs halfway through the story. That script was co-written by Roger Corman stock company actor Dick Miller, a rare credit for him behind the camera.

The other scribe was Ken Metcalfe, another actor exercising his typewriter (he appears in this too), and it was directed by Filipino exploitation flick expert Cirio H. Santiago, so these people knew the territory they were working on. Therefore it's disappointing to report this is something of a trudge through some plot points that even by that time were growing into well-flogged clich├ęs, although with the benefit of hindsight some entertainment can be gleaned from what are now the campier aspects.

The story sees Jackson getting involved with Charlie both professionally and romantically, although she remains very much her own woman and is almost dementedly independent, as if following in the footsteps of Pam Grier meant she had to turn such heroines into caricatures. Well, even more of a caricature. Trouble is, Bell was no martial artist as is painfully obvious when she tries to show off her fighting skills. This largely takes the form of awkwardly thrown punches and kicks, and most hilariously the use of an all-too-obvious stunt double who might not even be a woman (their face is carefully obscured).

Fortunately, in that most celebrated sequence it's all Jeannie you see, as yes, it's the inevitable topless kung fu fight. She gets around the fact that she isn't very good at unarmed combat by continually switching the light off to confuse her attackers, but rest assured this ridiculousness shows off the leading lady's talents to fine effect. Such was the infamy of that (possibly influential) sequence that Corman and Santiago returned to it at least twice in later movies, loose and equally cost cutting remakes of this. For a short film, it feels like a long slog to the finish line for all the unintentional amusement it may carry, and the morass of drug deals, double crosses and double agents can become hard to follow. But there's one thing for sure: T.N.T. Jackson don't work for the pigs! She's only out for number one! So don't be messing with her or her tiny stunt double will kick your ass!
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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