TNT Jackson is one of the most politically incorrect movies of all time, reveling in bad taste before such language would be muted and stamped out by the self-appointed guardians of such things, who tend to populate university campuses.
Directed by the Filipino b-movie maven Cirio Santiago, who also brought us Naked Vengeance, Caged Fury and the sublime Firecracker, and written by Roger Corman, TNT Jackson is a one-woman wrecking crew on a hunt for the men responsible for murdering her brother.
This journey takes her to the mean streets of Hong Kong, stock footage thereof but really the Philippines, and wouldn’t you know it, she runs afoul of some heroin dealers! (this is the plot for seemingly every movie of this kind)
TNT, dubbed “too fine to be fightin'” doesn’t let that stop her and lays out the usual ineffectual street goons like this knife juggler (left) with less-than-convincing martial arts.
She meets Charlie, a guy with gang aspirations and an afro the circumference of a beach ball (Stan Shaw, who was in the superior Truck Turner), his evil whitey dealer boss and a kindly guy who runs a dojo, Joe.
Portrayed by Jeannie Bell, TNT has the scowl of someone whose order got mixed up in a restaurant, and the soundtrack has enough flute to sate a half-dozen Ron Burgundys. Not nearly as kick-ass as Cleopatra Jones; the action sequences are ludicrous as there are Amish socials that have more physical contact than Bell has with some of her opponents.
In I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie, Roger Ebert says of kung fu films, “nobody can have a gun. If they had a gun they would just shoot you and you wouldn’t get to go through the whole ‘aaaaiiiiieeee’ number and leap about with your fists flashing, your foot cocked and your elbow of death savagely bent.” True enough (man, we miss Eeb) but what fun would it be?
The suspension of disbelief is a cliché for a reason and works the same in pro wrestling. But Ebert fails to point out…black belts are like assholes, everyone’s got one — at least in these flicks. So might as well use ’em. And goons are insatiable in their willingness to catch a beating, even when confronted with obviously superior fighters.
As in Firecracker, TNT does some katas with her tatas out and the passing familiarity the cast has with the craft of acting is charming in the former. Not so much here. Bit of a stinker but kinda fun.
**1/2 (out of 5)