Black Samurai (1977): Breakdown by Rutledal
A secret agent has to save his girlfriend from a witch doctor.
This low budget blaxploitation film from low-budget exploitation king Al Adamson kicks off as a young Asian woman is kidnapped by a witch doctor/drug lord in order to blackmail her father. Unfortunately for the drug lord, she is also the girlfriend of D.R.A.G.O.N. agent Robert Sand. What is D.R.A.G.O.N. you ask? Well in the movie it stands for Defense Reserve Agency Guardian Of Nations, but really it’s just a cheap play on the fact that star Jim Kelly was in Enter the Dragon.
Sand sets out to find and destroy the drug lord and save the girl. And heck, you know where the story goes from there since this basically is a low budget James Bond rip-off. A secret agent brings down an evil madman and saves a foxy lady in the process. It also features gadgets like a jetpack, a low-budget Bond-esque title sequence and no less than five midget henchmen. I honestly don’t see why this was not turned into a series of Bond rip-offs because if there ever was a good starting point for a black James Bond, this was it.
So you might think this movie is pretty good right now. Well that is not exactly the case. The film has an IMDb rating of 2.2, and although I think that is undeservedly low, the movie is not very good. There is a lot of filler footage to make up for little plot, and the movie still only runs in at 82 minutes. Still, it’s a lot of fun and if you like blaxploitation then I say check it out.
[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]
Jim Kelly is Robert Sand, Agent for D.R.A.G.O.N.
I have already anointed him black James Bond, so you better believe he is badass. The man hands out some mean kung-fu ass-kickings and stops at nothing to get his girl back, rightfully earning his title of certified badass.
[THE BODY COUNT: 20]
Sand himself ranks up a stellar 14 kills and probably kicks twice as many asses. The remaining 6 are fairly unevenly divided, with 5 for the bad guys and 1 for Sand’s girlfriend.
[MOST SATISFYING ASS-KICKING]
Sand’s fight against Janicot’s main henchman, Bone I think his name was, takes the honour. At first Sand just jumps around mocking him in pure Muhammd Ali style before putting his words into action and breaking his goddamn spine.
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
Being from the 70s, there is of course some questionable dressing on the men of this feature. We are talking open silk shirts and such. Also, there is most certainly some shirtless guy action here. Sand even kills a man by removing his shirt, watch the movie and you’ll see.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
The mentioned filler footage mostly consists of a girl shaking her lovelies while dressed in a red bikini, and Sand’s girl spends the entire movie dressed in only a bikini and constantly gets hit on by one of the movie’s villains. This leaves Synne, a woman working for Janicot, and well, she’s basically a whore. Black Samurai probably isn’t shown at feminist conventions.
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
Sand is chased into a parking lot by 6-7 henchmen looking to bust him up. Let’s just say Sand is the only one who walks out of the parking lot.
Synne: “I like to think of you like my white knight come to my rescue.”
“Never the white knight, baby!”
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
If you know martial arts, odds are you’re a samurai.
[THE CHECKLIST: 12 outta 25]
[X] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor” [Jim Kelly]
[ ] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[X] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[ ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[ ] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[ ] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[ ] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[ ] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[ ] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[ ] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season
[ ] Torture Sequence(s)
[ ] Unnecessary Sequel
[X] Vehicle Chase(s)
[ ] Vigilante Justice