Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Jim Kelly
(1946 – 2013)

“Where you going?”

“Out in the moonlight, baby.”

Sad to hear yesterday of the death of karate and tennis pro and sometime totally-awesome-movie-star Jim Kelly.

Just a few weeks ago, I spent a nice afternoon on the couch watching ‘Enter The Dragon’ on VHS – first time I’d seen it in a while, and a welcome reminder of what an extraordinarily entertaining picture it is. Post-screening, conversation turned, as is inevitably the case, to what an incredible bad-ass Jim Kelly is, what a bad decision it was to kill him off before the film’s finale (oops – spoiler alert?), and how sad it is that he only played significant roles in about five films, rather than, like, a thousand.

I’ve not yet had the pleasure of catching any of his subsequent blaxploitation flicks (‘Black Belt Jones’, ‘Three The Hard Way’, ‘Black Samurai’ etc.), but based solely on his performance in ‘..Dragon’, I think it’s safe to say he had the potential to be one of the most effortlessly cool, charismatic, capable and just plain funny action stars of all time. R.I.P.


Kev D. said...

Black Belt Jones is teh better of those two films (the otehr being Hot Potato).

There's a great line in it where he's fighting people in the dark, and one of the people he punches asks "who hit me?"... to which Jim Kelly responds, in PERFECT Jim Kelly fashion: "BATMAN MOTHA'FUCKA'!"

It's priceless.

Elliot James said...

I enjoyed Three The Hard Way, also because of the cast (Kelly, Fred Williamson and Jim Brown!) who go after white supremacists and wipe them out. Black Samurai is an Al Adamson film so the viewer needs to enjoy his style of filmmaking. Marilyn Joi is an added bonus. Kelly was always fun and should have gotten more support from the filmmaking community but maybe he preferred his tennis activities.