The year 1973 marked the beginning of the one-two combination of Blaxploitation and Kung Fu. It happened when taekwondo champion Jim Kelly appeared in Bruce Lee’s film Enter the Dragon. Kelly proved to be a popular character actor who would sign with Warner Brothers for a few more action films, thus creating the first crossing over of these two prolific genres.
Where Jim Kelly conquered America, Ron Van Clief conquered Hong Kong. Known to many as “The Black Dragon”, Van Clief was chosen by producer Serafim Karalexis to appear in The Black Dragon and its sequel, Black Dragon’s Revenge.
Black people have had a significant role in shaping the course of kung fu cinema over the last three decades. From the rap group, Wu Tang Clan to the fans themselves, contributions to the genre from Blacks in America and around the world have become a vital component in a genre that is increasingly becoming a global and multi-cultural phenomenon.
Black Action Films and Kung Fu Filmography
- Bamboo Gods and Iron Men (1973) … stars James Iglehart.
- Bare Knuckles (1977)…Gloria Hendry
- Black Samurai (1976) … stars Jim Kelly as an undercover agent out to stop a drug ring fronted by a satanic cult.
- Black Belt Jones (1974) … Jim Kelly’s first starring role.
- Black Dragon (1974) … stars Ron Van Clief.
- Black Dragon Fever (1975) … starring Ron Van Clief.
- Black Dragon’s Revenge (1975) … stars Ron Van Clief
- Blade (1998) … Wesley Snipes kicks the snot out of vampires intent on bring about an apocalypse.
- Blade 2 (2002) … Snipes returns to team up with his former enemies to stop an even worse breed of vampire.
- Bruce Lee: The Man, The Myth (1979) … co-starring Carl Scott.
- Cleopatra Jones (1973)… Tamara Dobson
- Death Dimension aka Black Eliminator (1978)…Jim Kelly
- Dolemite (1975) … Rudy Ray Moore stars in this blaxploitation film featuring a female kung fu army.
- Enter the Dragon (1973) … Jim Kelly joins Bruce Lee and John Saxon in defeating the villainous Mr. Han.
- Force Four (1974)…Warhawk Tanzania
- Game of Death (1978) … Features the classic fight between Bruce Lee and his student, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
- Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999)
- Hot Potato (1976) … Lesser film starring Jim Kelly.
- The Dynamite Brothers (1974)
- That Man Bolt (1973) … Fred Williamson
- The Human Tornado (1976) … Rudy Ray Moore returns with the help of karate champion Howard S. Jackson.
- Kung Fu Executioner (1980) … stars Carl Scott.
- The Last Dragon (1985) … terrific Harlem spoof of kung fu starring the talented Taimak Guarriello
- The Matrix (1999)
- The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
- The Super Weapon (1976) … Ron Van Clief.
- Righting Wrongs (1986) Peter Cunningham is an assasin who ends up one one brutally entertaining match with Yuen Biao.
- Rush Hour (1998)
- Rush Hour 2 (2001)
- Shaolin Dolemite (1999) … Rudy Ray Moore slices himself into this awful re-edit of ‘Ninja: The Final Duel.’
- Soul Brothers of Kung Fu (1976) … stars Carl Scott.
- Sun Dragon (1979) … stars Carl Scott.
- TNT Jackson (1975) … starring Playboy Playmate Jeannie Bell.
- Velvet Smooth (1976) … Starring Johnnie Hill.