- Feb 8, 2009
- Reaction score
A SECOND LOOK
DVD set is devoted to '70s martial arts star Jim Kelly
The African American martial arts star of the 1970s gets a DVD set devoted to his impressive skills.
By Steve Ryfle
January 10, 2010
Before Jackie Chan and Jet Li, before Chuck Norris, Jean Claude van Damme and Steven Seagal, Jim Kelly earned his place in the pantheon of martial arts heroes fighting alongside Bruce Lee in 1973's "Enter the Dragon." With his lightning-quick fists and feet, cocksure attitude and repertoire of quotable one-liners, the Afro-sporting, chisel-chested Kelly was as cool and flashy as Lee was fast and lethal.
Nearly four decades on, Kelly has become a certified cult film legend -- the 2009 blaxploitation spoof "Black Dynamite" contained more than one homage to his movies -- though his Hollywood career was all too brief.
This week, Warner Home Video will release its Urban Action Collection, featuring three of Kelly's classic films on DVD for the first time: 1974's "Black Belt Jones" and "Three the Hard Way" and 1976's "Hot Potato." A fourth entry in the set, 1974's "Black Samson," stars Rockne Tarkington, the actor who was originally set to play Kelly's groundbreaking role in "Enter the Dragon."