A double release for two relatively obscure entries in the Blaxploitation movement, this set gives us The Woman Hunt from 1972 and 1974’s TNT Jackson. The link here is that both are set in Asia, directed by two prominent Filipino filmmakers, Eddie Romero and Cirio H. Santiago, and come from Roger Corman’s New World Pictures production house.
The Woman Hunt is another variation on The Most Dangerous Game. Spyros is an extremely wealthy psychopath who has his head of security Magda finding beautiful women to attend against their will a party on his jungle estate for his rich mates, after which Spyros wants to hunt the poor women to their deaths. The three men that Magda charges with the task, Tony (John Ashley), Karp (Ken Metcalfe) and Silas (Sid Haig), find suitable women and bring them to the island. But Tony’s heart isn’t really in the kidnap game any more and he asks Spyros if he can get out. Now Tony is marked for death by his friend Silas and has no choice but to set the women free and lead them through the jungle to safety, with Spyros and his cronies on their tail.
TNT Jackson follows the titular character played by Jeanne Bell as she heads out to Hong Kong to find out what has become of her brother. There she runs into a variety of people, some friendly like Joe, some convinced she is dangerous and some fascinated by her, like the ambitious Charlie (Stan Shaw). TNT is a martial arts expert which comes in handy when she incurs the wrath of drug kingpin Sid (Metcalfe again, here resembling Julian Assange) as she gets closer to the truth.
The Woman Hunt, which really only slightly edges into any sort of Blaxploitation, is almost every other kind of exploitation you can think. It’s almost preposterously loaded with threat and grimness and is probably ripe for some thematic reassessment, being one of the darkest iterations of the well-known story despite a somehow fantastically bleak but hopeful ending. TNT Jackson meanwhile is straight-up action fare which jams in martial arts a-plenty, cartoon violence, nudity and a brief but memorable fight in the nude for Bell alongside its somewhat convoluted drugs-and-government agents storyline.
If you’re into Blaxploitation or ‘70s exploitation you’re more than likely to find something to enjoy. If not, expect to be bemused or in the case of The Woman Hunt potentially appalled that one popcorn thriller could stuff so much unpleasantness into fewer than 90 minutes. A warning though, Umbrella Entertainment’s release is a completely untouched VHS transfer (tracking wobbles included), but that arguably adds to the garish charms contained here.
THE WOMAN HUNT / TNT JACKSON / CERT: 15 / DIRECTORS: EDDIE ROMERO, CIRIO H. SANTIAGO / SCREENPLAY: DAVID HOOVER, LEONARD HERMES, KEN METCALFE, DICK MILLER / STARRING: JOHN ASHLEY, KEN METCALFE, SID HAIG, EDDIE GARCIA, PAT WOODELL, CHARLENE JONES, LAURIE ROSE, JEANNE BELL, PAT ANDERSON / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW