This film could have been titled “There Will Be Beef.”
The funny thing is that it took so long for black movies to discover women. At the dawn of the 1970s blaxploitation era, almost all black movies routinely starred superheroes along the lines of "Shaft" and "Slaughter," and women remained in the background. Very much in the background.
The opening of "Shaft" was typical: Shaft and girlfriend are in bed. The telephone rings. Shaft answers. Says he'll be right on the case. Hangs up. The girl reaches out, imploring him to stay, but, no, he's got a mission to perform. It was enough to remind you of John Wayne, in the 1940s, shrugging off some darn gal and muttering that he had "man's work to do."
Then, suddenly, two of the biggest black movies were about women. "Coffy" starred Pam Grier as a nurse who goes on the warpath against drug dealers, and was one of the year's top money-makers. And then came "Cleopatra Jones," which is about a federal agent who wages war with the pushers. If the two plots sound similar, there may be a couple of reasons: (a) most black movies objectify the enemy as white gangsters ripping off the ghetto; (b) both movies were written by Max Julien.
Both movies happen to be pretty good, too, and they don't have the nonstop violence of the "Shafts" and "Super Flys." The black female superhero was tough (Cleo knows karate), but she's essentially feminine and goes into action only to help her people. Coffy, for example, declared war after the pushers hooked her little sister.