Home Entertainment Check out the trailer for JOE BULLET, a banned 70's South African blaxploitation film that is finally getting a screening!

Check out the trailer for JOE BULLET, a banned 70's South African blaxploitation film that is finally getting a screening!

2 min read


Move over, Shaft! Get out the way, Sweet Sweetback! There’s a new main man in town and he’s a bad mother-THULA UMLOMO WHAKO! That town is New York City, in which a very special screening will be held this week for Joe Bullet, a 1971 South African action film that was banned after just two screenings by the Apartheid government at the time. Joe Bullet was one of the first South African films to feature an all-black cast, and was also made to cater specifically to the black community, but this was apparently too much for the movie censors back then.

Although producer/director Tonie Van De Merwe would use the movie as a springboard to setup a subsidized program that would see several black filmmakers staggeringly produce approximately 1600 of these B-movies over the next two decades, Joe Bullet itself would remain locked away for the next 40 years. Eventually the film was unbanned, but it still didn’t actually get released to the public.

Now the film – a blaxploitation inspired action romp starring the late, great Ken Gampu – is finally seeing the light of day again, digitally restored thanks to New York’s Museum of Modern Arts’ 12th International Festival of Film Preservation festival. So if you’re in the Big Apple this week, make sure to check out this previously lost piece of South African cinema. The rest of us will just have to make do with this really cool trailer that even comes with its own catchy theme song. And karate chops!

When local soccer team The Eagles fall prey to a series of onslaughts from a mysterious gangster, only a week before the championship final, the team turns to the one man who can help save their chances at victory – Joe Bullet (Ken Gampu). Joe will have to battle against villainous henchmen, escape booby-trap bombs, and bring his martial arts expertise to the fore, in order to survive an attack from a deadly assassin. In the end, he will have to infiltrate the mysterious gangster’s hide-out in a dangerous cat-and-mouse rescue mission to save not only The Eagles’ 2 kidnapped star players, but that of his beautiful love interest, Beauty (Abigail Kubeka). The odds will be stacked against him, but he’s the man that fights crime, the man that no one can tie down! Joe Bullet!”

Let’s hope this gets a local release soon, or even just a DVD release.

Last Updated: November 12, 2014


  1. I have always had a problem with “Blaxploitation” as a phrase. I’ve read up on the origins of the term but just feel it was such a misguided attempt by cultural leaders of the time to incorporate these films into their “black pride” movements. I know it’s simply a phrase these days to bracket a certain type of film but I still think it’s insulting to the cast and crew of the genre.
    These films were initially made with a specific market in mind but their broader appeal proved that anyone could enjoy an unpolished gem as long as it had a great soundtrack and reasonable semblance of a plot. These films found a much larger market than they were intended for which was proven by the amount of sequels the genre spawned. Personally, I’ve always been more of an 80’s Action Jackson guy.


    • Kervyn Cloete

      November 13, 2014 at 09:29

      Action Jackson was the shit!


  2. Skyblue

    November 13, 2014 at 08:45

    The best thing about Joe Bullet is Ken Gampu followed closely by that title song. Those karate chops, so much awesome, lol.


  3. Reid

    November 13, 2014 at 10:13

    That trailer just oozes 70s


  4. RinceThis

    November 13, 2014 at 10:23



  5. abzSUNOFMAN

    November 13, 2014 at 10:29

    Dude this is going to be so much fun!


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