Dynamite Johnson is pretty much a textbook example of a filmmaker proving his exploitation acumen by making the most of both his resources and concept. “What textbook?,” I hear you ask. “Where can I get it? Will I be tested on this?” Shut up. No such book exists. But if it did, you could certainly do worse than having Filipino producer, director and writer Bobby Suarez as its author.
Dynamite Johnson was the third film to be turned out by Suarez’s BAS Film Productions, following closely on the heels of 1977’s The Bionic Boy and the next year’s They Call Her… Cleopatra Wong. Both of the previous films were completed with the financial participation of Singaporean wrestling-promoter-turned-independent-film-producer Sunny Lim, and, while they were primarily Filipino productions, they made concessions to the Singaporean market by drawing from that country’s talent pool for their titular stars. In the case of The Bionic Boy, that star was a 9 year old Singaporean Karate champion by the name of Johnson Yap, and in Cleopatra Wong’s it was an 18 year old typist-turned-fledgling-martial-arts-star named Doris Young, who was summarily rechristened Marrie Lee in order to encourage those all-important Bruce Lee associations.