Monday, May 16, 2005
Coffy DVD review
Directed by Jack Hill, 1973, USA, 90 minutes, R 18+
Coffy's (Pam Grier) life is shattered when her young sister is doped up and freaked out by a evil drug pusher who thinks nothing of addicting a child to hard drugs. Out for revenge she hunts him down and vows to follow his trail to the very top of the narcotic trail. Is Coffy willing to enter this sordid world and is she ready for who she will meet.
Director Jack Hill, a veteran of such cult classics as Spider Baby and The Switchblade Sisters, was instrumental in bringing the world the delectable form of Pam Grier. She made her debut in Russ Meyer's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and after Hill cast her in his trashy Philippine Women in Prison films, The Big Bird Cage and The Big Doll House, she went on to become a Seventies icon with performances in films such as Foxy Brown and Sheba Baby. It's no wonder that Quentin Tarantino cast her in his reverential blaxploitation tribute Jackie Brown. You can see why he called Coffy "One of the most entertaining movies ever made" High praise in deed for a revenge film full of action, violence and naked flesh.
A voluptuous vision in hipsters and an afro, Grier is electrifying in the lead role. Whether seducing a pimp before she kills him, hiding razor blades in her hair or stripping to prove her worth as a call girl, she oozes sex appeal. What Pam adds to the mix is attitude, arse kicking, karate chopping attitude. You get on her wrong side and she'll whip your ass. It's no wonder she became one of poster icons of the Seventies.
Jazz legend Roy Ayer's soundtrack, always an integral part of the enjoyment of any good blaxploitation movie, is sublime, everything you could want in a Blaxploitation soundtrack; Wah wah guitars, blaring trumpets and funky drumming.
Many argue that the stars of the films were being exploited. That the studios, mainly owned by whites in the Seventies, were jumping on the band wagon started by the independent thrills of Melvin Van Peebles Sweet Sweetbacks Baadasss Song and the studio hit Shaft. But you talk to Grier, Fred "The Hammer" Williamson, Rudy Ray Moore amongst many, and they'll tell you they loved it, to quote the tagline to Superfly "He had a plan, to stick it to the man."
If you want to discover the wonderful world of blaxploitation films then Coffy is a good place to start. Along with the equally fine Foxy Brown, Coffy has it all. Dodgy pimps, jive talking dialogue, action and excitement along with Pam Grier, you really can't go wrong.