Saturday, February 16, 2013

COFFY (1973)

Written & Directed By: Jack Hill Cinematography By: Paul Lohmann Editor: Charles McCleehand Cast: Pam Grier, Booker Bradshaw, Sid haig, Allan Arbus, Barry Cahill, William Elliott, Linda Haynes, Bob Minor, Robert Boqui
Coffy is a nurse whose younger sister gets involved in drugs and is severely injured by contaminated heroin. Coffy sets out on a mission of vengeance and vigilante justice, killing drug dealers, pimps, and mobsters who cross her path.

This film has a great Tagline Don’t mess with Coffy or she’ll cream you.

While FOXY BROWN is the more popular film when it comes to Pam Grier films. I will admit that film has a catchier title. This is the better of the two truly Pam Grier’s Masterpiece. While Foxy Brown to me is more of a straight Forward thriller in the blaxploitation mold. This movie really takes the cake it is all over the place in a good way. So that anytime it looks like it will become rote and boring it seems to come back with some more energy and craziness. It’s so full of story, twists and turns it might seem like overkill, but it fits and keep you riveted. This film just feels more original. it was also made first.

I have to say I can see why Pam Grier was a goddess of the 70’s Like the drink the movie is named after. she has never looked more luscious and delicious as she does in this film. Sexy and dangerous too. She’s so sexy it is dangerous as you can’t help but be seduced by her. Ms. Grier also did all of her own stunts. It’s an action Extravaganza.

Watching it now of course it feels campy, but there is also a certain coolness that it pulls off effortlessly. While you laugh the film still manages to make an impact. The action scenes are hard hitting and graphic. The fashions are of course ridiculous. There are so many memorable scenes the catfight with hookers while she has razorblades hidden in her afro. Which was supposedly her idea. That is one of the things that are missing out of modern day actions films other then the fact that these films revel in the exploitation of action, nudity, violence to a degree that is instant gratification for the audience. But these films had so many conspiracies and so many levels to the villains that the hero had to take on so many adversaries they just keep coming leaving the film always moving forward as it barely has anytime to stop and smell the roses. No matter what obstacles just keeps moving forward

Sid Haig is hilarious as the henchman who is both menacing but had me cracking up anytime he was on screen I only wish like odd job he could come back in another sequel of the film or at least appear in the same type of character in another Pam Grier exploitation film. The film doesn’t have typical clich├ęd villains they all have character and are fun in some way while being despicable. The ending of the film also made me question was she more upset over being betrayed and with a white girl or Just being betrayed. Either way they lay it on thick for her.

I am a fan of Blaxploitation films to a degree this film to me is directed by one of the greatest of not only the genre but exploitation/Low budget genre films Jack Hill. Larry Cohen is another great. They knew how to not only make a film but also be inventive with the scripts and filmmaking. They could make something look grand on a low budget.

This film might be part exploitation but it is a solid action film. It also gives a role model to women looking for representations of themselves as more then the girlfriend. Coffy is not only a nurse but a revolutionary. Showing smarts and perseverance as well as an ability to kick ass, Both male and female. She shows a independence especially towards the end as it is her on her own. Not relying on any men to come save her.

The success of this film made A.I.P. studios rush her next film FOXY BROWN. After all this film was made after AIP passed on making CLEOPATRA JONES. So they wanted another lower budgeted black female action film


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