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USA 1973
Directed by
Jack Hill
90 minutes
Rated R

Reviewed by
David Michael Brown
3.5 stars


Synopsis: Coffy (Pam Grier) 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. But 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 Women in Cages, she went on to become a '70s icon with performances in films such as Foxy Brown and Sheba Baby. It's no wonder that Quentin Tarantino cast her in his blaxploitation tribute Jackie Brown and why he called Coffy "one of the most entertaining movies ever made". High praise indeed 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. It's no wonder she became one of the most popular poster girls of the '70s. What Pam adds to the mix is attitude; butt-kicking, karate-chopping attitude. You get on her wrong side and she'll whip your ass.

The soundtrack is always an integral part of the enjoyment of any good blaxploitation movie, and jazz legend Roy Ayer's contribution has everything you could want - 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 '70s, were jumping on the bandwagon started by the independent thrills of Melvin Van Peeble's Sweet Sweetback's Baadasss Song and the 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.




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