Mystery Movies - Coffy
Pam Grier, Booker Bradshaw, Robert Doqui, Alan Arbus
Written and directed by Jack Hill
American International 1973
MGM Home Video 2005
is part of the Vibe / MGM Fox In A Box set that includes two other Pam Grier blacksploitation movies, Foxy Brown and Sheba, Baby, as well as a fourth DVD that has two special features on it: Vibe Magazine Presents Pam Grier Super Foxy and Blaxploitation To Hip-Hop. Coffy is also part of MGM’s Soulcinema collection.
Pam Grier rocks in Coffy, a low-budget action movie that pretty much keeps the viewer interested throughout this woman on a vengeance film. There is something for everybody from pretty cool music and lots and lots of topless babes to some pretty gory shoot them up scenes and good but not brilliant acting throughout.
Coffy (her real name is supposedly Flower Child Coffin) is an L.A nurse who wants revenge after her eleven-year-old sister became a zombie after taking drugs. She first blows the head off the local drug dealer and kills one of his pushers. When her childhood friend and cop Carter Brown is put in a coma by his colleagues for not going on the take Coffy slowly works her way up the ladder to the big guys in charge (one of which is Alan Arbus, better known as Sidney Friedman on MASH).
There is definitely no lack of action in this movie. Coffy (Pam Grier) is one mean lady and she can defend herself very well. Of course, the first thing she does is rip the top off the women she fights. She is also quite adept with a shotgun and proves this many times. There is a lot of nudity (especially with Pam Grier), some very gory and bloody scenes (one in particular which would never be filmed if the movie was made today), and a few funny (though sometimes unintentionally so) moments.
It is also one of the rare times that the director’s audio commentary track is actually interesting. Writer and director Jack Hill does more than say “We had a lot of fun doing this movie and everybody was great!”. He also talks about the blacksploitation genre, racism in the movie business at the time (and now still), the hoops he had to jump through to get Coffy done, and the role he played in giving Black stunt coordinators and behind the scenes people a foot in the door. Jack Hill is also no afraid to point out the weaknesses in this movie and a lot of what he says should be listened to by any director on a low budget.
Coffy is a fun watch.
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