I was watching Starsky & Hutch the other day, the TV-series that is, and it suddenly came to me that I’d never seen iconic films from that time-period like Foxy Brown and Coffy. I knew of their existence and that they starred Pam Grier, I saw a few trailers a couple of years ago but I never did see those films. Those trailers were kinda corny of course, like most trailers in the 70’s, with that trailer voice saying shit like … “Coffy… Black” and “No one sleeps when they mess with Coffy…” I didn’t actually know what to expect, trailers can be so deceiving. They put all the action in 1 minute and leave it up to you to find out they actually put all the action that is in the movie in the trailer. Well I’ve seen the entire flick now so I’m gonna tell you how I like my Coffy.
Coffy is a Blaxploitation film made in the 70’s when they were in their heyday. This one is one of the crime-variant of Blaxploitation dealing with pimps, drug dealers, junkies and whores. In this movie an incredibly hot nurse named Coffin is gunning down drug dealers and pimps because her 11 year old sister is in rehab due to a smack addiction. Apparently, but only mentioned in the film, all her sisters are involved in the drug scene. It’s tough out there you know.
Pam Grier plays our titular anti-hero in a movie that plays itself partially like a skinflick. There are breasts and butts all over the place. There is even one scene where ten or so whores are fighting with each other and tearing each others clothes to pieces while doing so making the breasts go all over the place. It so covers the exploitation part in blaxploitation. Some of the girls in the fight are black too so the black part is also covered I guess. Apart from all the gratuitous nudity there is also a story going on here. It takes off after the opening sequence when our nurse Coffin, but nicknamed Coffy by anybody else, guns down her sisters pushers. She is in a relationship with a political hopeful Howard Brunswick and is buddy-buddy with a male cop named Carter who is hoping to get in her pants. Can’t blame him though.This Carter guy is one of those straight cops that isn’t on the take. This will lead to a severe beating of him sending him up to the hospital with brain damage. Coffy was at the apartment at the time of the beating and tries to fight of these goons, she gets slapped around and her shirt torn open exposing her breasts. Even though these are fairly big breasts she has she isn’t wearing a bra. I love these kinds of films…
Well now Coffy has another reason to go on a rampage and start a vigilant crusade through the city while going undercover (as a prostitute!) to find out who is behind all this.
For a simple 80 minute vengeance movie it does have some little twists around the place you don’t expect. Take King George for instance. He is presented early on as the bad guy, he’s even got his own introductory song going like “King George. He’s a pimp. He’s a pusher. Yeahhh.” You know that this is one big cat. Turns out George here is actually a small small fish and Coffy uses his him to get in contact with local mobster Arturo Vitroni who apparently likes exotic women from faraway places. This means Coffy has to use a Jamaican accent to be his cup of tea. But since Coffy gets caught while trying to off Vitroni the mob thinks King George is behind the assassination-attempt. This will result in a premature death for Georgie where he his hanged with a rope around his neck and tied to a car. As you can read, there’s also gratuitous violence in this movie. What I also liked was how Coffy blows a guy on two different occasions in two entirely different ways. It might sound cryptic now, but watch the movie, you’ll see what I mean.
The movie is carried by Pam Grier here in her first starring role. It’s hard to take your eyes off her as she’s got an incredible screen presence and must have been the wet dream of men all over the world in the 70’s. Her character is also fleshed out more than we are used to. She has doubts if her vigilantism is the way to go. I liked that. Nowadays she is a fine actress but back in the day she was still learning. Her acting varies from just adequate to simply atrocious. Especially when she does the phony Jamaican accent or tries to seduce someone only to hit that person in the head with a rock. You can’t believe someone would fell for that. Well henchman Sid Haig eventually does. Well I forgive her, she has come along way since then and she wasn’t starring in this movie just because of her thespian skills. I do think the Academy missed an opportunity here to give a “Best Supporting Character” Oscar to Pam’s boobs.
Ok, so it’s a Blaxploitation film from the 70’s dealing with revenge and all. Not everybody might like it but I was amazed how well it aged. There are enough examples of other films from that time-period that are really hard to sit through nowadays but Coffy really is still a fast-paced movie which doesn’t bore a second.