Pam Grier, the queen of Blaxploitation, stars in Friday Foster as the titular character, an ex-model magazine photographer who gets wrapped up in a conspiracy when she witnesses and photographs an assassination attempt at the richest black man in America; Blake Tarr. While she’s trying to figure out who’s behind it all, the hit men are out for her as well.
Friday Foster is a lesser bad-ass chick than Coffy or Foxy Brown are. As an ex-model and mere photographer with a “cute little behind” Grier is more vulnerable here, especially when the main assassin on her trail is none other than Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers). This doesn’t keep her from doing stuff like stealing a hearse and chasing Creed’s silent assassin all over town and following him into an abandoned building, one of the more weaker moments of her character’s intelligence. The reason I’m pointing this out is because Friday is developed as a smart woman, capable of uncovering a conspiracy (Though she does point at the wrong person until the last showdown), and not being reliant on welfare to make ends meet. So going alone into an abandoned building to follow a guy who almost murdered you twice without calling for backup is a break of character. It’s these little moments that keep Friday Foster firmly in the realm it originates from: the sleazy b-movie blaxploitation genre. Another example is that the movie contains gratuitous nudity, though nothing extreme. There are scenes set at some sort of fashion show where we get to peek backstage and see girls undressing and also Friday herself takes a long shower before Weathers bursts in to murder her having her subsequently run through hallways in nothing but a towel. Later on she has a sex scene with Blake Tarr who gets her in bed within one scene. Must be the money.
The two of them sitting in a jacuzzi was also one of the images the studio used in the promotional materials… tells you all about the unique selling points of this flick.
The movie has a running time of a mere 90 minutes and the story has a brisk pace, as you probably already could tell by the fact it took only one scene with Blake for him to bed Friday. The tone is light and though Weathers is a capable hit man, the deaths are never really gritty like they were in Coffy.
The tone is probably set by the source material; Friday Foster was originally a newspaper comic.
As with a lot of blaxploitation movies Friday Foster has her own soul theme. Nothing really memorable, but it always does give a movie the feeling they makers were actually trying to create a solid product instead of just cashing in on the latest trend. There are also some nice action scenes in the movie, the most memorable being a rooftop chase and fight between Yaphet Kotto and Weathers. The fact that this was done long before green screen gives it something extra.
One of the more fun aspects of Friday Foster is all the familiar faces that show up: Carl Weathers (Rocky 1-4), Yaphet Kotto (Live And Let Die), Scatman Crothers (The Shining and the voice of Jazz in the Transformers cartoon), Eartha Kitt (Catwoman in the 60’s Batman show) and Ted Lange (Bartender Isaac from The Love Boat). A cast like that gives this movie something extra.
Friday Foster is an average, maybe even slightly above average, blaxploitation movie and due to the light tone it never made the impact Coffy or Foxy Brown did. While fun to watch Friday Foster isn’t all that memorable. Those only tuning in to see ms Grier shed her clothes are in for a disappointment as her two short nude scenes don’t even show us that “cute little behind”.