Coffy

Weekly Alibi

DIRECTED BY: Jack Hill

REVIEWED: 08-18-97

I was in a really crabby mood the other night, but soon after Emily popped writer/director Jack Hill's blaxploitation classic into the VCR, I found myself carried away on a wave of euphoria the likes of which I've never known. The flick opens with perhaps the greatest theme song ever recorded ("Coffy is the color/of your skin/Coffy is the world/you live in"), then jumps head-on into its violent storyline: The incredible Pam Grier--built like a brick shithouse full of bobcats and in full-on ass-whoopin' mode--is out to avenge her little sister, who, at the tender age of 11, shot up with some bad smack and ended up comatose. Pam plays the horny junkie to lure in a local pusher, then blows his head off with a shotgun. The brains are still dripping off the camera when the fierce Pam jabs a needle into the pusher's li'l buddy, forcing him to OD. Later, the Pamster chills with her cop ex-boyfriend, who tells her that Italian mobster Arturo Vitroni is "moving in on the black rackets." When the cop refuses to go on the take, Vitroni sends a couple of ski-masked, baseball bat-wielding honkies to stomp a mudhole in the cop's ass. Pam, unaware that her Congressman wannabe boyfriend is mixed up in all this, sets out on the vengeance trail. She questions a junkie ex-hooker, but is interrupted by the arrival of the hooker's burly black dyke "old man," who says, "I go away for half an hour for you to turn a trick and when I come home I find you balling some nigger bitch!" By pretending to be Jamaican (!), Pam infiltrates the legion of hos under the employ of suave pimp King George in hopes of getting close to Vitroni. After hiding razor blades in her 'fro, Pam instigates one of the wildest catfights ever committed to celluloid, featuring more gratuitous boobs than you can shake a pimp-stick at. The flick gets even cooler as it goes along, if you can believe that, as the always-great Sid Haig tries to do the underpants-polka with Pam in the L.A. river, King George meets a brutal end and Pam discovers the truth about her lovin' man. Blaxploitation flicks don't get any better than this, and nobody rules the planet like Pam Grier (soon to be seen in Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown!). Rent it immediately. (Orion)

--Scott Phillips

Other Films by Jack Hill
Foxy Brown
Spider Baby

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