BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Coffy (1973) - Blu-ray Review

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Coffy - Blu-ray Review

4 stars

Before you start struttin’ around town, wearin’ your high heels, and thinkin’ you’re hot shit, just remember that Coffy did it first. Before Alicia Keys sang about a girl on fire and before Bryce Dallas Howard earned street cred for outrunning dinosaurs in high heels there was 1973’s Coffy. Pam Grier, excuse me, where are my manners? The beautiful and talented Pam Grier stars in Jack Hill’s film and kicks a whole lot of ass as she, singlehandedly, delivers a swift and furious vengeance against those who would do her harm as she avenges the death of her sister.

Hill’s oft-quoted vigilante flick is condemned for being insensitive to damn near everyone and everything. Well, duh.  That's its purpose.  It is a script so full of stereotypes that it actually invents some of its own with hilarious results. Yet, everything in Coffy works and never feels disingenuous to its Blaxploitation genre so rooted in its era. From the opening sequence in which Nurse "Coffy" Coffin (Grier) cons two men into thinking it’s their lucky day only to kill them both (one with a pretty gory shotgun blast to the face) to the closing as one man loses his junk to her wrath, Coffy never shies away from its exploitation swagger. It is a revenge film that wears no disguise and doesn’t bat an eyelash as it squashes Texans, Hispanics, Italians, lesbians, the police, the media, prostitutes, and Sid Haig under its knee-high boots.

Coffy, crusading solo for the honor of her strung-out sister, carries her then-unfashionable anti-drug message straight to the streets. She’s not afraid to get dirty either. The men don't get all of the fun.  She uses her sexuality like candy to lure a pimp named King George (Robert DoQui) and Mafia boss Arturo Vitroni (Allan Arbus) out in the open. Her targets are plenty and she tackles each one with an unmatched skillset that no one is prepared for. She goes from sweet to sassy in seconds and, sometimes, without a stitch of clothing on at all.

Yet, when her police friend Carter (William Elliott) bites it, she realizes how far she must go to put an end to the cycle of violence and the drugs that have wrecked her city. Co-starring Sid Haig and Booker Bradshaw, Coffy is one fell of a genre flick that, in spite of its low budget and sexually provocative nature, only gets better with age. It helps to have the funked-out nonstop groove of Roy Ayers’ score in the background, too.

Hill, under pressure from American International Pictures to deliver this exploitation flick months before a similar-themed film, Cleopatra Jones, hit theaters, actually delivers a better genre flick than I think many expected. Coffy became the hit no one expected and Cleopatra Jones fizzled. Black audiences ate it up. White audiences did, too. Hell, audiences of all colors and cultures continue to lap Coffy up like milk. Grier, who hitched her star to this particular type of role in latter films like Foxy Brown, Friday Foster, and Sheba, Baby, is seriously off the chain with a genuine attitude that most cannot pull off. She hides nothing and remains vulnerable.  There is a rawness to the Grier and, if you couldn’t tell from Quentin Tarantino’s underappreciated Jackie Brown, she is still in possession of it.

Coffy is a favorite of Tarantino’s. You should probably check it out, too. And Olive Films, with this blu-ray release, makes it possible once again. As the infamous tag says, “They call her Coffy and she'll cream you!”

Coffy - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
91 mins
Director
: Jack Hill
Writer: Jack Hill
Cast:
Pam Grier, Booker Bradshaw, Robert DoQui
Genre
: Action | Crime
Tagline:
The Baddest One-Chick Hit-Squad that ever hit town!.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Maybe it will and maybe it won't, but if it do, you gonna fly through them pearly gates with the biggest fucking smile St. Peter ever seen!"
Distributor:
American International Pictures (AIP)
Official Site:
Release Date:
June 13, 1973
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
June 9, 2015
Synopsis: A black nurse takes vigilante justice against inner-city drug dealers after her sister becomes their latest victim.

Coffy - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - June 9, 2015
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

Retaining the grain and grit of its low-budget, Olive Films presents Coffy on blu-ray in a new 1080P transfer. Low lighting rules throughout this feature but, in spite of its technical limitations, there is a solid contrast throughout and even the colors appear brighter than before. Skin tones are solid and the details in some of the period clothing will bring a smile or a smirk to your face. While there is ZERO depth to many of the shots and dirt and some scratches still pop up, Coffy – at least here in the States – has never looked better.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

None

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