Saturday, June 6, 2015

COFFY (1973)

COFFY (1973) 
Label: Olive Films
Region Code: A
Rating: R
Duration: 90 Minutes
Audio: Englsih DTS-HD 2.0 Mono
Video: HD Widescreen (1:85:1)
Director: Jack Hill
Cast: Pam Grier, Booker Bradshaw, Robert DoQui, William Elliott, Allan Arbus, Sid Haig, Barry Cahill, Lee de Broux

Jack Hill's Coffy (1973) features Pam Grier in what I think is her fiercest role EVER as the vigilante Nurse "Coffy" Coffin. Coffy is a woman out for revenge against the low life dope pushers who hooked her younger sister on heroin. At the start of the film we witness Coffy posing as a drug addict looking to score a fix from a drug pusher in exchange for some strange. Once he lets his guard down in the bedroom she whips out a sawed-off shotgun and blows a hole through his face at point black range, before forcing his dealer friend to overdose on heroin. Coffy pulls no punches right from the start and it just doesn't let up, this one is a wild and seedy revenger.
Soon after we meet Coffy's boyfriend Howard Brunswick (Booker Bradshaw), a supporter of the black community with political aspirations, but he keeps company with the drug kingpin Vitroni (Allan Arbus) and a pimp named King George (Robert DoQui), so he;s not exactly what he seems at first. Og course, when this comes to light it does not wash well with Coffy's one-woman vendetta against the drug pushing scum who she holds responsible for her sister's addiction.

We're introduced to an upstanding cop whom at one time dated a younger Coffy, unwilling to accept bribes from the mob he is beaten into a coma. Afterward Coffy once again resumes her vigilante brand of justice, this time posing as a Jamaican hooker to get close to the operations of King George, which leads to a violent confrontation with the green-eyed whores who become jealous of the attention the pimp pays her. At a party hosted by Vitroni Coffy is attacked by five of the whores and the ensuing cat fight is a bunch of fun, with Coffy coming out on top after tearing off their blouses and bating their breasts - which you just gotta love. During the altercation we discover that Coffy stashes razorblades inside her Afro, and when one of the women grab a clutch of her hair she ends up with deep lacerations on her hands, how can you not love this stuff?

Mob boss Vitroni is played by the tiny Allan Arbus who I am most familiar with as Dr. Sidney Freedman from the television series M*A*S*H, it was a blast to see him here as the white drug lord with a taste for Coffy, but as one of the many deliciously awful taglines for the film read, "They call her 'Coffy' and she'll cream you!". Despite being caught by Vitroni she manages to cast doubt on the loyalty of King George and Vitroni sends his goons, one played by the impossibly young looking Sid Haig, to kill the double-crossing pimp. The men put a noose around his neck and drag him behind a car at high speed, the racist connotations and the manner of death are unsettling.  

The film ends with Coffy confronting the corrupt Brunswick who just a few scenes earlier gave his blessing to have her killed, at the wrong end of Coffy's sawed-off shotgun he tries to sweet talk his way out it only to be foiled when a nude white-woman emerges from his bedroom, and Coffy just ain't gonna put up with that sort of shit, nope. 

Director Jack Hill (Spider-Baby, The Big Bird Cage) is a fantastic exploitation director and his multiple team-ups with Grier are among his best movies. Grier has never appeared more bad ass and gorgeous on screen than she does in Coffy. This is my favorite blaxploitation movie bar none, bolstered by copious amounts of naked women, this gritty revenger still packs quite a punch!

Coffy arrives on Blu-ray in North America from Olive Films in the original widescreen aspect ratio (1.85:1) with a very nice HD transfer. There's a nice layer of film grain that has not been scrubbed to death, looking very natural.  The 70's fashions and decor have some nice fine detail about them, plus improved clarity and depth. Colors are vibrant and black levels are pretty damn decent. The English DTS-HD Mono audio sounds good, well-balanced and free of distortion. The score by Roy Ayers features some great theme song and lyrics, several dedicated to Coffy herself with  my favorite being King George's theme. No subtitles are provided. 

Like Olive's Foxy Brown Blu-ray this is a bare bones disc, which is unfortunate, but they do come through with a very nice A/V presentation that will not disappoint fans of the movie. Coffy is one bad ass and violent movie loaded with more nudity and sex than the average blaxpoitation film of the era, which is a huge bonus, in my opinion. Coffy and Foxy Brown make for a fun soul-cinema double-feature with this one being the more violent and grittier entry, which is  probably why I prefer it to the follow-up, but only by a thin margin. 4/5