Foxy Brown (1974)

Director: Jack Hill

Have you ever wanted to see Pam Grier causing havoc in a lesbian bar and using a light aircraft as a deadly weapon? This is EXACTLY the movie you want, and you may only be disappointed that she doesn’t do both of those things in the same scene (I would TOTALLY watch that film if anyone wants to make it). Anyway, this comes from the year after Pam Grier had a hit with Coffy… I noted in my review of that film that Grier’s career at American International actually began as a secretary, not a performer; apparently it was director Jack Hill who thought she would be better in front of a camera than behind a typewriter, and bless him for his good judgement. Foxy Brown doesn’t stray too far from the outline of Coffy, AIP obviously thought they had a good thing there that shouldn’t be fooled with (apparently it was originally planned as an actual sequel to the earlier film); accordingly, we have another revenge plot, in which Foxy’s man—an undercover cop—is tracked down (with help from Foxy’s worthless drug-dealing brother) by the dope syndicate he tried to bring down (said brother having also been involved with said syndicate and fallen from their grace). Foxy’s not going to take that shit without a fight, obviously. The big difference is that where Coffy was an initially reluctant heroine, Foxy is kind of hard from the get go; the film begins, after all, with her saving her worthless drug-dealing brother from being beaten to a pulp by two of the syndicate members. As with Coffy, Grier’s particular charisma is what really sells the film; It’s reasonably low-budget fare (only about $500,000 budget, apparently) of the kind that needs a decent central figure to put it over, and Grier certainly does that. You’ll never mistake it for a masterpiece of the seventh art, it’s too proudly exploitative for that, but it’s fair Sunday night viewing; it never takes itself too seriously, which makes the few bits of actually quite nasty violence in the last half hour (brief as they are) all the more jolting.

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