Thursday, May 17, 2007

Coffy (1973, Jack Hill)

"Coffy is a nurse whose younger sister gets involved in drugs and is severely injured by contaminated heroin. Coffy sets out on a mission of vengeance and vigilante justice, killing drug dealers, pimps, and mobsters who cross her path."

Quentin Tarantino once said in an interview that Coffy was his 2nd favorite revenge movie of all time and that he could watch it at any time and get really into it. Now after finally getting around to watching it, I can see what he means.

Although Coffy is far from flawless it is tons of trashy fun. I don't know if it's because the movie was made without much supervision from the studio or if it's because of Jack Hill's direction and writing but Coffy turns out to be a gritty,brutal, and above all sexy revenge story. While watching the film you can't help but get really into the story and begin to cheer for Coffy.

I also think this is because of it's exploitation nature. The thing I have learned to love from all these exploitation films are the freedom they can have with their characters and plots meanwhile still delivering a solid story...sometimes. For example in a Hollywood film a bad guy can be a really big evil character but there is always some reason behind it, or he can just be over the top and be a bad guy for no reason. However when he is just bad for no reason he comes off as over the top and silly. Now in these exploitation films every bad guy is over the top and just evil but given how crazy the plots tend to be the over the top bad buys just fit right in with the story. It's because of these evil characters that you can't help but cheer for Coffy.

These villains are so evil in this movie that it's incredible. These dope pushers are taking over the city and are even selling smack to little kids, the youngest being 9 years old! That's right, 9 year old kids shooting up. Not only are they selling it to kids, but they are also selling contaminated heroin to them which is causing the children hospitals to be filled with kids. Coffy's 11 year old sister is one of those kids and after the dope pushers also send Coffy's guy friend to the hospital it's up to her and her shotgun to clean out the city. From this moment on the movie's action never stops and it's just great scene after great scene after great scene. In other words, it's just pure fun to watch.

The only complaints I really do have with the movie is how it spends a little bit too much time with other characters and not Coffy. When you are watching a revenge movie you want to see the person getting their revenge as often as possible, not the bad guys planning out their business for the next couple of months.

The other flaw worth pointing out is Sid Haig's performance as a Russian goon. Haig gives one of the worst accents ever caught on screen along with Orson Welles' accent in Lady From Shanghai. This accent is horrible , but also hilarious. Just watch this movie to actually hear it.

Coffy lasts only 89 minutes and every single minute of it is fun to watch. You can't beat a movie where you can see half naked cat fights, a dope pusher getting his head blown off, or a black guy being dragged around on a rope by two evil Russian guys. It really is pure fun that deserves it's fan basis.

- ***1/2

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