Olive has given us a ready-made Blaxploitation marathon, all in glorious HD. The boutique label has been killing it lately, releasing a ton of coveted titles to the Blu-ray format. This time around, they release the exploitation classics Coffy, Foxy Brown, Friday Foster, and Hammer.
Of the four films being released, Foxy Brown is easily my favorite. It’s the classic revenge tale, with a Blaxpoitation twist, starring Pam Grier, and written and directed by Jack Hill. In Foxy Brown, Grier’s boyfriend is murdered by a government agency, so she poses as a sexy afro-sporting prostitute to carve her way up the ladder in order to get her ultimate revenge. This was the first movie that exposed me(in more ways than one) to Pam Grier, and it’s pretty clear that it was one of Tarantino’s favorites as well.
Another childhood favorite of mine is Hammer, starring Fred Williamson as the titular character. In this one, B.J. Hammer is a laborer at a local dock. After an opportunist sees him fight, he enlists him to be a prizefighter, but when his shady manager/drug dealer asks him to throw a fight, and kidnaps his girlfriend to convince him to go along with it, It turns out that Hammer don’t play that. This is a classic Seventies Blaxploitation/Exploitation tale, filled with tons of action, including some truly entertaining chase scenes. Another movie that inspired Tarantino, and apparently Rodriquez, as the duo cast Fred Williams as a similar badass in From Dusk til Dawn
As far as Coffy goes, it’s not that it is a lesser Jack Hill/Pam Grier collaboration than Foxy Brown, it’s just that, I was exposed to Foxy first, so it holds a special place in my heart. This time around Grier plays a nurse who sets out on the warpath on the city’s drug dealers, after her 11 year old sister is exposed to a cooked batch of Heroin. It’s basically the same formula as Foxy Brown, with a few slight differences here and there. Either way, this is a very exciting revenge film, with all the elements of Jack Hill greatness. Coffy is the movie that launched Pam Grier into exploitation super-stardom, and rightfully so.
Perhaps my least favorite film of the bundle, is Friday Foster. That’s not to say that it’s a bad film, just that, by comparison, it is the lesser of the four. In this one, Pam Grier plays a photographer who witnesses an assassination attempt on the “richest black man in America,” which sucks Friday into a deep conspiracy, costing her the life of one of her childhood friends. It’s not as exciting as Foxy Brown or Coffy, but it’s still a classic in its own right.
These are all old, grungy films, but they look and sound fantastic on the Blu-ray format. Featuring full HD, 1080p, AVC-encoded transfers in 1.85: 1, and DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio tracks, the grit and grime you’ve come to expect from movies like this is preserved, while outlining the detail made possible by the Blu-ray format. These aren’t as pristine as a new release movie would be, but for what it is, they look and sound pretty damn good.
As with most of Olive’s catalog, there are no extras on the discs to report.
You may purchase each of these titles from the following links: