The Devil Says

See It

The Devil loves strong women, stripping down and blasting off heads, and Coffy is so good at both of those. If your predilections run toward strong, hot, black women (stripping down and blasting off heads; don't want to forget those), than Coffy is gong to be a bit of exploitation heaven. All the clichés of the earlier male-dominated blaxploitation pictures are here: pimps, whores, corrupt white cops, evil white gangsters, and drug use everywhere. But there's something new.  Well, it's new for 1973. It quickly became the final cliché of the movement: the funky, take-no-shit black woman.

Pam Grier nudeCoffy, played by the gorgeous and curvaceous Pam Grier, is a pissed-off nurse. Her pre-teen sis is hooked on smack and our afro-headed mama isn't going to let that go unpunished. She sets out to find the black street-pushers and their white bosses, and with the aid of a shotgun, teach them the error of their ways. I don't think they will benefit from the lesson.  It's easy at first, and very messy, but after her ex, the only honest cop on the force, is beaten into a coma, Coffy has to be trickier, and goes undercover as a prostitute for King George, the old pimp-drug kingpin who's now under the thumb of newly arrived whites with ever-changing accents. Luckily for us viewers, to prove she's the hottest piece north of Jamaica, she has to discard her dress and let her goods be sampled.

When Coffy hits its stride, it is prime entertainment. Grier is a joy to watch, particularly when clothing is optional. Damn she's one voluptuous babe. She's rarely off screen, and when she is you'll want her back. Pam Grier CoffyThe violence is top notch too. The film opens with a semi-clothed Coffy pointing a shotgun at a drug dealers head from only a few feet away and pulling the trigger, and things only get better after that. Some of the murders are brutal; a stand out is when a black pimp is dragged behind a car. If you miss the racial significance of the scene, you need to spend some time studying recent U.S. history. However, the best violence is non-fatal: a whore-catfight where the gowns are not up to the task of keeping the girl's breasts covered.

But Coffy isn't always in full sex-and-violence mode, and then the low budget becomes obvious in annoying ways. Even with a rewrite or two, the dialog couldn't have been good, but I'd have been contented if it had managed non-embarrassing. The acting waivers between competent and torturous (as in, I'll be torturing a few of the actors in Hell for their performances). Maybe a voice coach could have helped the whites decide on a dialect. The camera work is uninspired and the sound is muffled.Pam Grier topless Yes, you'll forget all those problems when the guns are blazing and when Grier uses her tits to get close to her victims, but that still leaves you with some fidgeting time. 

Coffy is both a black-power and a female empowerment flick, stuffed with an anti-drug message. When a movie has that many themes, the concepts go down a lot better with a spoon full of brown sugar...and a razor blade hidden in an afro.

Sins (What does this mean?)

Pride Shaft has confidence to burn, and you'll want to be him.
Sloth Nada.
Avarice Nada.
Gluttony Nada.
Aesthetics Nada. 
Surrogate Cruelty Everywhere. Beatings, torture, and plenty of shotgun blasts. Heads burst open, a man is dragged to death behind a car, and a common item is shown to work wonders when you want to have someone's blood spurt from their artery.
Thought Only for the ignorant. If you're racist, sexist, or don't understand that heroin can be dangerous, then Coffy has a few things to teach you. I suggest you learn them well before you end up in my realm.
Humor It has its moments.
Lust Plenty of topless babes: a dancing stripper, a surprised girlfriend, etc., plus the hooker fight where dresses can't seem to stay up.  Ms Grier is more than generous with her own ample attributes.

Buy It




Film Info

Writer/Director: Jack Hill

Cast: Pam Grier, Booker Bradshaw, Robert DoQui, William Elliott, Allan Arbus, Sid Haig

Runtime: 91 min