Coffy sees director Jack Hill (The Big Doll House) at the top of his game, and the legendary Pam Grier justifying her fearless reputation as a vigilante out for revenge against the drug dealers destroying her community.
There's plenty of over-the-top violence, nudity and humour, as expected from the blaxploitation genre, but there's some more subversive elements working under the surface too. The script is surprisingly nuanced and grounded, and Coffy isn't merely a two-dimensional action character. On top of being handy with a shotgun, she's a capable nurse who’s been driven to violence and remains unsure of herself. Grier's fine-grained, vulnerable performance seals the deal.
Coffy is essential viewing for anyone with an interest in the genre, or who wants to see Pam Grier at her very best. This Arrow release includes commentary from Jack Hill, interviews and a specially commissioned feature on the history of blaxploitation. [Scott McKellar]