Foxy BrownOverview -
Foxy Brown (Pam Grier, Coffy, Jackie Brown) is "a whole lot of woman" and more. Just you wait and see. Seeking revenge for the murder of her government agent boyfriend, Foxy goes to any means necessary – even posing as a prostitute to infiltrate a modeling agency that’s a cover for sex trafficking – to bring the killer to justice. Foxy Brown co-stars Antonio Fargas (Conrack, Car Wash), Peter Brown (Teenage Tease, Merrill's Marauder's), Terry Carter (Brother On The Run), Sid Haig (Coffy, The Devil's Rejects, Jackie Brown) and is directed by Jack Hill (Coffy, Switchblade Sisters).
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
"That's my sister baby, and she's a whole lotta woman."
The 70s was a hell of a decade for awesome movies. I've long felt that I grew up in the wrong era as the majority of all my favorite movies come from this magical stretch of ten years. From science fiction films like 'Alien' and 'Star Wars' to horror films like 'The Exorcist' and 'Don't Look Now' - the vast majority of my favorite movies were made during this time. Exploitation and Blaxploitation flicks are among my absolute favorites - they're just so completely entertaining. They're a genre of films that know what they are and don't even attempt to make any apologies. 1974's Jack Hill written and directed revenge thriller 'Foxy Brown' starring the legendary Pam Grier is quite possibly the ultimate embodiment of its genre.
Foxy Brown (Pam Grier) is a tough as nails street smart woman who is doing everything she can to stay right by the law while ensuring justice is measured out in equal quantities to anyone that dares to tarnish her neighborhood. By her side is her loyal boyfriend Michael (Terry Carter) who recently underwent facial reconstructive surgery. As a former informant for the police, Michael needs protection from the sort of drug dealing nasties that would love to plant him six feet under, and a new face is just the trick. Life is looking up for Foxy and Michael and things would continue to be going there way if it wasn't for Foxy's screw up brother Link (Antonio Fargas).
Link is a guy who knows just about every dishonest way to turn a quick buck - except he doesn't know how to run the scams. After a disastrous try at running a numbers racket, Link winds up owing some lethal loan sharks over $20,000. With a strange looking but seemingly familiar dude hanging around his sister, it doesn't take Link long to put two and two together figuring out the guy is in fact Michael. Knowing the value of that kind of information to certain people, Link takes his chance at getting square with Miss Katherine (Kathryn Loder) and Mr. Elias (Peter Brown).
When Michael is gunned down on her doorstep, Foxy must then go undercover acting as a high-end prostitute to infiltrate Miss Katherine's organization and dismantle it from the inside out. Only things don't go according to plan and Foxy ends up putting herself in great personal peril. In order to survive, Foxy must use her brains, her natural toughness, and rally a platoon of revolutionaries before before it's too late and the very people she aims to take down put her in the ground.
What can one really say about a movie like 'Foxy Brown' that hasn't already been said before? It is the defining movie of the blaxploitation genre, in my opinion. The script and direction by Jack Hill has that rough around the edges vibe but is hardly cheap looking. It maintains fantastic structure, character development, and never loses a sense of urgency while playing a cool and funky vibe few other films can match. Hot off her turns in 'Coffy' and 'Scream Blacula Scream' Pam Grier was enjoying the high of an exploding career. She's in fantastic form here and shows the confidence that comes with having a strong and empowered woman on the big screen. The woman is an icon of a decade and deserves far more credit than she's given.
Adding to the fun of experiencing a film like 'Foxy Brown' are the numerous side players. Guys like Antonio Fargas, Peter Brown, and Sig Haig enjoyed long careers appearing in numerous B-grade movies and TV series over the past forty years. Then you have someone who was incredibly talented like Kathryn Loder who sadly died only a few short years after this film was finished. She may not have had a long run in Hollywood and films in general - but she made a mark with this movie.
DVD and now Blu-ray have been great for 70s blaxploitation movies - it gives these flicks another chance to shine. I wish more drive-ins and specialty theaters ran these kinds of movies as double feature bills today, but having them on disc in proper high definition is a welcome alternative to muddy VHS tapes. As one of the few movies I avoid watching too often - because I genuinely love it - 'Foxy Brown' is a real treat. If you've never seen it, you're seriously missing out. If you're like me and a serious fan, it's a movie that just gets better with age.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Foxy Brown' brings the funk to Blu-ray thanks to Olive Films. Pressed on a BD25 disc and housed in a standard Blu-ray case, the disc opens directly to the main menu.
I was hoping 'Foxy Brown' would make a smooth transition to Blu-ray, but I didn't expect it to come out looking this fantastic! Seriously this 1.85:1 1080p presentation is one of the best transfers I've seen for a 70s blaxploitation movie, and I say that as someone who was genuinely blown away by Scream Factory's release of 'Blacula / Scream Blacula Scream.' One of the first things you should notice are the vast improvements in color - the funky opening credits never looked so bright and clear. After that flesh tones and primaries have a wonderful pop to them and feel alive and vibrant. On top of the color, grain structure has been retained leading to some striking detail and image clarity. Black levels and shadows are equally impressive, there is a tad bit of crush in the opening scenes but the rest of the film is simply gorgeous. After a cursory view of the previous MGM DVD, it didn't take long at all to see that this Blu-ray is a big improvement for all of the reasons listed above, but also because the print looks to be a lot cleaner. All around a solid Blu-ray transfer.
Rocking a strong DTS-MA 2.0 audio track - 'Foxy Brown' wins some big points. Dialogue clarity is the real bonus here, especially when you throw in the 70s funk sound track and the numerous sound effects that can populate a scene. Essentially this is a mono track at heart, so imaging isn't as strong as a stereo conversion might be, but that doesn't keep it from being powerful. Levels are spot on so you never have to ride the volume when things move from soft to loud. At the same time my subwoofer was having fun keeping up with the heavy base notes from the score. Free of any age related anomalies, there simply isn't anything I can knock the score for on this audio track.
Sadly no extra features were ported over from the DVD or were licensed out from the Region B release from Arrow.
'Foxy Brown' is simply one of those awesome "must own" movies in my book. From start to finish there is so much to see and enjoy. Sure, this movie may not be for everyone. But if this kind of flick is your particular brand, you can't go wrong with the absolutely stellar A/V presentation. Now, since there aren't any kind of extra features on the disc - this may be a tough sell, but I don't see this one getting reissued any time soon. This Blu-ray is a recommended purchase.
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