Blu-ray Review: FOXY BROWN (1974)

PrintE-mail Written by Joel Harley

Review: Foxy Brown / Cert: 18 / Director: Jack Hill / Screenplay: Jack Hill / Starring: Pam Grier, Antonio Fargas, Peter Brown / Release Date: Out Now

Blaxploitation icon Pam Grier resurfaces in her signature role in this re-release from the fine folks at Arrow Video. That's right, it's Jack Hill's Foxy Brown, now available on Blu-ray. You dig?

There's been a recent resurgence of interest in exploitation cinema, buoyed by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's Grindhouse features (particularly the latter's Machete), so it's interesting to see the return of the genuine article. Is Foxy Brown still good, or have her charms been blunted by the spoofs and homages of Black Dynamite (a personal favourite), Django Unchained and their ilk?

When a local drug syndicate shoots her government agent boyfriend, street-smart tough gal Foxy Brown (Grier) seeks revenge. Posing as a prostitute to find the culprits, Foxy finds herself in a series of compromising, dangerous and sexy situations. Mostly the latter (they don't call it 'exploitation' for nothing) but with a little gore and the occasional well-staged fight scene in-between. It's not great, but nor is it a complete (jive) turkey either. Funky, funny and sexy, and with a great lead performance from Pam Grier, it's every bit as worthwhile as the movies it inspired (especially today's glut of deliberately bad ones).

On the evidence of this, it's not hard to see why Grier went on to become something of a cult icon and favourite of such directors as Tarantino (who had her in the lead role in Jackie Brown) and Tim Burton (who had her bringing one of the film's best laughs in Mars Attacks!, with some top notch parenting skills). The film looks great too, very stylish and sexy. Foxy's has to be one of the best movie afros I've ever seen. To quote brother Link, “She's a whole lot of woman.”

As with all Arrow Video Blu-Ray releases, Foxy Brown comes with a whole host of indispensable special features. It may be but a lowly exploitation feature, but you can count on Arrow to treat it with the reverence and respect it deserves. Is Foxy Brown super bad? Maybe not quite as much as it once was. Still, I can dig it.

Extras: Audio commentary with Jack Hill / 3 Featurettes / Trailer reel / Collector's booklet

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