Foxy Brown Review
Foxy Brown was originally conceived as a sequel to Coffy, but after some of the other sequels being produced by American International Pictures at the time flopped, writer/director Jack Hill was asked to amend the script into a standalone film. Despite this change, the sensible decision was made to still cast Pam Grier as the lead and so she was provided with probably her most famous pre-Jackie Brown role.
In terms of plot, Foxy Brown is essentially a remake of Coffy, with Pam Grier's character again seeking revenge on the drug dealers responsible for the death of someone close to her. However, while Coffy was unashamed of its exploitation movie status, it seems that Foxy Brown may have been an attempt by Jack Hill to make a more serious movie. The plot is a little more complex and there are more attempts at character development, but this only serves to leaden the pace. The outrageousness and exuberance of the earlier film have also been lost in the process.
The presence of Antonio Fargas, better known to millions as Huggy Bear from Starsky and Hutch, is certainly welcome, but otherwise too much time is spent focusing on the supporting characters when all we really want to see is Pam Grier in violent action.
A scene in a lesbian bar foreshadows Jack Hill's later whitexploitation flick Switchblade Sisters and also provides the film's only real highlight, which comes in the form of two lines of dialogue. When one of the bar-dwellers warns Foxy that she has a black belt in karate, Foxy responds by knocking her opponent out with a handy piece of bar furniture before declaring that she has 'a black belt in barstools'.
Aside from this one flash of cheesy brilliance, Foxy Brown proves to be a disappointment and offers little of the unintentional humour and outrageousness that helped to redeem Coffy.
Part of MGM's Soul Cinema series, the DVD is a single-layer DVD-5 encoded for Regions 2 and 4.
The film is presented in what is clearly an un-restored anamorphic transfer. Colours are suitably garish and strong. The black level is reasonable, but there is a lack of shadow detail. There is film grain throughout, particularly in the darker scenes, and print flecks make an occasional appearance.
The soundtrack is available only in the original mono. The dialogue is clear, but Willie Hutch's funky score is poorly served and the sound effects are rendered in an underwhelming fashion.
The UK release lacks the Jack Hill commentary present on the US edition. This leaves just the theatrical trailer, which manages to fulfil all expectations that anybody might have of a blaxploitation trailer and provides at least as much entertainment in its short two-minute runtime as the film itself.
Foxy Brown may have iconic status within the blaxploitation genre, but Jack Hill and Pam Grier's previous team-up Coffy is a more entertaining film, so those wishing to sample the genre for the first time are advised to try the earlier film instead.
Genre enthusiasts who want to add Foxy Brown to their collection are advised to buy the US release rather than this UK edition, as it benefits from the inclusion of a feature-length commentary from writer/director Jack Hill.