Foxy Brown (1974)
By: Devon B. on July 11, 2013 | Comments
Arrow Video (UK) | Region B | 1.85:1, 1080p | English DD LPCM 2.0 | 92 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Jack Hill
Starring: Pam Grier, Peter Brown, Terry Carter, Kathryn Loder, Harry Holcombe
Screenplay: Jack Hill
Country: USA
External Links
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Usually when a nerd describes one of his film collectibles as sexy he's talking about a celebrity vagina mould, and this is a moment that invariably ostracises said nerd from everyone else, including other nerds because we don't need to hear about each other's mating habits. Arrow Video have decided to help all us geeks out by releasing Foxy Brown in a limited steelbook that has Pam Grier's picture on the front, and as everybody knows it's always appropriate to describe any likeness of Grier as sexy, so this means now when someone says he has an item in his collection that is sexy, we can all assume he's grabbed this awesome Blu-ray release, and won't have to shun him like before.

In Foxy Brown, Grier plays a woman named Foxy Brown who's super excited that her guy is finally coming out of hospital after nearly being killed by a group of organised criminals that he was helping to bust. He's had his face altered so the crims won't recognise him, but even the doctor's stellar work isn't enough to stop Foxy's brother from working out who her "new" beau is. He gives her partner up in order to clear a debt, which leaves Foxy no choice but to take down the whole racket singlehandedly.

Foxy Brown is a decent blaxploitation action flick with a few shoot outs, car chases and lesbian bar fights. More happens in this one than in some of the other blaxploitation movies I've seen, but admittedly I mostly stuck to the horror blaxploitation releases in the past so maybe my perception of how action packed these movies are is way off. Jack Hill's direction is always competent, and the film does a fair job of keeping the usual revenge story more interesting by throwing in some wild moments. Some people say it's a shadow of the film that preceded it, Coffy, but Foxy Brown is an okay film in its own right, but it would be somewhat forgettable if it weren't for its secret weapon.

As with any film she's involved with, Grier elevates the movie's class and absolutely commands the viewer's attention. Smart, strong, independent, loving, sensual and brutal, it is virtually impossible to not be captivated by Grier whenever she's on screen, which is a good chunk of Foxy Brown's run time. I'm not saying that Grier's headlights aren't a highlight, but there's more going on here than just having the best looking movie star of all time in the film. Grier exudes a fiery charisma that is as captivating as it is irresistible, and she appeals equally to either gender. Women could look up to this character that gets the job that needs doing done, and men could do the same or just bask in Grier's glory, so it was win win for everyone. It's no wonder that Grier became so adored, because she ticks all the boxes for a sexploitation star, but here she does it while keeping her dignity intact and even when her character's victimised it doesn't crush her spirit.

I'm not saying Grier can salvage anything because like I mentioned in my review of Above the Law even she couldn't save Scream Blacula Scream, but with Foxy Brown she elevates a formulaic revenge story into an absolute classic, and gives this movie far more respectability than it would've had otherwise.
The Disc
While Foxy Brown is still clearly a lower budget 70s film, Arrow have done a great job with this transfer. There were a few seconds of edge enhancement and a bit of black(sploitation) crush, but other than that I didn't notice any real faults with the transfer. There are still some flecks and spots, but this release looks almost as fantastic as Grier herself. The audio is a purist's delight LPCM track that is bright and clear, with the funky score sounding wonderful. There are a few touches of distortion, but they are clearly source related.

The Blu-ray comes with a booklet featuring text by author Josiah Howard and an interview with Grier. On the Blu-ray there's a commentary with writer/director Hill; interviews; a documentary about blaxploitation; trailers for Spider Baby, Pit Stop, The Big Doll House, The Big Bird Cage, Coffy, Foxy Brown, The Swinging Cheerleaders, Switchblade Sisters and Sorceress; and a rather small image gallery. On the commentary Hill makes it clear, repeatedly, that he prefers Coffy and points out some of the issues that made Foxy Brown the lesser film in his eyes, with things like static budgets and studio interference creating problems. The first interview is a 20 minute discussion with Sid Haig, who has a small role in Foxy Brown. Haig covers his career in general, talking about Hill and his chance to work with the legendary Lon Chaney, Jr., but Haig also talks about Grier and Foxy Brown. The second interview runs nearly the same length and is with stuntman Bob Minor, a charming guy who clearly enjoyed his work and is very proud of it. The documentary, called Back to Black, features Fred "The Hammer" Williamson, Austin Stoker, Rosanne Katon and Howard S. Berger giving an overview of the genre. It's a good intro to these films, but won't offer much new insight to people that are already familiar with them. There's also an Easter egg. From the special features menu press up on "Audio commentary with Jack Hill" to see the Hammer's take on American Gangster.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
The only problem with this Blu-ray is that Grier hasn't taken part in any of the on screen supplements, but I'm sure Arrow would've tried to secure her so that can't be held against them. The mini-documentary helps alleviate this, and the film itself looks and sounds amazing. Not owning the steelbook edition might make people's collections less sexy, but I'm sure the regular edition is pretty damn sweet, too.
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