In the opening minutes of Coffy, Pam Grier's star-making role, she blasts the skull of a sleazy drug pusher into pulp like a watermelon and shoots his junkie assistant with an overdose of heroin. Coffy is an emergency room nurse by day and vigilante by night, targeting the dealers who made her sister a comatose junkie. She works her way up to the Italian mobsters muscling into the ghetto drug trade while she's romanced by a smooth-talking politician Booker Bradshaw and wooed by nice-guy cop William Elliot, whose refusal to sell out to the corrupt force earns him a crippling beating.
There's plenty of sex, a catty girl-fight that leaves the losers topless, and car chases and shootouts galore, but what makes Coffy a blaxploitation classic is Grier's Amazonian presence and fiery charisma, and the gritty, low-budget action scenes marked by visceral, wincing violence. Mob strong-arm Sid Haig (Spider Baby) cackles while dragging his victim (a strutting peacock pimp played by Nashville's Robert DoQui) behind a speeding car in a sadistic lynching, and Grier runs down one bad guy with a speeding car and takes care of another with a shotgun to the groin. Her next picture, Foxy Brown, was originally written as the sequel to Coffy
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