While most fans think of Foxy Brown when Pam Grier's name is mentioned, I've always preferred her earlier collaboration with director Walter Hill -- the blaxploitation classic, Coffy. This isn't to say that I don't love Foxy Brown to death, but for my money, Coffy's just a little better in all the key areas save for over-the-top violence. You really can't go wrong with either flick, of course, but if your only experience with Grier's cinema is catching her in Tarantino's Jackie Brown, then you really owe it to yourself to see the film that made her the queen of blaxploitation cinema.
Grier plays the title character in the film, a nurse by day who turns into an avenging angel after dark. Coffy's waging a one-woman war against drug pushers, crooked cops, and mobsters after her 11-year-old sister shoots up some tainted heroin, and like her male counterparts she's willing to get her hands dirty to make the bad guys pay. Grier is fantastic in the role because unlike a lot of female actresses, she's actually willing to do stunts and fight and really sell the physical aspects of the part. She's a believable badass who dukes it out with the pushers and pimps who cross her path. Plus, she accessorizes well -- just check out her sawed off shotgun and polka-dot dress ensemble in the film's opening. That's hot.
Coffy's also interesting because it tweaks the blaxploitation formula in compelling ways -- mainly having a female lead character as opposed to the standard tough guy who gets all the chicks. Grier isn't just some floozy like most of the women in those early films, she's a force to be reckoned with -- hiding razorblades in her afro, getting into brawls (which always end with women losing their tops), and blasting badguys in the face. No discussion of badass women in cinema is complete without a mention of Coffy.
This one has all the blaxploitation staples you could ever hope for: violence, crazy street slang, a theme song with lots of "wackacha" in it, nudity, and a pimp with a feather in his hat. Dig it at Slashcontrol where you can experience one of Pam Grier's finest hours for yourself.