Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Truck Turner

Truck Turner (1974)
Dir:Jonathan Kaplan (The Slams/Night Call Nurses)
Starring: Isaac Hayes ( I'm Gonna Git You Sucka!/CB4/South Park)
Yaphet Kotto (Bone/Friday Foster/Roots/The Running Man)
Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek) Scatman Crothers (Slaughter's Big Rip Off/The Shining/One flew over The Cuckoo's Nest/ Detroit 9000)

After the huge success of the Shaft series of films and the popularity of the soundtrack for that film, Composer/Musician Isaac Hayes was offered his own chance to be a Urban Super Hero and the outcome is Truck Turner. I must say, Mr. Hayes does one hell of a job portraying the knock off Shaft and makes this movie stand out on it's own merits.
 Truck Turner follows Bounty hunter Mac "Truck" Turner as he collects bounties and pals around with his partner Jimmy. Watching these two play off each other is what great buddy cop films are made of as their back and forth banter is believable and at times downright hilarious. Turner and Jimmy are approached by a rival bail bondsman company with a huge bounty for catching notorious Pimp Leroy "Gator" Johnson, After some haggling over the cash amount for bringing in such a dangerous vigilante the two set out to capture the Lowly pimp. Truck first approaches  Dorrinda (Nichelle Nichols), Gators bottom bitch in order to find some info on where he could be found and as a faithful servant to her employer she gives them nothing. After the dead end jimmy spots Gator pulling up to speak with her and The two hunters engage in a hot pursuit that leads the guys across town in a long car chase. After wrecking several cars and damaging a ton of public property Gator flees on foot before tricking Truck and Jimmy stealing their own car and then slipping into a bar and paying the patrons to fight off Truck and his Partner while making an escape.

After losing their perp truck decides to pay a visit to a retired pimp and old Friend Duke ( Scatman Crothers) to gather some Intel on Gator and he learns that a rival pimp Harvard Blue ( Yaphet Kotto) is also looking to take out Gator in order to take over his stable. Duke leads Truck to an informant and drug runner " Druggist".
After bullying some info out of the dealer The guys finally catch up with gator and fail to bring in their perp after killing Gator in a shootout. Unfortunately Jimmy is injured before they can celebrate he is stabbed by one of Gators girls, But not fatally.

While Jimmy re-cooperates, Truck reconnects with his jailbird girlfriend over some fried chicken as Gators Funeral takes place. During the services All the towns pimps gather to pay their respects and sprinkle coke on his corpse, But Gators Rival Blue arrives to scope out the stable and spit on Gators body before making his leave. Shortly after the wake Dorrinda has taken over Gators stable and she sets out to put a bounty of her own on the head of Turner. Promising whomever can take him out her control of the stable and a large percentage of gators cut as well.

The success of Gators girls is to tempting to pass up and several of the lower tier pimps take their crack at the bounty only to be disposed of with ease by stone cold Truck Turner. After the failure of the fellow pimps, Blue decides to step up to the plate but his demands are greater and after they are agreed upon Blue calls in his "Insurance" which consists of a gang of professional hit men. Blue then goes straight for Truck by attacking his bail bond boss and Truck receives a disturbing phone call from Nate. Truck sends Jimmy to check it out and this leads to Jimmy being ambushed and shot down. Truck visits Nate in the hospital and is informed of the bounty on his head so he does what any Bad Ass would do and goes straight for Blue's headquarters. Upon arriving at Harvard's Compound he spots the Hit men and takes em out with guns blazing but no sign of Blue. Turner once again visits Nate in the hospital to sneak him in a gun for protection when Blue makes the scene and we get our final standoff with Turner of course coming out on top.

Truck Turner is pretty much the prototypical Blaxploitation flick. Ghetto super hero gets the bad guy like always, What does set this one apart from some is that it is actually acted quite well especially considering using a Musician with really no prior acting experience as the lead. Isaac Hayes does come through in this performance and his character and the relationship between Truck and Jimmy in the first half of the film is truly awesome showcasing some of the funniest and coolest buddy cop dialog I have ever seen or heard. the two actually come off as legitimate friends who care for one another. One more thing is Yaphet Kotto is great in his role of Harvard Blue which is not too surprising  and  Nichelle Nichols as the vicious ex-hooker turned Madame Dorinda is tremendous. Truck Turner is not as goofy and over the top as many of the Blaxploitation films that were flooding the cinemas during the 70's with the exception of a few of the smaller pimp characters, For the most part this is just a downright good action film in the tradition of Shaft. Although as the Shaft series went on it got more and more thin I could see this films being a true sleeper hit with fans of the genre that were getting tired of The original Bad Mother " Shut yo' Mouth" , Yeah I'm Talking bout' Shaft.
So now for my special ratings system.....
Ass-Kickin': 7 (Lot's of guns blazing and ass kicking in this one, But somewhat light on the gore)
Ass and tittays: 2 (A movie about pimps with only one pair of tits? Thats some cold shit)
Jive:8 ( Some of the best buddy cop dialog ever and plenty of M.F's and N bombs tossed around)
Funk:7 ( Not as good as they Shaft soundtrack but, I mean it is still Isaac Hayes Nuff' said)
Playa's and Whitey's:8 ( Great actors playing awesome characters and not all of them the traditional stereotypes of the genre)
Overall on the Funk-o-Meter : 7.5 out of 10

No comments:

Post a Comment