Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Truck Turner (1974, Jonathan Kaplan)

Isaac Hayes I've known about for a long time, though not as an actor. Unless you include his voice talents for the character Chef on the animated South Park television series, I knew him as "the guy who sang the Shaft theme song". I think the first time I saw Hayes as an actor was either in the William Lustig film Uncle Sam or in Keenan Ivory Wayans' I'm Gonna Git You Sucka. The first time I heard of the film Truck Turner was actually on a movie poster in the Brattle Theater in Cambridge, MA. I had no idea what the film was and soon after read that it was a Blaxploitation film. Still not knowing or thinking much about the film, I just decided to throw it on for the Blax marathon and all I have to say is "WHOA!"

"Mack" Truck Turner (Isaac Hayes) is an ex football player turned Bail Bondsman/Bounty Hunter. He and his partner Jerry (Alan Weeks) are hired to bring in a Pimp named Gator (Paul Harris). After a long chase, they finally kill Gator in self defense but (in a surprisingly scary scene) one of his bitches stabs Jerry. Though Jerry survives, He and Truck soon find themselves being hunted after a hit is put out for Truck by Gator's woman, who is now in charge of his "stable".

As far as urban action/exploitation films go, Truck Turner is a revelation. It had some of the best car chases I've seen, frantic gun and fist fights, beautiful women, kick ass heroes, and a good story. Of course there are also the pimps (they are the bad guys in this one), the lead being played excellently by Blaxploitation regular Yaphet Kotto. I'll also give a shout out to the pimp who had a different eye patch to match each of his pimp suits. One of the other things that really surprised (and delighted) me about the film was its humor. Truck's foul mouthed wisecracks (some of the funniest of which are to his cat) had me in hysterics. The direction is also well done and the film was directed by Johnathan Kaplan, who also directed one of my favorite films Over the Edge. Overall this film was a very pleasant surprise and delivered on many different levels. I could really find no fault in this film. I'd go so far as to call it pretty much perfect.

RATING: 10/10

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