Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 5th, 2013
BluRay released: June 24th, 2013
Approximate running times: 92 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Arrow Video
Region Coding: Region B
Retail Price: £22.99
Foxy Brown was written and directed by Jack Hill, who had previously worked with Pam Grier on three other occasions, The Big Doll House, The Big Bird Cage and Coffy. Other notable films that he directed include Spider Baby and Switchblade Sisters. The score for Foxy Brown was composed by Willie Hutch, who is most known for his output with the Motown record label, most notably his collaborations with the Jackson Five.
Though Foxy Brown originally started off as a sequel to Jack Hill / Pam Grier’s previous collaboration Coffy. This idea was quickly shelved by AIP International the company that released the film. This abrupt change of direction forced the newly christened Foxy Brown to make many changes on the fly. And though the film does at times suffer from this last minute change of direction. The end result is a film that actually rises above the sum of its parts because of the aforementioned adversity that befell this film production.
Where Jack Hill / Pam Grier’s previous collaboration Coffy was more gritty and rough around the edges. Foxy Brown takes the basics of what made that aforementioned film so successful and gives them a polished upscale makeover. As mentioned before the plot for Foxy Brown is simple and to the point. And if you are looking for well rounded or characters that are even slightly fleshed out. Then you should look elsewhere. Since this film’s protagonist has virtually no back story and she just basically exists to further this revenge themed film from one vengeance set piece to the next. And though this is something that might affect the majority of similar themed films. That is not the case here since this film is first and foremost is all about its leading lady Pam Grier, who dominates every frame she appears in.
Speaking of Pam Grier it is hard to imagine any other film that she has ever appeared in that showcases her beauty in the way that Foxy Brown does. And in the case of Foxy Brown more than any other film that she has appeared in, she proves without a shadow of a doubt that her undeniable charisma is a force to reckon with. Also to say that she looks stunning for most of the film would be a mammoth understatement. Sure the clothes and decor throughout this film look dated, but then that is also part of its appeal.
Besides Pam Grier the film features several other recognizable faces is supporting cast roles. Most notably Sid Haig (Spider Baby) in the role of a sleazy bar patron tries to pick up Foxy Brown and Antonio Fargas (‘Starsky and Hutch’) in the role of Foxy Brown’s trouble making brother Link.
By the time that Foxy Brown arrived on scene the Blaxploitation had long since reached its apex. With that being said it should not come as a surprise that outside of Foxy Brown, there really aren’t any other Blaxploitation that have left their mark on future generations. So then why has Foxy Brown preserved after all these years? The answer is simple, the film gives its audiences what it wants and then some. If ever there was a film that delivered ‘fanfare’ that film would be Foxy Brown!
Foxy Brown comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. The sourced used for this transfer looks very, very good. Colors look appropriately robust, black and contrast levels look consistently good and details look crisp throughout. There are no problems with DNR or compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix English. Range and depth are consistently good throughout. Dialog always comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. Also included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles.
Extras for this release include a image gallery, three featurettes, the first one titled ‘From Black and White to Blaxploitation’ (19 minutes 53 seconds – 1080 progressive widescreen), the second one titled ‘Not so minor Influence’ (18 minutes 57 seconds – 1080 progressive widescreen) and the third one titled ‘Back to Black’ (25 minutes 7 seconds – 1080 progressive widescreen).
The first two featurette’s ‘From Black and White to Blaxploitation’ and ‘Not so minor Influence’ are essentially careers retrospectives for actor Sid Haig and stuntman Bob minor, while the third featurette includes comments from actor / director Fred Williamson, actress Roseanne Katon, actor Austin Stoker and filmmaker / filmscholar Howard S. Berger about the Blaxploitation genre. Other extras includes a informative an audio commentary with screenwriter / director Jack Hill and a Jack Hill trailer gallery.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art and a collectable booklet with a essay about the film written by Josiah Howard, author of Blaxploitation Cinema: The Essential Reference Guide, a new interview with Pam Grier by Jack Hill biographer Calum Waddell, illustrated with original archive stills and posters. Overall Arrow Video gives Foxy Brown its best home video release to date.
Note: Arrow Video are also releasing this film in a steelbook edition.