Written by: Carroll Jenkins on August 14th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1974
Director: Jonathan Kaplan
Writers: Michael Allin, Oscar Williams
Cast: Isaac Hayes, Yaphet Kotto, Annazette Chase, Alan Weeks
DVD released: January 9th, 2001
Approximate running time: 91 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
Subtitles: Spanish, French
DVD Release: MGM/UA
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.98
Synopsis: A team of black skip tracers (“bounty hunters”) go after a vicious pimp and get caught in the crossfire of a player’s civil war. There seems to be no end in sight.
Isaac Hayes died a few days ago at age 65, and this movie is a fine vehicle to remember him by. The soundtrack written and performed by Hayes, and he stars in the lead role. The music is similar in style to Shaft with wah wah guitar and orchestration, but it suites the movie just fine. Hayes was no great thespian and gets shut down by Yapphet Kotto’s fine performance as the primary adversary, but he grooves his way through the flick being cool, spouting one-liners, and flashing personality. He apparently did not use a double for any fight scenes, so he was really bad as well.
This is an action movie filmed by Corman protégé Jonathan Kaplan (Over The Edge). He delivers the goods considering the low budget. The surroundings are gritty, the dialog is intensely graphic and non-PC throughout. For those too young to know (or too sheltered) that is how they [we] talked. Jack Hill (Coffy) and Larry Cohen (Black Caesar) may have produced more meaningful films, but Truck Turner is probably the most consistently entertaining blaxploitationer of them all.
The main characters are Yapphet Kotto (Bone) as the power hungry pimp Harvard Blue, Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek) as a foul mouthed and murderous madam, and Annazette Chase (The Mack) very appealing as Truck’s down-to-earth old lady who can’t pass up a five fingered discount.
The script is well written with considerable humor especially in the off-hand conversations and small bits of business. Dan Megowan (Creation Of The Humanoids) is on hand, as is Corman regular Dick Miller, and the great Scatman Crothers as a retired pimp.
This Soul Cinema release is 1:85 widescreen anamorphic and has some minor issues, most probably due to the cheap film stock. The Subtitles are French and Spanish, but English Closed Captioning is provided. Sound is good and Isaac’s score comes through loud and clear, waka waka waka.
Truck Turner starts off fast and furious and then hits the supercharger. This a film that could never be made today, so let’s have a minute of silence for Isaac and then revel in this fine piece of “specialty” filmmaking.