Comfortable and Furious


First of all, who the hell is this guy?
In a world of Shafts, Coffys, Black Caesars, and Superflys, there is but one Truck. Mac “Truck” Turner, to be exact, the world’s most efficient bounty hunter. You see, it’s not enough to simply follow a brother, or hunt a brother down, or even corner a brother into surrender. You must also shoot a brother. Dead, if necessary, and after a chase scene so long and protracted that there’s time for no fewer than four pops of Roger Ebert’s inescapable Fruit Cart Rule. It’s amazing how street vendors never haul their wares from corner to corner when the guns fall silent.


The dead brother in question…I take it we’re talking about that Gator fella?

Richard Leroy “Gator” Johnson, a no-good pimp so revered in the business community that he’s given a king’s funeral, complete with mourners tapping cigarette ash into his open coffin. It’s one hell of a service, attracting every conceivable pimp and ho in the tri-state area, who all have the good sense to pay their last respects in outfits that do their level best to expose as much ass cheek as possible. Gator’s also the sort of man who inspires a second-tier madam to blow up his image super-size and place it over her couch. And while Gator is chased for a quarter of the film’s running time, through streets and back alleys alike, using all manner of car and truck, it’s appropriate that he end his days with his girls, who are there to witness his final curtain.


Ah yes, but doesn’t this last hurrah feature one of the era’s greatest scenes of attempted murder?

Of course you’re speaking of the glassy-eyed, stoned-ass cracker bitch who makes every effort to save her beloved Gator, if sprinting from the house with milky tits flapping in the wind while wielding the world’s most colossal pair of scissors can be considered attempted murder. Dead to the world except to protect her precious cub, the foolish whore does manage to plant said scissors in the shoulder blade of Truck’s partner, Jerry, but is quickly sent to heaven for her trouble.


So how the fuck did Uhura get involved in all this?

Showing chops that might have gotten her cowering communications officer a quick promotion, or at the very least a forbidden tryst in sick bay with Captain Kirk himself, Nichelle Nichols is Dorinda, the aforementioned madam who runs her stable like an acid-tongued bitch with nothing to lose. Gator be her man, and once he’s dead, a hellish fury is released that is destined to leave dozens dead, herself included. Only she’s offering a generous percentage of her girls as payment for services rendered, which, if we are to believe the sales pitch, means well over a quarter-million dollars in revenue. When she’s not gliding into the room in the era’s top breast-exposing fashions, she’s threatening to cut the throats of everyone not nailed down. She’s so hostile to her girls, in fact, that she long ago dispensed with proper names, preferring “bitch” at every conceivable opportunity. And then, in a scene destined to rock the masturbatory foundations of every Trekkie who ever dared consider a trip to the chocolate kingdom, she conducts an impromptu “fashion show” with her top pussy, describing their talents as if conducting a thoroughbred auction. My personal favorite remains “Turnpike” – the girl so named because “you got to pay to get on and pay to get off.”


What about Dorinda’s best one-liner?

When asked by a pimp what she wants, she snaps back like a rattlesnake: “A bucket o’ blood….I want the nigger who wasted Gator.” Yes, this is just enough to stifle the groans that follow the less clever, more obvious, “Her clients call her Colonel Sanders because she’s finger lickin’ good!”


Need I ask if Dorinda gets her wish of watching Truck die?

Numerous pimps, emboldened by dreams of sharing in Dorinda’s pussy empire, make feeble attempts on Truck’s life, but all are quickly shot down by Dirty Harry’s iconic firearm, on loan from the man until Magnum Force. A particular gem is when some nitwit lands a direct hit, only to learn that Truck’s bag of groceries – at best a loaf of bread and quart of milk – is enough to send the bullet careening into some unfortunate passerby. But Truck’s aim is sure and true, and not even numerous attempts on his life, to say nothing of the not-so-secret word on the street that the country’s craziest bitch has a price on his head, will keep him from strolling freely without protection or fear. Things get even more serious when Truck returns to his kleptomaniac girlfriend’s house to discover her beloved cat hanging like so much freezer meat. Shit’s on, now.


Clearly the handiwork of one Harvard Blue, am I right?

Played by the reliably menacing Yaphet Kotto, Mr. Blue is the biggest, baddest pimp of them all; a man so cocksure and defiant that he thinks nothing of coming all the way to Gator’s funeral just to spit in the corpse’s face. And yet, the disrespect is handled with such grace that you can’t help but conclude that poor Gator deserved it. Needless to say, he’ll be the last pimp standing in the race to kill Truck, but not even the best dressed are allowed to survive. How appropriate, though, that Harvard gets the best death scene of them all, one that might live down through the ages in Rasputinian lore. Shot again and again, Blue refuses to go down, stumbling away from Truck in a strut best described as epileptic break dancing. He sways to and fro, the knees buckle, and, just for good measure, Blue’s face is filmed in dizzy, extreme close-up, eyes bugging, mouth gasping for air, to say nothing of existential understanding. But he does in fact die, though I’ll be damned if a good eight minutes didn’t lapse from the initial cannon blast that removed his heart and lungs, to his final, blood-gurgling moment. Blue’s death, operatic and grand, is a striking contrast to Dorinda’s expiration, which occurs almost as an afterthought. Truck shoots her but once, in the belly no less, when surely we deserved a jazzy seduction, naked embrace, and good hard slap to the mug before having her thrown off a ten-story balcony.



All sounds like a standard tale of redemption and empowerment, but surely they crossed the line into outright racism?

Language aside, this is probably the most racially sensitive picture of the period, despite the stereotypes, dehumanization, calculated celebration of revenge, animal cruelty, and gratuitous allusions to fried chicken. Even here, one reference is a clear joke (a groaner at that), and the other simply proves that while a sister might enjoy a drumstick while Mr. Hayes coos on the soundtrack, it’s not enough to stifle her desire for the male form. And let’s not forget, a good half-dozen of the pimps are lily white, even if they dress like Elton John from his “Bennie and the Jets” period.


Still, any surprises?

Isaac Hayes wasn’t shirtless nearly as often as I expected. And, for a black action hero, he all but stayed the hell away from the bedroom. My god, he even has a girlfriend! One he cares for so much that he frames her for shoplifting so she can rest in jail to avoid the gunfire to follow. And what the fuck is Scatman Crothers doing with a full head of hair? Sure, it’s an obvious wig from the dipped-in-oil Sammy Davis, Jr. collection, but to deny us the iconic shining dome is like giving us blaxploitation without rubbing our suburban noses in the rape of at least one innocent white woman. At least we’ll always have this exchange between Truck and his woman: “So, this is your idea of a good night, huh? Get me drunk and then screw me.” “Okay, okay…we’ll get something to eat first.” Killer, badass, gentleman.


And what the fuck, I mean, what the fuck, was up with that hospital shootout finale?

A disabled man fires enough rounds to bring down a Panzer division. Doctors are butchered mid-surgery. Nurses, aides, and candy-stripers run for cover. Old ladies are shoved from their wheelchairs. And a sick young child, innocent as all get out, is grabbed by Harvard Blue and has a gun put to his wee cranium. It’s just about the craziest thing seen all decade. And yet all I could think about was whether or not that dirty pimp had health insurance.