[box cover]

Truck Turner

After Isaac Hayes won an Oscar for his music in Shaft, and then after appearing on the Academy Award show decked out in chains, someone must have thought it was a good idea to make a movie around his large presence. Thus AIP — the kings of blaxploitation — gave Hayes the starring role in Truck Turner. Cast as Mac "Truck" Turner, Hayes plays a "skip-tracer" (a bounty hunter for folks who have skipped out on their bail) who likes to get the job done. Put on the trail of a violent pimp named Gator (Paul Harris), Truck and his sidekick Jerry (Alan Weeks) catch up with their quarry, but they wind up killing him. And unfortunately, Gator's woman Dorinda (Star Trek's Nichelle Nichols) is a madam, and she loved her man so much so she's willing to sell her stable of ladies to get Truck killed. Only one pimp seems up for it, Harvard Blue (Yaphett Kotto), but Blue can tell that Truck is one mean mother. Many movies have starred musicians-turned-actors, from Mahogany to Cool as Ice, but few are as good as Truck Turner, mostly due to the script — Hayes gets to be charismatic throughout, and even though the action scenes are limited in budget, all are exciting. It also has the benefit of some good villains, which always helps (although Trekkies might be upset to hear their beloved Uhura swearing like a longshoreman — nonetheless, she's hilarious as a lady pimp). Kotto is always quite effective, and Scatman Crothers and Dick Miller have good cameos as a retired pimp and a bail bondsman, respectively. The best scene in the film is when Turner is late picking up his woman (Annazette Chase), who just got released from the joint. He's obviously been drinking, and she asks if he got her flowers; Turner responds "I got beer!" Then follows one of the funniest film seductions in recent memory, as Turner promises to stop for some drive-thru before they have sex. Hayes also provides the score, which adds some good tunes to the film. MGM's DVD edition of Truck Turner comes with a widescreen transfer (1.85:1) and the original monaural audio. Trailer, keep-case.

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