The Swinging Cheerleaders: an investigative journalist infiltrates a cheerleading team for an article, but ends up uncovering an even bigger story. Most interestingly, this film is made by exploitation master Jack Hill (Big Bird Cage, Coffy, Foxy Brown – and straight after those films) trying to avoid becoming a one-trick pony with ‘Blaxploitation‘ or ‘Women In Prison‘ films. Very much a snapshot of the times, every character is ‘stock’ / stereotypical, and the various plot threads are relatively straight forward. Disappointingly, this film is way more tame that you’d expect from Jack Hill, and a film called ‘The Swinging Cheerleaders’. It’s title and marketing pitch it as a sequel to ‘The Cheerleaders’ (a raunchy comedy), but this one’s a completely different beast: it’s not exploitation, or even a sex-comedy, but feels more like an educational piece about college / sex / gambling / drugs / match fixing. Think watered-down Roger Corman picture, or heavily censored Russ Meyer picture. Although The Swinging Cheerleaders is a well made and entertaining picture; it all feels a bit rushed and compromised.
As always, Arrow have given this movie the ultimate release, with a brand new 2K restoration and – as always – there are shedloads of interviews, extras, and a director’s commentary – making this an essential purchase for Cheerleader and Jack Hill fans.
Coffy: her eleven year old sister is a drug addict and her best friend has just been beaten into a coma by crooked cops; the real police aren’t making any progress so the ‘one chick hit-squad’ Coffy goes vigilante! This is the ultimate blaxploitation flick – to the point of parody, with characters like King George, ‘white devil’ speeches and very bad Jamacan accents. Coffy just wouldn’t work without a strong and sexy character like Pam Grier, (who may well be the hottest woman ever captured on film!?) dominating every scene in the film. Even today, it’s refreshing to watch an empowered heroin run around kicking ass. Despite this, every woman in the film – including Coffy – is also there for her legs, chest, ass, or all three. The film starts as it means to continue, with a potent mix of violence and nudity, epitomised by the campy but gritty chick-fight where all the ladies’ tops mysteriously get ripped off – fantastic! One of the only downers of this film is the absolutely terrible, gaudy, descriptive 70s soul music. Coffy is s cool, camp, kitsch and entertaining classic – and way better than Foxy Brown.
Foxy Brown: Pam Grier is out to avenge her junkie-loser brother and snitch boyfriend by sticking it to the man, big time. Everything from the soul / funk soundtrack to the gritty view of ‘real life’ is aimed at adolescent black guys, so for a honky to review this in one paragraph, probably won’t do it much justice. Naturally everyone evil, or with any power, is a white bigot: although the casting department went a step too far by hiring the most upper class ‘gangsters’ I’ve ever seen. The opening credits are like a cheap James Bond rip off and the action in the film’s admirable, but not quite there. Despite all the fist-clenching bro solidarity, melodramatic scenes and social issues / stereotypes raised it’s an OK action-flick, made easier to watch courtesy of Grier’s one-of-a-kind figure being flaunted throughout. Girl Power / Black Power!