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Isaac Hayes is bail bondsman Truck Turner; he's a man's man, no he's a
man's man's man. Charming with the ladies and mean with the baddies,
"he's like a bulldog with eyes up his ass". For someone more famous for
his funky and cool music, which also won him the Oscar for the score of
Shaft, Hayes displays an abundance of natural charisma and screen
presence that it's really a shame he didn't have more lead roles in his
day. He was also considered for the role of Shaft but it ended up in
Richard Roundtree's hands.
Truck Turner the movie is every bit the blaxploitation classic one should expect. Filled with hot rods, jive ass broads, pimps and crooks, superb dialogues in that outdated but always funny 70's genre lingo and enough slow motion gunfights to equal Sam Peckinpah, Truck Turner is a thrill a minute and one of the best the genre has to offer. It starts off as a buddy movie as Turner and his bail bondsman friend are trying to track down a pimp called Gator and before long it turns 180 degrees into a revenge movie to rival Coffy. There's a long chase sequence in the first act that ranks among the best of the decade: it has everything from cars chasing and crushing their way through anything to gunfights en route and ends with a good old bar fight. That's just one of the good parts of the movie, as it manages to work on all levels: the action is nice in that good old fashioned way, the dialogues are not just filler, the drama works when it has to and the comedic timing is spot on.
Eighteen days from the posting of this review Isaac Hayes passed away and heaven became a little funkier. We'll always have stuff like Truck Turner to remember and cherish him for. RIP man.
After months of searching, I finally caught up with the Isaac Hayes blaxploitation hit Truck Turner. It's just not fair! This great action movie, Hayes' only lead role ever, is amazingly hard to find! I paid $15 to buy it at a Best Buy store, and I really got my money's worth. While I expected something along the lines of Shaft (and I wasn't disappointed there), I noticed a lot of similarities between this movie, made in 1974, and recent releases like L.A. Confidential and Jackie Brown! The plot: Hayes plays Mack "Truck" Turner, a former football star who was forced to retire due to an injury. Now he works as a bounty hunter with his partner Jerry (Alan Weeks is great!) When he kills his most recent target, a pimp named Gator, he's in trouble with Mack Daddy Harvard Blue and his vicious hoes, as well as a one-eyed assassin and a lot of other unpleasant characters! Isaac Hayes proves that he can act almost as good as he can sing! Nichelle Nicols of "Star Trek" gives the second-best performance in the movie as a hoe, Scatman Crothers is slick as Duke, the only pimp who backs Truck, and Annazette Chase is surprisingly good as Truck's lady! This one is a real classic. If you like Isaac Hayes, or "blaxploitation", and you find this movie somewhere, no matter how much it costs, buy it. It's worth it. **** out of ****
Truck Turner and his partner Jerry are bounty hunters for bail bonds
men. Turner has a reputation for being an intimidating and confident
force and can command top dollar for the jobs nobody else is willing to
take. When the job of retrieving pimp Gator Johnson turns sour, Tuner
has to kill Gator and invokes the ire of his girl Dorinda. While
Dorinda tries to hold her stable of girls together in a male dominated
industry, she offers up a significant business share in her girls to
the man who is able to kill Turner for her revenge.
I have taken recently to watching some Blaxploitation films mostly because I find the genre to be agreeably trashy and in a way the weaknesses can be accepted and almost enjoyed as part of the experience that you have come for. Trashily made, violent, tough black male leads, gorgeous females with lots of sass, funky soundtrack, solid action and unintentional laughs all of these things sort of come with the territory. Truck Turner actually stands out as one of the more enjoyable of the genre, while still very much being a genre film with all the staples in place. The film is built on the usual sense of tough cool in the packaging and in the lead character and the plot pretty much does what you expect as a revenge plot provides plenty of gun battles and bright red blood squibs going off none of it particularly thrilling but none of it dull either.
Where it actually benefits is in the casting. Hayes is not the best actor of course but he does have a lazy cool charm about him and he leads the film well. He is totally out-acted though by Nichelle Nichols who is not only sexy but is convincingly full of murderous rage as others have said, it is a world away from her character on Star Trek but she really dominates the screen here with a marvellously over the top and driven house-mother harpie. Kotto is not quite as good but he is a very good presence and deserved to be used a bit better than he was. That said he still rocks most of his scenes and is rewarded with a memorable final scene. Weeks is funny, Chase is cute and beyond that everyone is par for the genre course, with plenty of bad hair and overacting in the men and lots of flesh in the women.
Truck Turner is still a genre film of course and it needs to be met on those terms but it does stand out as a good example of the genre tough, cool, good performances, lots of pimp etc stereotypes and plenty of silly gun action. Far from being a great film, it is still a very good genre piece.
This is a 10 out of 10, amazing black action film from 1974. Pre-Scientology Isaac Hayes acts plain ig'nant as bad ass bounty hunter Mack "Truck" Turner. The movie is brimming with action, great music, and hilarious dialogue and situations. There are almost too many great things about the movie. Yaphet Kotto is one of the most underrated actors ever, and he's amazing as the evil pimp Velvet Blue! Lt. Uhura from Star Trek as a merciless female pimp! A white pimp with a diamond studded eyepatch! This is a movie that every adult in America should see, seriously. I could never find words to describe how absolutely amazing and entertaining this movie is. SEE IT, NOW!!!!!!! I'm surprised that this movie isn't more well known and celebrated in the world of blaxploitation.
A fan of 70s Blaxploitation cinema, I've had "Truck Turner" of 1974
sitting on my DVD shelf for some time now, always eager to watch it,
and the recent death of Isaac Hayes (R.I.P. big man) was reason enough
to finally do so. And I was not disappointed. Isaac Hayes is probably
most prominent in Blaxploitation cinema for composing and performing
the theme song for the sub-genre's most famous film, Gordon Parks'
"Shaft" of 1971, and he also starred as the super-tough and super-cool
eponymous hero in a flick that ranges among the most entertaining of
its kind - namely this, "Truck Turner". The bald and bearded Mac
'Truck' Turner is a former football player turned bounty hunter and
Hayes is supremely bad-ass in the role. Inbetween crime-busting and
drinking sessions with his colleague Jerry (Alan Weeks), Truck, who
sleeps with his holster on and whose mere name makes the bad guys shake
in fear, pays visits to his sexy girlfriend who tends to get jailed for
her quick temper...
The film basically has everything good blaxploitation cinema needs: A super-tough bad-ass of a hero as you will only see them in 70s cinema, a cool sidekick, eccentric villains, violent shootouts, funky music, delightfully vulgar slang dialogue including many unforgettable lines and, last but definitely not least, dozens of sexy and dangerous women. None other than Star Trek's Nichelle Nichols plays the beautiful and lethal crime-madame and prostitution-mastermind Dorinda, and Yaphet Kotto (Alien) makes a perfect crime-boss in his role of Harvard Blue. Alan Weeks makes a good sidekick for Truck Turner and beautiful Annazette Chase fits greatly in the role of Truck's girlfriend. Isaac Hayes himself is great, simply the definition of Bad-Ass in his role. Every line he says is the epitome of coolness, and so is everything he does. The funky theme-song, which was, of course, composed and sung by Hayes himself, is great and contributes a lot to the unique blaxploitation feeling. The film furthermore profits from great camera work - Truck blows them baddies away from some very cool angles. All in all, "Truck Turner" should not be missed by a fan of 70s Exploitation cinema. Highly Recommended!
Blaxploitation films are so frequently ridiculed and parodied (much of
it with reason) these days, that it's easy to forget that some of them
were actually pretty good. Shaft (1971) paved the way for the sub-genre
with its strutting bad-ass lead who's a sex-machine to all the chicks,
and Isaac Hayes' Oscar-winning score (for what he will forever be best
remembered for). Hayes himself steps into the lead role here as ex-
American football star and bail bondsman Mac 'Truck' Turner, who
according to Yaphet Kotto's bad-guy pimp Blue, is "like a bulldog with
eyes up his ass!", and displays some surprisingly charismatic qualities
that makes it quite a shame he didn't appear in more.
Greasy lawyer Fogarty (the great Dick Miller) employs bounty-hunters 'Truck' Turner and his partner Jerry (Alan Weeks - with the best grin in cinema) to track down a low-down pusher and pimp named Gator (Paul Harris). After an extended chase scene, Turner and Jerry manage to kill Gator, much to the dismay of Gator's lady Dorinda (Nichelle Nichols - Uhura!). Dorinda rounds up the big pimps and offers her valuable collection of whores in exchange for Turner's head, a deal in which Blue accepts. Wanting to settle down with his girlfriend Annie (Annazette Chase), Turner finds his life turned upside when Blue employs a gang of hired killers.
Beginning almost as a buddy-comedy, the witty script and some genuine chemistry serve up some amusing early scenes, showing off Hayes' natural screen presence. But this turns into pure police procedural blaxploitation as the main plot kicks in, with jive-talk, pimps in some of the most delightfully ludicrous dress I've ever seen, car-chases, slow-motion shoot-outs, cocaine, hookers, and of course a tragically neglected soundtrack from Hayes himself. The action scenes are surprisingly good, and Corman protégé Jonathan Kaplan (director of fellow Grindhouse Project feature Night Call Nurses (1972) - review #443) makes sure he includes as much slow-motion men falling off rooftops and gushing fake blood as possible. Bloody good fun, and probably better than Shaft.
Truck Turner is an ex-football star, built like a Mack truck. Fortunately
his name IS Mac (though why they released it as BLACK BULLET in Australia
beyond me) which makes for a sensible nickname. There is practically
else remotely sensible thereon in, when Mac goes head-to-head with a bunch
well, macks (pimps).
It is a typically paradoxical blaxpolitation film. It serves as both a reminder why the genre were so enjoyable - brazen heroes and villains, loads of sexy chicks for each, a top soul soundtrack - and why it had to die eventually - the burden of uninspired cashing in, here there and everywhere.
BLACK BULLET is as b-grade as they come, and it's surprisingly nasty in places. With a similar cast and crew to the far-superior BLACK BELT JONES (a blaxploitation gem), you expect tongue in cheek, but by the time you've heard the world `bitch' a thousand times, it starts to lose its comic gleam.
But at the end of the day it's all in good fun. It's just a shame the modern gangstas didn't get the joke.
As blackploitation movies go, this is one of the really better ones. Hayes has great screen presence and is in fine form here as a bounty hunter, who you don't want to push too many of his buttons. I love the start, where he finds his cat has p...ed on another of his shirts. His partner best/friend is a racey talking dude who Hayes coaxs into taking his new sports car on a speed run, and of course he's pulled over and ticketed, where Hayes smugly says after, "In future you should drive more carefully". A.k.a Black Bullet, this is good solid rate entertainment. Hayes who of course is Truck Turner, or Truck Mac Turner, if you wanna get more technical, has gone too far with his latest bounty, that has him accidentally killing him. The dead pimp's girlfriend, who runs her own stable of high class girls, is none too pleased, and puts a bounty on Truck's head, employing, mob guy acquaintance (Kotto) to take him down. As a madam, she's a sour, loose tongued ho, a real nasty so and so, describing some of her beauties, with references to finger lickin' Fried Chicken, and turnpikes. And if you want to leave her stable, girls, you better have one hell of a reason. In the wake of this tragedy. Kotto, even pays his respects by slagging into an open casket containing the poor SOB. How respectful is that. She wants so bad to kill Hayes, where earlier questioned in a salon, surrounded by her beauties, she plays funny buggers, Hayes finding this scene not so funny. I've never seen such hostility between cop and madam in this, than I have in other blackploitation movies which gave it a nasty edge about it, I liked. After one ho, knife's Hayes partner (Weeks) in the back Hayes, he knocks her out than says "Bitch" in a "Damn you" manner. Hayes too has a woman, he really loves, and will do anything to protect her, even if it means setting up for theft and putting her in prison. The last twenty minute revenge part of the film was great, Kotto staggering back to his car, outside a hospital, after killing Weeks, and being shot in the back by Hayes, showing such determination for the black guy. When he steps inside the car, his head hits the horn. Dead. Too, I loved the shootout bit between Hayes and the Madam, where I was rooting for Hayes, always the winner here. If blackploitation movies are your thing, and by high chance, you haven't seen this-my advice to you. Hunt it down. This one's a classic, and one with style, plus some of Hayes's scores, the magic singing voice of a black god, who could act too.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've always loved Blaxploitation films but don't know them all, and I
recently found Truck Turner by complete chance. I LOVED it, Turner is
such a bad-ass! He would kick Dirty Harry's and Shaft's asses big time!
The film itself is also technically quite interesting, both in the
direction, cinematography and editing; I loved the camera on Blue's
face when he's about to die, or the shots that make Turner appear
taller or his gun appear gigantic. The movie is also very funny at
times, maybe more than it was actually intended: the vocabulary,
several one-liners and the way the main characters bully anyone in the
way just cracked me up. Hayes' music is also great, as usual.
Great fun, great performances, great flick overall. A must-see for any who loves Blaxploitation. I wish I could see more of him; Turner deserved one or several sequels.
Isaac Hayes provides whole new dimensions to the term "Coolness" in his own and first Blaxploitation highlight "Truck Turner" (not counting the Italian Blaxploitation-Crime thriller crossover "Three Tough Guys"). Prior to this movie Hayes was only known as the performer of the legendary Shaft theme, but God bless the person who came up with the idea of giving him his very own movie-franchise! Hayes is brilliant and much cooler & tougher than all the other Blaxploitation heroes together, in my humble opinion. If I were to be stuck in a dark alley late at night, I would rather run into a combination of Richard Roundtree, Fred Williamson and Jim Brown than facing the gigantically postured and naturally petrifying Hayes. The plot of "Truck Turner" is rudimentary but nevertheless engaging and literally stuffed with awesome characters, witty comical undertones and phenomenal action sequences. I truly adore how each and every character that walks through the screen, even including Truck and his lovely wife, is a bit of a "badass" and living on the edge of the law him/herself. Mack 'Truck' Turner is a former football player who now works as a feared bounty hunter since an injury ruined his career. Truck loves his wife, even though she's a recidivist shoplifter and all the women in the neighborhood crave him, and there isn't a single thug on the streets who doesn't fear and respects him. Together with his partner Jerry he's tailing the fugitive big shot pimp Gator, but when the latter gets killed during a spontaneous bust, all hell breaks loose. Gator's main bi-atch Dorinda (Nichelle Nichols, acting like the black version of Ilsa Harem keeper of the Oil Sheiks) gathers all the city's most prominent pimps and promises the ownership of all her top-class prostitutes to whoever succeeds in killing Truck. Seeing the main story lines are so thin, "Truck Turner" mostly benefices from its 'shoot first ask questions later' action sequences, the splendid soundtrack and multiple stellar performances. Hayes receives great support from Yaphet Kotto (as a really creepy super-pimp), Alan Weeks (as the sidekick) and Sam Laws (as their employer). There are also excellent cameos for prominent B-actors like Scatman Crothers and Dick Miller. The violent climax in the hospital is simply awesome and has an original and tense anti-climax. Another downright brilliant and unforgettable scene takes place during the pimp's funeral. Pure 70's goodness!
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