Reviewed by Ken M. Wilson
Rating: 3.5 Beans
ame this character. "I'm gonna make love to ya, woman... I'm gonna lay ya down by the fire! And kiss yo womanly body... make you moannnnn and perspire!" That's the Chef from the hit cartoon "South Park." Now, name this character. "If anybody asks you what happened tell 'em you been hit by a Truck." Yessir, that's Mack "Truck" Turner. Hell, even the trailer warns you to "hide your mommas, big brother is comin'!"
Isaac Hayes stars as bounty hunter Truck Turner and lemme tell ya... he's one bad mutha (I'll shut my mouth).
I'm not going to lie to you, I liked "Truck Turner." When it comes to films in the 1970s -- especially from the blaxploitation genre -- it's particularly hard to find ones that actually star someone who could kick some ass in an ass-kickin' situation. Rudy Ray Moore taking on an army and winning? Come on. Black Belt Jones going up against that huge dude on the train? He'd be snapped like a twig. Kung-fu babes against duded with guns and knives? I'm sensing a severe slapping. But Truck Turner is believable in this sense because old Isaac used to be a door-to-door salesman for the Whoop Ass Company.
Truck tells the story of two skip-tracers out to bring in a gun-totin' pimp. While they sit back and think "mission accomplished" they discover that they are really in for the fight of their life as Nichelle Nichols (yes, *THE* Nichelle Nichols from "Star Trek" fame) has put a price on their heads. It doesn't take long before every crooked bounty hunter in the area is brought in to get Turner. It takes even less time for each dude to subsequently shout "Truck Turner?!? Fuck that shit!" and run like a sissy. Yaphet Kotto, however, has other plans for he's the big bad crime boss and wants a piece of the action from Nichelle's whore farm. Yes, Lt. Uhura was selling her wares long before she joined Star Fleet. Once the bad guys murder Truck's partner it's an all-out war and he means bid'ness.
"Truck Turner" is an enjoyable flick. The exchanges between Isaac and his lady are to die for. An example comes when Truck is picking up his woman from jail (she's a klepto on the side). He's late and she's pissed. "You could have at least brought me some flowers!" Truck looks down into the passenger seat of his convertible, smiles, and then holds up his prize. "I got some beer!" Now THAT'S style. Another classic is when they are driving off. Truck's woman says "so that's your idea of tonight, eh? You're gonna get me drunk and then screw me?" Hayes, without batting an eye, says "alright, alright... we'll get something to eat first." Hell yeah! Truck is da bomb!
The only reason why this film gets 3.5 Beans is that, as if you couldn't tell how much I liked it, the soundtrack was done by Isaac as well. Now, I'm a big fan of the Shaft theme song by my man Hayes but having him do the music for a film he's starring in makes me wonder if he's singing as Truck or if the music is actually background music. Check out the love scene between he and his jail bird babe and you'll see what I mean. The scene in which Truck's partner is blown away was rewound sixteen times by yours truly... I kid you not. It is the fakest death scene I've ever witnessed. I had thought up until that point that Alan Weeks (the partner) looked a lot like Lamont from "Sanford and Son" but when they had him blown up with the most unconvincing mannequin ever put onto celluloid I knew immediately why Red Foxx called him "Big Dummy."
And lastly, watch this film back to back with "Black Belt Jones." Alan Weeks is in both. Scatman Crothers is in both. Whoa... hold on... a total of EIGHT people that were in "BB Jones" are also in "Truck Turner." Looking a little further we see that it was written by the same dude, produced by the same two guys, and even had the same editor. Making it only more fitting is that both films came out in that year of years, 1974. My money is still on "Truck Turner" for he could kick Black Belt's ass any day.
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