This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
Who’s the cat who won’t cop out when there’s danger all about? Shaft. Damn right. But there’s plenty more where he came from.
Back in the swinging ’60s and ’70s, there were more blaxploitation movie heroes than you could shake your booty at — Superfly, Slaughter, Foxy Brown, Coffy, Friday Foster, Truck Turner, Sweet Sweetback, hell, even Blacula. And like John Shaft, when they went strutting down 125th Street in Harlem in their platform boots and ostrich-feather hat, it was usually to the funky backbeat of a personalized theme song by Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, Bobby Womack or James Brown.
Good luck finding most of those old flicks at your local video chain. But thanks to the Soul Cinema Series, you can get down to the original grooves. MGM has dug through the vaults and reissued the soundtracks to a slew of African-American movie classics, with every wah-wah guitar lick, soul-sister singer, conga-drum break and flute solo superbly intact. Here’s the score on the scores. Can you dig it?
The Year: 1975.
The Plot: Photojournalist Friday Foster (Pam Grier) foils a conspiracy to assassinate prominent black leaders. Also features Yaphet Kotto, Godfrey Cambridge, Eartha Kitt and none other than Jim Backus as, believe it or not, a Mob boss.
The Music: A skimpy 23 minutes of instrumental soul power from composer Luchi DeJesus, who infuses his bombastic, propulsive action-movie vignettes with then-contemporary touches like guitar talk-boxes.
The Best Line: Actually it’s a song title: Don’t Drop the Soap.
The Funkiest Track: That’s gotta be the searingly horny swagger of another interestingly titled cut, Be Gay.
The Love Theme: That’s gotta be the gently flowing melody of still another interestingly titled cut, Position #69.
The Last Word: Love those titles — too bad there isn’t more music to go with them.