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ISAAC HAYES, YAPHET KOTTO & NICHELLE NICHOLS 'TRUCK TURNER'

Nichelle Nichols and Paul Harris in TRUCK TURNER Year: 1974 Rating: ****1/2

At a certain point, with pressure to stop Blaxploitation films... from black groups no less... the genre had to become partially comedic, deliberate parodies, unlike the ultra-serious game-starter SHAFT... but before getting downright silly there's TRUCK TURNER wedged perfectly in-between dark humor and badass bloody action...

The Oscar-winning SHAFT composer Isaac Hayes provides an even cooler score, and steps behind the camera, directed by Jonathan Kaplan while partnered with affably humorous sidekick Alan Weeks, countered by monopolizing villain Yaphet Kotto, making TURNER more like a Sam Peckinpah Western in pimp's clothing...

Isaac Hayes in TRUCK TURNER

Including slow-motion gunfight deaths, as the first half entails the hunting of one deadly pimp (a colorfully mean Paul Harris) while the second's avoiding Kotto's array of eclectic partner-assassins... but there's also gorgeous model/actress Annazette Chase as Turner's ex-con girlfriend, giving our man a reason to live beyond the secondary plot of having to remain alive, which... having so many armed thugs coming out of the woodwork... isn't easy...

Director Kaplan (who'd already made THE SLAMS with Jim Brown) nicely captures the gritty L. A. landscape while the overall scene-stealer is Nichelle Nichols as the initial pimp's manager, giving her character the most to gain or lose, desperate for a new boss and especially Turner's blood... loudly and proudly running her stable with so much flamboyant rage she could've had her very own picture, despite the sad fact Blaxploition was already on life-support.

BONUS INTERVIEW SELECTION FOR ACTOR YAPHET KOTO BY JAMES M. TATE

YAPHET KOTTO: He was all right. He asked me to do that film with him. I didn’t take it serious because he wasn’t an actor and it was a joke. We got along great. He watched me do the death scene and that’s all he talked about afterwards: “Man, you all see the way my man Yaphet did his death scene?”

I can’t take too much credit for that scene, I had seen it in THE YOUNG LIONS with Marlon Brando and that gave me a skeleton to work from.

Yaphet Kotto in TRUCK TURNER

Isaac Hayes in TRUCK TURNER
Annazette Chase in TRUCK TURNER
Isaac Hayes in TRUCK TURNER
Alan Weeks in TRUCK TURNER
Yaphet Kotto and Alan Weeks in TRUCK TURNER
Isaac Hayes in TRUCK TURNER with Alan Weeks
Isaac Hayes in TRUCK TURNER with Alan Weeks and Mr. Blackwell
Nichelle Nichols in TRUCK TURNER with Yaphet Kotto
Stan Shaw in TRUCK TURNER
Stan Shaw in TRUCK TURNER
Isaac Hayes in TRUCK TURNER
Yaphet Kotto in TRUCK TURNER
Los Angeles landscape from TRUCK TURNER
Nichelle Nichols in TRUCK TURNER
Tara Strohmeier in TRUCK TURNER
Yaphet Kotto in TRUCK TURNER
Isaac Hayes in TRUCK TURNER drinking with Alan Weeks
Isaac Hayes in TRUCK TURNER with Scatman Crotherse
Isaac Hayes in TRUCK TURNER with Alan Weeks
Isaac Hayes in TRUCK TURNER with Alan Weeks
Isaac Hayes in TRUCK TURNER with Alan Weeks
Paul Harris in TRUCK TURNER
Isaac Hayes in TRUCK TURNER
Isaac Hayes in TRUCK TURNER with Nichelle Nichols
Isaac Hayes in TRUCK TURNER
Nichelle Nichols in TRUCK TURNER
Nichelle Nichols in TRUCK TURNER
Yaphet Kotto in TRUCK TURNER
Annazette Chase in TRUCK TURNER
Nichelle Nichols in TRUCK TURNER
Nichelle Nichols in TRUCK TURNER
Nichelle Nichols in TRUCK TURNER

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