Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jonathan Kaplan|
|Produced by||Paul M. Heller
|Written by||Michael Allin
|Music by||Isaac Hayes|
|Distributed by||American International Pictures|
|Release dates||April 19, 1974|
|Running time||91 minutes|
|Box office||$2.23 million|
Truck Turner is a 1974 blaxploitation film, starring Isaac Hayes and Yaphet Kotto, and directed by Jonathan Kaplan. The screenplay was written by Michael Allin, Jerry Wilkes and Oscar Williams. Isaac Hayes also scored the music for the soundtrack.
Mack "Truck" Turner (Isaac Hayes) is a former professional football player who becomes a bounty hunter after being hurt. Turner begins his morning watching his girlfriend Annie's cat while she is in jail for stealing a television set. Truck and his partner Jerry Barnes catch a fugitive, then take him to jail. Truck takes the opportunity to visit Annie in jail. Annie asks if they can "go somewhere" when she gets out. Truck and Jerry go to collect the bounty from Nate, a bail bondsman, who refers them to Fogarty (Dick Miller), a bail bondsman who wants Gator, a pimp who skipped bail.
After haggling over the price because of Gator's violent past, they visit Dorinda (Nichelle Nichols), who runs Gator's stable of prostitutes. Truck tries to trick her into giving up Gator's location. Dorinda does not fall for the ruse. Truck and Jerry wait for Gator to visit, and chase him. Gator crashes and then leads them on a foot chase, but doubles back and steals Jerry's car. Truck and Gator hijack a truck to chase him. Gator's radiator gives out, so he runs into a bar and offers money to everyone inside to beat his pursuers. Jerry circles around to the back of the bar, but gives up the chase to help Truck win his fight in the bar.
A tip from Truck's retired pimp friend Duke (Scatman Crothers) allows Truck and Jerry to nab one of Gator's cohorts, who leads them to the house of the woman harboring Gator. They attempt to lure to Gator out of the house, and a shootout ensues. Truck and Jerry kill Gator when he attempts to shoot Truck.
Dorinda threatens Gator's former whores to keep them in line, and orders them to attend a meeting of pimps who want Gator's action. At the meeting Dorinda offers the pimps a deal: whoever kills Truck gets to replace Gator and gets half of the proceeds while she runs the stable. A pimp named Desmond immediately objects that pimps deal in prostitutes, not violence. The only pimp interested in the violence is Harvard Blue.
One of Blue's assassin's attempts to kill Truck while he is walking with Annie, but Truck shoots him. Truck escorts Annie into their apartment where Blue awaits. Blue tells Truck he needs to retire, who responds by pulling his gun and telling him to leave. Another attempt is made on Truck's life by the next morning. Truck shoots and kills him and another gunman on a rooftop.
Blue argues with Dorinda that he wants 25% of Gator's take in exchange for killing Turner. Dorinda only relents when Blue points out that she won't be able to deal with Turner on her own. Blue and Desmond will share the cost of getting rid of Truck, and Desmond will run the stable. Blue calls in some "insurance men" to "insure" Truck's death, who force Nate to call Truck and tell him that there is a big job. Truck doesn't feel sober enough after a night of partying, so he calls Jerry and asks him to check on Nate. Jerry arrives at Nate's business and is shot dead through the door. After fleeing the scene, Blue and Desmond argue over the way their deal is proceeding. The argument ends with Blue ordering Desmond to lead Truck to him if he comes his way.
Annie and Truck visit Nate in the hospital. He warns Truck of the hit out on him. Truck and Annie return to their apartment, which has been ransacked and Annie's cat killed. Truck tells Annie to visit her mother for safety, but she refuses. Truck offers to take her shopping, then stuffs her purse with expensive perfume while she tries on some clothes. He then alerts the security guard, who calls the police to arrest Annie.
Truck goes to Desmond's house and demands to know where Blue is. Desmond pretends to resist, but ultimately tells Truck where to find Blue. Truck again visits Nate in the hospital. Nate repeats his warning to Truck that Blue is dangerous. Truck gives Nate Jerry's gun for protection. Just then, Blue and several of his thugs barge in. Nate surprises them by shooting at them. Nate and Truck shoot all of the intruders but Blue. Blue attempts to flee, but Truck shoots him in the leg after Blue grabs a hostage, and again as he exits the hospital. Blue makes it to his getaway car, but dies a few minutes later in the driver's seat.
Truck confronts Dorinda at her house, and tells her she has to leave town. As Dorinda reaches for a gun, Truck warns her that he will shoot her. Dorinda says he won't shoot a woman, but is shot as soon as she pulls the gun from her dresser.
Truck tries to make up with Annie as she gets out of jail. She refuses to get in the car at first, but relents when he professes his love and points out that all of his belongings are packed in the back seat and he is ready to keep his promise to go away with her. She gets in the car and Truck presents her with a new cat. They drive off together.
- Isaac Hayes — Mack Truck Turner
- Yaphet Kotto — Harvard Blue
- Alan Weeks — Jerry Barnes
- Annazette Chase — Annie
- Nichelle Nichols — Dorinda
- Sam Laws — Nate
- Paul Harris — Richard Leroy "Gator" Johnson
- Charles Cyphers — Drunk
- John Kramer — Desmond
- Scatman Crothers — Duke
- Dick Miller — Fogarty
- Bob Harris — Snow
- Jac Emil — Reno
- Stan Shaw — Fontana
- Wendell Tucker — Wendell
- Earl Maynard — Panama
- Tara Strohmeier — Turnpike
- In 2001 it was released on DVD.
- In 2010 it was digitized in High Definition (1080i) and broadcast on MGM HD.
The soundtrack for Truck Turner was composed by Isaac Hayes. Although many regard it as Shaft's equal composition-wise, the soundtrack never managed to reach the mass popularity of the Shaft soundtrack, mainly due to the financial decline of Stax Records and was originally released on a double record album on vinyl which are mostly found in the "bargain bins." However, in 1993, it was released in a double-CD album alongside Hayes' other lesser-known soundtrack for the movie Three Tough Guys and again released on its own CD in 2002. Some of the music score was used by filmmaker Quentin Tarantino in the Kill Bill series.
- "Main Title Truck Turner"
- "House Of Beauty"
- "Blues Crib"
- "Driving In The Sun"
- "Now We're One"
- "The Duke"
- "Dorindas Party"
- "Pursuit Of The Pimpmobile"
- "We Need Each Other Girl"
- "A House Full Of Girls"
- "Hospital Shoutout"
- "You're In My Arms Again"
- "Give It To Me"
- "The Insurance Company"
- "End Theme"
- Samuel Z Arkoff & Richard Turbo, Flying Through Hollywood By the Seat of My Pants, Birch Lane Press, 1992 p 206
- Ignoring the Obvious By Bob Thomas. The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973) [Washington, D.C] 26 Dec 1973: D13.
- Truck Turner at the Internet Movie Database
- Truck Turner at AllMovie
- Truck Turner at Rotten Tomatoes