MIAMI, FL- In 1972, the movie Superfly came out and quickly became a blaxploitation classic. Starring Ron O’Neal as drug dealer Priest, the film’s popularity was based on its male protagonist taking it to the Man with his success in the life. This time, cutie Trevor Jackson, usually seen playing naive college students in movies like Netflix’ Burning Sands or on Grown-ish, plays Priest complete with a throwback permed hairstyle. Set in Atlanta instead of Ron O’Neal’s Harlem, the movie basically rehashes the same premise of the first.
Premiering Wednesday at the American Black Film Festival in Miami, the event brought out Future, who curated the soundtrack, rap stars Big Boi and Rick Ross who had roles, model Tyson Beckford and all of the cast and legendary Hollywood producer Joel Silver, who produced the movie.
Director X used to be video director Little X and that’s clear from the opening sequence, which just makes no sense at all, but has some interesting shots of amazingly acrobatic strippers. It’s mostly there as an introduction to Priest and The Snow Patrol, a group of Black men in Atlanta who do something criminal while wearing all-white winter outfits in one of the hottest cities in the country while brandishing white weapons.
We’re just going to assume its supposed to be winter in Atlanta, since almost everyone in the movie is wearing a fur coat. If that’s not silly enough, then there’s Priest’s living with what appears to be his main woman AND his sidechick, Big Boi as the Mayor of Atlanta and Priest’s sidekick (not chick, keep up) Eddie, played by Straight Out Of Compton’s Jason Mitchell who clearly has it in his contract to get the best lines in every movie he’s in.
The story that reflects the first film is about how Priest wants out of the game, but the fallout of a dispute with a jealous Snow Patrol rival, Juju (Kalaan Walker) means he can’t, so he devises a plan with a drug cartel, which puts him at odds with Scatter (Micheal K. Williams), his criminal mentor who’s already dealing with the cartel.
The thing about people like this writer, whose review of Superfly’s 2018 version is pretty scathing is that the source material was hardly a highbrow classic. What makes Superfly 2018 so entertaining is how profoundly un-poltically correct it is. The women are sex objects except for Priest’s main, Georgia, played by Lex Scott Davis, and the cartel leader’s mother who gets off some good lines as well.
Forgive me, millennials but everything is just not that deep. Sure, there will be think pieces and outrage about how bad it all is for Black people and how the stereotypes are stupid (even I wondered if Esai Morales isn’t tired of playing Latino gangsters) and the movie pointless, but that’s kind of the point.
Superfly is a movie best watched naked with your man or woman while smoking an L and drinking from a communal Hennessy bottle, while tweeting out your best memes and responses. Until it comes on VOD, though, you’ll have to get dressed to see it in the movies and smoke the L and drink beforehand. Just make sure to take an Uber there!
It’s combination of New Jack City and Belly for the youngins. It’s a movie, not a film and it’s not that deep. The gratuitous sex and violence is actually pretty lightweight stuff as you can see more of both on readily available streaming networks. (Although I do wonder how the actresses, Director X and Jackson approached the borderline soft-core porn scene in an era of #MeToo).
The absolute absence of anything edifying or significant, coupled with a few good one-liners means you could just shut off your brain and enjoy the 2 hours out of reality from the real problems of the real world. If anything was disturbing, it was not the onscreen firepower of the weapons used in a pretty cartoonish way, it was that its sad that this array of weaponry might actually exist offscreen and for the sole purpose of killing or maiming several people at once.
Will you be checking out the new Superfly?
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