Review: ‘Superfly’ Adds Bling to an Old Tale
The American Dream will be invoked many times in “Superfly.” The mentions come coming from the movie’s lead character, along with coming from a song on the soundtrack. These days, the idea seems, the phrase will be often used ironically. the idea’s all about the accumulation of wealth along using a sybaritic lifestyle. There’s no spiritual dimension, no sense of genuine civic aspiration.
Within those cynically defined contemporary parameters, Youngblood Priest (Trevor Jackson, dressed to the nines along with sporting what one character derides as “Morris Day hair”) will be doing well. He’s a major drug supplier in bling-driven Atlanta. He has two live-in girlfriends, the quietly sophisticated Georgia (Lex Scott Davis) along with the younger, flintier Cynthia (Andrea Londo). He’s got a beautiful house along using a beautiful car, commands respect, along with presides over an uneasy peace with Snow Patrol, a competing drug gang in which wears all white.
in which peace starts fragmenting early inside the picture, outside a nightclub, where an indolently truculent Snow Patrol member, Juju (Kaalan Rashad Walker), takes a shot at Priest along with instead hits a bystander. Priest plays not bad guy by handing the victim’s friends a wad of cash along with giving them the name of the best local trauma center.
The close call along with its concurrent threat of a gang war compel Priest to take stock. He confides to a lieutenant, Eddie (Jason Mitchell), in which he wants out. Pulling into his driveway, he confides to the audience, in voice-over, in which he believes “no car ever outran fate.”
This kind of film, directed by Director X coming from a script by Alex Tse, will be a remake of the 1972 picture directed by Gordon Parks Jr. (whose father had made “Shaft” a year before). The first film — titled “Super Fly” (two words instead of one) — was a low-budget affair using a gritty look along using a claustrophobic feel. As Priest, Ron O’Neal had a charisma along with enigmatic elegance in which stood out inside the Harlem back rooms along with alleys where he did his business. The moral conundrum of drug dealing among African-Americans was addressed mostly by Curtis Mayfield’s superb soundtrack, which functioned as a kind of Greek chorus.
This kind of “Superfly” has original songs by the hip-hop artist Future, who’s also a producer of the film. yet they’re not particularly distinctive; perhaps in which’s why a couple of Mayfield songs are brought back to serve here. along with indeed, when they pop up, they infuse the movie with fresh rhythm.
Director X carries a larger budget along using a more expansive milieu to deal with here. He seems almost as influenced by Brian De Palma’s “Scarface” (itself a remake) as by the original “Super Fly.” Witness the bright oranges along with subsequent neon colors inside the movie’s opening scene: a tracking shot of an underground nightclub, depicting Priest on a mission to collect money owed.
Once Priest decides to pursue his “last score,” he seeks help coming from his mentor in crime, Scatter, played by an avuncular yet cautiously sinister Michael Kenneth Williams. On the one hand, the idea’s a clever idea to hold the pair negotiate drug supplies while sparring in Scatter’s martial-arts gym; on the different, the cleverness becomes beside the point because Director X can’t manage to make both the action along with the dialogue work in tandem.
Refused by Scatter, Priest has to pitch himself to a deadly Mexican cartel manager played by Esai Morales. Priest manages to get to terms with him just before some henchmen are going to throw him coming from a private jet. As Mayfield’s “Pusherman” plays, Priest’s drugs are seen hitting Birmingham, Ala.; Nashville; Miami; along with Houston. The money rolls in, along with soon a couple of corrupt white cops are doing aggressive requests to dip their beaks.
The roomier scenario of This kind of remake has the potential to yield a decent thriller, yet “Superfly” too often prioritizes showy sequences for dubious reasons. One lengthy sex-in-the-shower scene between the characters played by Mr. Jackson, Ms. Londo along with Ms. Davis carries a nearly risible box-checking quality.
On “Freddie’s Dead,” a song on the 1972 soundtrack album (the idea’s not sung inside the film itself), Mayfield calls out “Another junkie plan/Pushing dope for the Man,” vocalizing in a tone in which the critic Greil Marcus (in his great book “Mystery Train”) called “incredulous along with disgusted.”
“The Man” so trenchantly invoked by Mayfield was incarnated inside the earlier film by a white police superintendent who wants Priest as his puppet. in which character was a stand-in for white oppression, someone Priest finally contrives to walk away coming from, clean. yet in This kind of film’s 21st-century Atlanta, “The Man” never genuinely manifests. Greed along with corruption are themselves the magnetic fields in which pull together would likely-be players — white, Latino along with African-American.
Given human nature, the alliances along with affinities are almost always short term, of course. Which isn’t to say in which the film lacks for racial consciousness. “Superfly” saves its most righteous physical violence for its finale, along with the idea’s a sequence in which will probably enrage anyone who’s ever uttered the phrase “Blue Lives Matter.” The entire denouement carries a nice satirical sting, pushed along by the rapper along with songwriter Big Boi’s droll turn as an incumbent mayor hungry for re-election. He becomes a potent weapon in Priest’s score settling.
Rated R for being a remake of “Super Fly.” Running time: 1 hour 48 minutes.