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Superfly (2018) - Movie Review

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Superfly (2018) - Movie Review

2 starsDrug deals encounter Jiu-Jitsu and well-manicured hair in this upmarket remake of what was once a memorable and super gritty Blaxploitation classic. Super Fly from 1972 might have been a haphazard and guerilla-styled shoot in NYC, but at least it meant something. That film, no matter how shitty you think it is, remains a classic of the genre. This one, as best explained by M.C. Hammer, can’t touch it.

At all. Like, why even bother to do this? Updating a Blaxploitation flick with a needlessly smoothed out visual flair makes as much sense to me as trying to remake Apocalypse Now with a cell phone. Some things just shouldn’t be attempted.

"there’s no consequential depth any of its slick movements. That’s a BIG problem."


Superfly circa 2018 is largely unnecessary. It’s also pretty pathetic that someone thought they could pull this off, too. Superfly by way of Scarface? No. Thank. You. To paraphrase the one and only Curtis Mayfield, who scored the original film, this flick “ain't clean.” This ain’t a “bad machine.” It’s not “super cool” and it’s definitely not “super mean.” This is definitely not your Daddy’s Pusherman.

Trevor Jackson (Eureka) as Youngblood Priest isn’t bad; his look is, though. Still trying to wrap my head around what they were going for with his overall style. George Michael? Jacko himself? I don’t know. While he lacks some of the charisma (and a lot of the FURY) Ron O’Neal had in the role, his interpretation of Priest, who sees a smooth way out of the drug dealing business and jumps on it with one last deal, is down for the fights between Latinos, African-Americans, and the occasional white dude. You see, THIS version of Superfly is largely without THE MAN, focusing its attacks instead on greed and excess. Big mistake.

Okay, okay, so the acting is much better, with credible lifts coming from Jason Mitchell as Eddie and a stronger threat from competing gangs is present; thank you SNOW PATROL. And the violence hits home hard. It comes too close to Priest and he, after narrowly escaping death, attempts to make a change for the better. Violence begets violence, after all, but too much of the reimagined Superfly – outside of an obligatory extended shower scene of sex between Priest and his two live-in girlfriends, Georgia (Lex Scott Davis) and Cynthia (Andrea Londo) – feels lacking in purpose.

Co-starring Michael Kenneth Williams and Esai Morales, the film can certainly sell the lifestyle, but it flounders on its redemptive themes. Superfly, in terms of story, is super dry. And, without it being a sort of low-rent affair, this one is too glittery for its own good and hip-hop artist turned producer, Future’s songs don’t help drive the narrative like Mayfield’s did. Don’t compare the two, you say? Impossible. Mayfield is Super Fly and vice versa.

Superfly (2018) - Movie Review

Without the originality of Curtis Mayfield’s voice – whose rich soundtrack operated as the moral soundtrack in the wake of black on black drug dealing and crime – the film loses a centerpiece that the new narrative doesn’t really care to insert with any feeling behind it. Instead, Mayfield gets tapped in this remake for a couple of the original tunes that everybody already knows. I’m sorry, but when “Pusherman” hits, the film SUDDENLY comes alive. And for good reason.

There’s plenty of cool action beats in this upgrade, but the main problem lies in the fact that this flick is all gloss and no floss. Director X, the visually-inspired director of cool Drake and Kendrick Lamar videos, brings the same flash to film as its director. Everything here – including the costumes – is soaked in visual richness … but there’s no consequential depth any of its slick movements. That’s a BIG problem.

Superfly? More like super why?!

Superfly (2018) - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: R for violence and language throughout, strong sexuality, nudity, and drug content..
Runtime:
116 mins
Director
: Director X
Writer:
Alex Tse
Cast:
Trevor Jackson, Jason Mitchell, Lex Scott Davis
Genre
: Action | Crime
Tagline:
Redefine The Hustle.
Memorable Movie Quote: "These fools on the streets acting like they got something to prove."
Theatrical Distributor:
United Artists
Official Site:
Release Date:
June 15, 2018
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: These fools on the streets acting like they got something to prove..

Superfly (2018) - Movie Review

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Superfly (2018) - Movie Review

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