Superfly Movie Review
Superfly Movie Review Metadata
The original Super Fly (1972) was released 4 months before I was born, and I was never into Blaxploitation flicks.
This movie is slick where other crime movies tend to bend campy. Priest (Trevor Jackson) is a cocaine kingpin under the radar and living large in Atlanta. He is at the top of his game with his network of dealers both local and worldwide. He lives large, but not flashy, he smart and meticulous, and he thinks several steps ahead. He knows that’s how you stay alive in a dangerous game where everyone from local Priest knows his people and he knows the other players because he’s leaving nothing to chance. He knows the good life can’t last forever and has an exit strategy he must implement a little before its time.
An altercation at Mask, a strip club you or I would nevah be allowed near, simple jealousy and a beef over pride and ego starts an avalanche of one-ups, take downs, and crooked cops. An unwritten and then direct order is ignored, parties act under their own direction, and the once peaceful and manageable chaos of drug dealing and barely stops just shy of a full-blown gang war – all because some knucklehead couldn’t stand to see another brother on top.
The movie’s opening is understated – a party at a garage with a musician playing his latest album (do the kids still call it that? An album?) sets the tone for Priest’s management style. He doesn’t carry a gun, though he’s walking into a nest of bullets and potential organ damage, he proves he didn’t get to the top by shooting people in the knees. Information is the name of this game, and it’s done without hackers or sophisticated camera equipment. Loyalty and word of mouth are powerful, and secrets people don’t know you have are worth their weight in gold.
Esai Morales is Alberto is head of the Mexican cartel Priest works for who could be the key and downfall of everything he’s work for. Kaalen ‘KR’ Walker is the Q (Big Bank Black)-led Snow Patrol-flunky, Juju, who doesn’t know when to leave well enough alone, and Lex Scott Davis is Georgia, the love of Priest’s life and his raison d’etre. Jason Mitchel is Eddie, Priest’s faithful right hand who’d like a little more tryst between them.
Of course, we wouldn’t have a drug movie without dirty cops so Jennifer Morrison is Detective Mason, who very likely powders her nose, and Brian F Durkin as Officer Turk Franklin playing the enforcer and face of every badge-wearing nightmare black men have all over the US. They’re terrifying because we know them – we’ve seen them, we’ve lauded them for their bravery – but these two are just gross.
SuperFly is for the generation of folks that never saw the 1974 original, never saw New Jack City (1991) or Sugar Hill (1994). Much like Italian mobster movies, SuperFly doesn’t portray the cracked-out consequences of drug addiction. There’s simply too much class (and booze, there is lots of booze). Other than a party scene or two, it doesn’t appear most of the main characters partake in the powder at all – never sample your own merchandise, amirite – and when it does happen, the consequences are swift and deadly. It’s basically the equivalent of having sex in a horror movie. This is The Godfather (1972) level of micromanagement and betrayal. Dude – someone’s Moms is involved and you know no matter what happens, she isn’t going down for your foolishness.
Trevor Jackson’s hair is magnificent. I mean – *sorry, I just caught myself staring off into space for 15 seconds thinking about his hair* It’s its own character and it conveys how smooth and relaxed Priest is. Even ruffled and wind-blown after some amazing martial arts, it looks like it’ll only need a few moments to get right with the world again. His hair is its own deity, sitting atop another deity, just wanting to remake the world in their own suave image.
I’m down for it.
SuperFly is a fun movie and not to be taken seriously. The soundtrack is a little raw, meaning you’re greeting eith En-this and EmEffer-that, so those with delicate sensibilities should probably check out TAG (2018) in an adjacent theater. There are boobs and sex and gun violence and a car chase. Exactly what you’d expect from a movie about drugs and violence where the consequences are for those who can’t get out of their own way. It’s violent, funny, dangerous, escapist fun for a date night with someone you feel veeeeeery comfortable with. Don’t take your mom, unless she has a mouth like a sailor, in which case, invite me, too.
SuperFly (2018) is Rated R for topless strippers, guy on girl on girl naughtiness (don’t worry, they’re all friends), scary cops, booze, guns, the glorification of living well of other human’s addictions, SO. MUCH. HARD. LANGUAGE, and liquid cremation, sure to be the rage with all suspicious deaths this season.