“Superfly” stars Trevor Jackson, Jason Mitchell, Michael Kenneth Williams, Lex Scott Davis, and Jennifer Morrison. Released on June 13, 2018, the film is about a criminal who attempts to leave the drug business behind.
The film is directed by Director X, who is known for directing several hip-hop music videos. It is a remake of the 1972 crime drama of the same name. “Super Fly” was one of the earlier films that introduced the subgenre known as “blaxploitation”, in which black characters and communities were shown as the main subjects in film. Despite being criticized for being stereotypical, the art of blaxploitation changed the way people look at race relations in the 1970s. This year, music video director, Director X, is bringing that art back by remaking the controversial crime film for a new generation of blaxploitation fans. Since I have not seen “Super Fly”, I will be looking at the remake as its own film without comparing it to the original.
The story focuses on Youngblood Priest (Jackson), a hustler who plans on doing one last job before he leaves the crime-filled world for good. When he comes across a rival gang, a Mexican drug lord, and two corrupted police officers, he's going to have to rely on his skills one more time in order to gain his freedom. The film represents the community as a violent world filled with drug dealers, corrupt cops, and gangsters, which may come off as stereotypical or somewhat uncomfortable for some people. While this world was nicely portrayed by Director X, his storytelling wasn’t able to fully embrace his stylistic approach. It had a few interesting moments, but the overall experience didn’t quite capture the right amount of impact for me. This is one of those films where the director struggles to find the right balance between style and substance. It may look cool during the first two acts, but after a while, it will overstay its welcome by the time it reaches the third act. One of the things that I did enjoy from the film was the cast. Trevor Jackson did a nice job with his performance as Priest, and Jason Mitchell put on a decent show as Priest’s partner, Eddie. This was the first time I’ve seen Jackson act in a feature film and, based on what I saw, I would like to see more of him in the near future. Speaking of “future”, another thing that I liked was the film’s soundtrack, which was organized by Future, who also served as one of the producers. Not only were these songs catchy, but they also fit the film’s tone and style in terms of the concept. So, if any of you readers are Future fans, this film has what you’re looking for.
Overall, the 2018 remake of “Superfly” had the right style and the cast was respectable in their roles, especially Jackson, but its average plot plays out like an uninspired, story-driven music video. This could’ve been something that will impress plenty of hip-hop fans and people who are familiar with the blaxploitation genre, but in the end, this is just another standard crime film that fails to redefine the hustle. It’s worth watching at home for the cast and the soundtrack. Otherwise, you’re better off getting the official soundtrack.
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