Trevor Jackson stars as a young drug dealer named Priest who has successfully operated under the police’s radar for some time. His career path has afforded him affluence, a lavish lifestyle, and respect within his community. However, Priest understands that the dope game won’t last forever so he plans an exit, but not before one final score.
I knew very little about the original SuperFly (1972) going in and perhaps that was for the best as it allowed me to not play the comparison game. While I may see it one day in the future I can give you my unadulterated thoughts on this film.
From jump I was surprised by the casting of Jackson as he is a fairly new face and a young one at that. I think he was perfectly capable in the role as an actor. He also pulled off some incredible stunts on his own, which really showcased his athleticism. However, I do think that the actual character lacked some development.
Priest comes across as very laid back, so much so that he could be described as aloof or nonchalant, which seems to point to a flaw within the script itself. The relationships he has with those closest to him- his friend Eddie (Straight Outta Compton‘s Jason Mitchell) and lover Georgia (Lex Scott Davis) for instance- never seem more than surface level although the film would have us believe otherwise.
The story itself also lacked real depth. It’s incredibly stylish and I have to credit Director X for that. He has made a successful career directing music videos since the 90’s for major artists like Usher, Justin Bieber and Rihanna. It was only right that SuperFly had the look down if nothing else.
The overall look of the film is near perfect; in fact it’s easy to forgive scenes that don’t really move the plot along in any way simply because they’re pleasant to look at.
The talent isn’t missing from SuperFly either. Mitchell brings the humor as Priest’s right hand man and much of what we understand about the drug kingpin comes either from his inner monologue or dialogue with the upbeat, wise-cracking Eddie.
Michael Kenneth Williams (The Wire) stars as Scatter, a mentor of sorts to Priest who ultimately becomes a rival. He is an actor who always delivers and I liked that his character served as one of the many obstacles standing in Priest’s way of retirement.
SuperFly may not offer anything original to the genre, but I was particularly galvanized by one scene that takes place towards the movie’s end. Fed up with a dirty cop and his unscrupulous antics, Priest takes the officer’s own baton and beats him to a bloody pulp rendering him unconscious.
Picture it: a young black man attacking a white officer with decades of pent up rage and no one being there to witness it. Within the context of the film such violence seems only fair as retribution for the man’s crimes. I must say I have never seen that kind of imagery depicted onscreen before. It’s that moment that will stick with me for awhile.
I believe in supporting the culture as much as possible. I didn’t love the film, but I also didn’t hate it. If you enjoy gritty crime movies or you’re a fan of the blaxpoitation genre I recommend you see it at some point in your lifetime. Just don’t feel the need to rush out and see it today.
SuperFly is directed by the legendary Director X and the script comes from Alex Tse (Watchmen), based on the 1972 screenplay by Phillip Fenty. It stars Trevor Jackson, Jason Mitchell, Lex Scott Davis, Michael Kenneth Williams, Jennifer Morris, Kaalan Walker, Big Bank Black, Andrea Londo and Esai Morales. Cameos spotted: Rick Ross, Zaytoven, and Lecrae. SuperFly is currently in theaters!
***FYI The film received an “R” rating as it does contain strong language, mature subject matter and scenes that are absolutely NOT appropriate for young audiences.
What do you think about the possible re-emergence of blaxpoitation style films? Let me know in the comments down below!