Starring: Trevor Jackson, Jason Mitchell, Lex Scott Davis, and Michael Kenneth Williams
Runtime: 1Hr. 56Mins.
Driving down the street in a 1972 Ford Thunderbird as silky smooth lyrics of Curtis Mayfield plays soulfully out the window. “The man of the hour has great power. The dudes have envied him for so long. Ooh, Superfly, you gonna make your fortune by and by”. Dressed “fly” in platform shoes and a nice mink coat as both the gents and ladies stare as the car leisurely rolls by. Pulling up to the curb, the tinted window slowly rolls down and voice assuredly commands, “foxy mama let’s take a ride”. This was exemplified on the silver screen in the 1970s’ with movies like The Mack, Shaft, and Gordon Parks, Jr. Super Fly. But could Director X’s 2018 version of Superfly live up to the stylishness and culture phenomenon of its predecessor? Not quite.
Priest (Trevor Jackson), an intelligent and stylish martial arts enthusiast cocaine dealer in Atlanta, realizes it is time to “get out of the game”. But in order to start a new life, he has to mastermind a plan to outthink his mentor (Michael Kenneth Williams) and take his Mexico connection to produce a big score.
This movie is very stylish and Trevor Jackson as Priest fits the character well. With a ton of luxury cars, beautifully dressed cast with the landscape of Atlanta nightlife serving as the backdrop and a blazing soundtrack featuring artists like Future and Rick Ross, it has the look and feel of 1998′ Belly.
Director X’s music video background is truly stamped on this film. His skillful use of imagery that is diplayed in his music videos featuring Drake and Rihanna to French Montana, Iggy Azalea, and T.I. is apparent in this film.
Superfly is not a movie for the empowerment of women. It is a throwback to the 1970’s Super Fly film where women were seen as sex objects with a bad attitude if crossed. Outwardly spoken, but more seen as a support to the male lead. The lead character, Priest, is involved with two women, Georgia (Lex Scott Davis) and Cynthia (Andrea Londo) who shows just how much they love each other in a steamy shower scene. Bordering on the utterly senseless, there is catfight (with a two minute skirmish of hair pulling and name calling) that pays homage to reality television shows (i.e. Love and Hip Hop and The Real Housewives of Atlanta) when a wife of Priest’s crew discovers that her husband is cheating on her and she confronts the mistress at a party.
The film is entertaining although stereotypical. From booty clapping at the club as money is shot into the air (“making it rain”) to turning a gun sideways to shoot (“thug” or “gangsta” style) for cinematic effect, Superfly capitalizes on movie clichés. Even its lead character breaks out martial arts from time to time. The end comes and goes so quickly as everything is wrapped up neatly like that of a thirty-minute sitcom. Disappointing? No. Predictable? Very. “Catch you on the flip-side.”