Welcome to Now Available, where we’ll give you a quick review of a film we didn’t cover when it was released in theaters that’s releasing for home viewing this week, along with a list of everything else and where you can see our coverage on it.
Superfly, Director X’s sleek remake of 1972’s Super Fly, tells us the story of Priest Youngblood (Trevor Jackson), an Atlanta cocaine dealer and career criminal. Wanting to get out of the game, he creates the perfect plan for one last big score to set him up for life so he can live in peace. As anyone who has ever seen a movie before could probably assume, things don’t exactly go according to plan. Complications put Priest at odds with his partner, fellow dealers, his supplier and the law. Can all of the loose ends be tied up in time for him to make his escape unscathed, or will he find himself sucked right back into the only world he’s ever known?
There is a lot to like about Director X’s remake of the classic blaxploitation film. He expertly updates the story for modern audiences with updated wardrobes, cars and music. In a nice touch, a few of the songs on the soundtrack are the same as in the original, but are remixed by rapper/singer/producer Future. The movie is sleek, stylish and while I found thought it started off a little slow, it expertly ratchets up the tension when the time is right. I had never watched a blaxploitation movie prior to seeing this film, but watching the original and other classics like Shaft afterward, I found it’s pacing to be quite consistent, though with a longer runtime, with the best that the genre has to offer. It also has a subversive sense of humor, with scenes of vengeful wish fulfillment involving dirty cops getting beat to a pulp and, in my favorite set piece, a car chase that ends with the creative demise of a confederate statue. Trevor Jackson shines as Priest, the calm, cool and collected career dealer who harbors secret dreams of another life. The rest of the cast is good, with a few brief appearances by Michael K. Williams being the highlight. Unfortunately, a long scene of sexuality that was completely superfluous made the film feel a lot cheaper than it would have otherwise. It’s easier to forgive these depictions of male wish fulfillment in the films from the 70’s that influenced this one because they’re quite literally of a different time. I don’t believe that this type of sex for the sake of showing skin sits as well with the modern audience. That scene, combined with a story that holds your attention but ultimately feels hollow, keeps the film from being something I’d recommend to others, unless I knew they were fans of the genre.
In the end, Director X’s SuperFly is a solid reimagining of the classic film for modern audiences. There is a good chance, though, that you’ll forget it pretty quickly after the credits roll.
Buy It, Rent It, Wait for Netflix or Skip It?
Wait for Netflix.
Also available this week:
Ocean’s 8- Aaron was a pretty big fan of this fiercely female heist film. See his thoughts here.
Hearts Beat Loud- There’s a good chance you’ll see this film on at least a couple of Feelin’ Film contributors’ top ten lists at the end of the year. Listen to Patrick talk about his love for the movie in the “What We’ve Been Up To” portion of episode 115 of the podcast here and be sure to subscribe to the Podcast because a full episode on this gem is coming in early October!
Other New Releases: Distorted, Watcher in the Woods