Superfly re-imagines the original 1972 crime drama for a new generation of film goers.
Youngblood Priest (Trevor Jackson) doesn’t let his work define who he is as a person. He works with a lot of violent people, including Sno Patrol, but he doesn’t kill. He absolutely refuses to kill. This is what makes him a better person when compared to the likes of Sno Patrol. Priest is in a polyamorous relationship with both Georgia (Lex Scott Davis) and Cynthia (Andrea Londo). It’s a change from the original but the three of them are in a committed relationship. These types of relationships on screen are so rare.
Priest just happens to have eyes everywhere, whether it’s Georgia working as an art gallery owner or Cynthia working at the strip club where Sno Patrol frequents. He came working for Scatter (Michael Kenneth Williams) and just like anyone living the American Dream, he’s ambitious and wants more for himself. Scatter and Priest have their own differing approaches to how they work. In any event, Priest plans to exit the business but there’s a lot of angles at play preventing him from doing so.
Eddie (Jason Mitchell) is Priest’s right-hand man and makes sure things get to where they need to be. Fat Freddie (Jacob Ming-Trent) is that guy who wants more. He’s also prone to making mistakes, including one that will cost him his life and raise the stakes for Priest.
Sno Patrol, fronted by Q (Big Bank Black), dresses in white, drives white cars, and they all carry guns. The moment that Ju-Ju (Kaalan “KR” Walker) yells on screen about someone recording him, one can sense the violence within him. He has it in for Priest from the moment he sees him. This tension between the two is felt during the entire film.
Having shot a number of music videos, Director X brings an approach to filmmaking that runs on the stylish side. His approach is one that fits the Superfly‘s style in areas such as cinematography. It’s an approach that differs from the original film. Updating the film with a style that appeals to a new generation is key.
Running just shy of two hours, the film doesn’t feel like it gets going until the second half when the police corruption comes into play, with Detective Mason (Jennifer Morrison) and Officer Turk Franklin (Brian Durkin). The corruption isn’t new to the franchise. They see the drugs and want a piece of the pie. This sense of corruption was felt in the first film when Nixon was being forced out of office. It’s there with the Trump Administration emboiled in a scandal today. While I don’t like remakes, the update feels relevant in that regard, especially with Mayor Atkins (Antwan “Big Boi” Patton).
The fact that Superfly is a remake of Super Fly speaks to this idea that Hollywood is out of ideas. It’s one thing to be inspired by an older film and decide to pay homage to it in an original film. Rehashing ideas from older films or television shows is a trend that honestly needs to end. For what it’s worth though, the film brings an approach that stays true to the source material and updates it for a newer audience with a hip-hop mix.
DIRECTOR: Director X
SCREENWRITER: Alex Tse
CAST: Trevor Jackson, Jason Mitchell, Michael Kenneth Williams, Lex Scott Davis, Jennifer Morrison, Kaalan “KR” Walker, Esai Morales, Andrea Londo, Big Bank Black, Antwan “Big Boi” Patton, Jacob Ming-Trent
Columbia Pictures will open Superfly in theaters on June 13, 2018.