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Superfly

Superfly

This is not your grandfather’s Superfly. For better and for worse.

The 1972 classic was not only a popular film, but helped establish the blaxploitation genre. Perhaps it is a good thing we have grown past the need for that. Perhaps it is a good thing that screenwriter Alex Tse and Director X have more to say about contemporary society here. And perhaps a story like this has a better possibility of reaching 21st century audiences looking as sleek as it does, abandoning the gritty atmospherics that gave the original film a compelling authenticity. And so, perhaps, calling this a remake of the first film is a well meaning honorarium. Because this, my friends, is a big, slick and often very entertaining movie all on its own, flying off the intent of its predecessor.

Trevor Jackson stars as Priest, the now Atlanta based dealer who recognizes the game has gotten too violent. And so he (sort of) plans, along with his sideman, the always wonderful Jason Mitchell, a super heist, a score big enough to get out, and keep him in living in the very large style to which he and his people have become accustomed.

X, who comes to this, his first big budget feature, off a strong history of music videos brings undeniable style to the mostly very violent proceedings. Not each scene pops, but when it does, the impact is impressive. No, I’m not just referring to the threesome sex in the shower scene, which drew not just giggles but a smattering of applause at my screening, but also the obligatory, but well shot chase scenes, as well as a fire-filled escape.

This remake makes some pointed, if brief, social commentaries along the way, involving, most notably police and government corruption. And there are a lot of shaking booties, too. Something, I suppose, for everyone.

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