Review: 'SuperFly' flies on high style
Music video veteran Director X gives remake of the 1972 film a glossy visual presentation
A slick, sleek and at times silly re-up of the 1972 blaxploitation classic "SuperFly" is an action-drama packaged as a modern music video fantasy.
That's not necessarily a bad thing. Helmed by music video whiz Director X, who has spent two decades in the trenches with artists such as DMX ("What's My Name") and Drake ("Hotline Bling"), "SuperFly" has the cool, glossy look of an elaborate rap video. Which is essentially what it is, give or take a performance sequence or two.
This "SuperFly" moves the action from Harlem to Atlanta. Trevor Jackson (TV's "Grown-ish") plays Youngblood Priest, a coke dealer whose elaborate, high-fashion style is like Migos meets Morris Day. (For men's looks, "SuperFly" is the hip-hop "The Devil Wears Prada.") Priest, as he's known, is looking to leave the drug game behind, so he plans on making one big score so he can retire and live happily ever after with his two girlfriends (Lex Scott Davis and Andrea Londo).
Naturally, there are complications. He has to go around his boss, Scatter (Michael K. Williams), while avoiding the rival gang (the dressed-in-all-white Snow Patrol, not to be confused with the Irish alt-rock balladeers) and the corrupt ATL cops (Jennifer Morrison and Brian F. Durkin, who nearly send things into full-blown camp territory). Priest relies on his partner, Eddie ("Straight Outta Compton's" Jason Mitchell), his friend since middle school and the only person he can trust.
"SuperFly" is light on character development — outside of the fact that he's quick-witted and a snazzy dresser, we don't learn much about Priest, let alone the politics of his polygamous relationship — and high on style. But that style and the film's sense of humor, which, intentional or not, really kicks in during its second half, help forgive its indiscretions.
"SuperFly" isn't challenging or groundbreaking, but at least it lives up to its title.
Rated R for violence and language throughout, strong sexuality, nudity, and drug content
Running time: 116 minutes