Listed here are some issues which might be legitimately superfly in “Superfly”: the vertical hairdo on fabulously named anti-hero Youngblood Priest (Trevor Jackson) and his huge assortment of trenchcoats (black leather-based, brown leather-based and sheepskin, waxed cotton, sequined); a grimy, murderous cop getting an elaborate martial-arts beatdown; and the incontrovertible fact that Priest’s girlfriends (Lex Scott Davis and Andrea Londo) have precise personalities and even jobs.
Much less superfly is Alex Tse’s up to date screenplay, which turns the fashionable, gritty 1972 blaxploitation movie into a reasonably customary drug-dealer thriller. This might partly be as a result of we’re so used to unconventional main males like Priest — because of the unique, which unblinkingly portrayed his “one huge coke sale and I’m out” quest as noble.
Making his function directorial debut, Director X — whose background is in music movies (Rihanna, Drake, Kendrick Lamar) — shoots in Atlanta as a substitute of Harlem, glamming up the story with quick vehicles, hip-hop and heaps extra girls than the unique, albeit largely almost bare ones in a strip membership. There’s additionally now a ruthless, rival gang of sellers referred to as Snow Patrol, who costume in all white. (Refined!) However “Superfly” escapes superficiality thanks largely to robust performances from Jackson; Jason Mitchell as Priest’s workmanlike accomplice, Eddie, and Michael Kenneth Williams as Priest’s mentor, Scatter.
Amid all the automatic-weapons warfare, Priest’s navel-gazing and a fairly steamy threesome, there are just a few flashes of righteous black anger — one character’s automotive crash envelops a Accomplice statue in a large ball of flame. After which there’s Eddie’s purpose for not desirous to give up dealing and get out safely.
“We’re black males,” he says. “There ain’t no place protected on this f–kin’ planet.”
Music producer and rapper Future pays respectful homage to Curtis Mayfield, who scored and carried out in the unique, in the remake’s soundtrack. Whenever you hear the first notes of “Pusherman,” you count on it to show right into a high-wattage remix, however nope: That’s all classic Mayfield. Nonetheless, Director X isn’t above tweaking the older, funkier era. When Scatter nods to Priest’s “Morris Day hair,” the pretty-boy seller turns to him: “Excuse me? Who the f–okay is Morris Day?” Heresy!