‘SuperFly’: a updated version of the ’72 classic

The movie follows the story of Atlanta drug dealer Youngblood Priest (Trevor Jackson) and his attempt to arrange one last big score before leaving the dope game.

Trevor Jackson and Jason Mitchell in "SuperFly." Credit: Bob Mahoney/Sony

Hollywood loves a remake. You’ve had the good (Ocean’s Eleven), and you’ve had the terrible (Dukes of Hazzard). So, when I heard they were dusting off Ron O’Neal’s mink coat to remake the 1972 classic “Super Fly,” I laughed my head off.

The blaxploitation films of the late ’60s and ’70s were historical and cultural masterpieces. “Super Fly” (the original with two words) was directed by Gordon Parks Jr., whose famous father had directed “Shaft” a year earlier. Set in the turbulent days of the Black Power movement, those early classics allowed black moviegoers to engage in a bit of revenge-fantasy, where men and women who looked like them could stick it to a majority society that never cared about black people.

How could SuperFly (the remake with one word) live up to that? I naturally assumed it was going to be hot garbage and unwatchable.

Turns out that I was wrong.

The movie follows the story of Atlanta drug dealer Youngblood Priest (Trevor Jackson) and his attempt to arrange one last big score before leaving the dope game. But in order for him to get out of the hustle on top, he needs to outsmart the police, a rival drug gang and a Mexican cartel.

Priest decides to call it quits after almost getting killed in an attempted hit by the rival gang. But getting out proves harder than he thought.

As for the acting, I initially thought Jackson was too young to play the title role, but he did a good job. His partner in crime Eddie, played by Jason Mitchell, provides most of the humor.

The women in the film were all attractive, and the strippers were talented. The crooked cops, the criminals, and the elected official, hilariously played by Antwan “Big Boi” Patton, did good work with their stereotypical roles, although the real police might not like how the movie portrayed them.

Without giving anything away, I thought “SuperFly” was art imitating life, though the rival gang was silly. They called themselves the Snow Patrol, and they all dressed in white. Imagine black men walking around in white clothes and driving white cars. The cleaning bill alone makes me cringe at the thought.

“SuperFly” has rapper cameos, cursing, drug use, violence, nudity, the use of the n-word (which I thought the NAACP buried) and a shower scene between three people that went on forever. (In college I think that was called a threesome, but I really can’t remember because I was busy studying.)

My only issue with the movie is the music. I hate what they call rap these days; it all sounds like cats yelping. But again, that is a generational thing — my mother, back in the day, didn’t like me watching “Yo! MTV Raps.”

All that said, I enjoyed the movie, and I recommend it as a nice escape from our real-life hustler at the White House.”

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