Blerd Film Club: Superfly

In 1972 during the blaxploitation era the film Super Fly set the United States on fire. The film told the story of Youngblood Priest, a pimp and drug dealer trying to escape the world of crime forever. Alongside a soundtrack created by Curtis Mayfield, the film went on to make over 30 million on a budget of just $500,000. A sequel, Super Fly TNT flopped and that was the end of the series. In 2017 production of a remake began. This time starring Trevor Jackson.

Priest is the best cocaine dealer that doesn't exist. The police don't know about him and he's never been arrested as an adult. He is essentially a ghost. The film starts with Priest going to collect money from a rapper who hasn't paid up. After which he attends a night club where his two girlfriends are. Cynthia, a bottle girl and cocaine dealer, Georgia who operates and an art gallery. There he is welcomed into the VIP section of The Snow Patrol. The Snow Patrol, are also cocaine dealers but unlike Priest's organization they are flashy and out in the open with everything. White clothing, white vehicles, white weapons and white powder.

Juju one of the younger members of the Snow Patrol hates Priest from the start. However, Q who leads The Snow Patrol assures Juju that Priest has never done anyone wrong and violence is never his solution. Outside the club, a drunk Juju attacks Priest and gets beat down, as Prince practices martial arts. Other members of the Snow Patrol jump in and are easily handled as well. Juju pulls a gun and fires, missing Priest but hitting a woman in the crowd. Snow Patrol runs, and Priest gives the woman and her friend a thousands of dollars and tell them which hospital will ensure her survival before leaving and promising them everything would be fine.

Priest talks to his best friend and right hand man Eddie about how he never wants to be shot at again and wants out of the game. Eddie doesn't want out as drug dealing brings his only peace. Eddie eventually agrees and Priest goes to see Scatter. Scatter is Priest's mentor and martial arts trainer, as well as his supplier. He request a larger supply so that he can get enough money together to escape. Scatter refuses believing it would draw attention. Priest and Eddie instead follow Scatter when he meets the plug. Priest has an intense meeting with the plug where they agree to cut out Scatter and triple the supply of drugs.

Meanwhile, a Snow Patrol barber shop is sprayed in a drive-by with multiple members of the crew being killed. Juju instantly suspects Priest and demands Q go after him. Later Q shows up to the art gallery Georgia runs where she is hosting a fundraiser for the mayor of Atlanta (played by Big Boi). He demands to speak with Priest. Priest promises that the hit wasn't done by him or Eddie. Q doesn't believe this. With the new supply of drugs and vast distribution network things are going great and they're making more money than ever.

They throw a party celebrating and Fat Freddy, an enforcer asks Eddie for a brick of cocaine to prove he can sell too. Eddie gives it to him and thinks nothing of it. Freddy however, gets caught cheating at the party by his girlfriend who had been tracking his phone by GPS. The girlfriend then takes the records to Snow Patrol to show he was the one who shot up the barbershop. Snow Patrol follows him leaving the party but back off when he's stopped by a police officer.

The police officer finds the brick of cocaine and calls in another dirty police officer. Freddy refuses to talk even with a gun to his head but his sidechick tells the police everything. The police stage fake a shooting and kill Freddy. When the news hits in the morning everyone is shocked. The two officers then show up to extort 1 million weekly from Priest and Eddie. In return they'll keep other police off their behinds. Priest and Eddie fight over the situation with this putting a bigger rush on their exit. Georgia secures passports for Priest, Cynthia and herself seeing the end coming closer.

At Freddy's funeral Scatter surprises Priest knowing it was Priest who pushed Scatter out. Scatter forces him to drive and meet with the plug. Scatter tells them that Priest was planning to quit and promises he never lied. However, Scatter is killed because it turns out he had been stealing money off the top for decades and Priest had not. Now Priest sets his final plan in motion to end this all.

Snow Patrol raid Priests house and kill Cynthia in the shootout. Georgia and Priest throw Molotovs at them to escape. They have a car chase in which Q crashes and dies. Juju crashes as well but escapes. Eddie now reaches out to Juju who is in charge of the Snow Patrol now. Eddie tells them Priest is leaving the city and needs to reach the stash to get money so he can exit. Eddie leads them to the stash house but doesn't go in. The building is raided by a SWAT team led by the police that have been blackmailing Priest and Eddie. They make sure none of the Snow Patrol members survive.

Priest meets with the mayor of Atlanta and shares a video of The Mayor doing cocaine off a hooker's back. The Mayor asks how much to pay Priest off. Instead Priest asks for a few other things and promises the election as well. The file showing their plug actually sent his brother to jail which meant that he was killed. Then he asks that one of the dirty police officers is arrested. The other he personally deals with. He sets up Eddie as the new silent drug kingpin for a cut of the profit and lives a peaceful life with Georgia.

The movie got mixed reviews, some felt it was flat and a poor attempt at recreating blaxploitation. Others praised it for telling a classic story without the stereotypes. Personally I feel like it would have been a better film with a few changes. They shouldn't have named it after the original, as that led to some odd expectations. There's not a lot of violence int he film and when there is, some of it is comically overdone, such as Priest dodging a bullet at point blank range. Then there's the visual theme of the film. They should have gone all in. There's these really cool moments, where you got solid gold guns, you guns similar to Blade Runner blasters. There's these super artistic scenes with crazy lighting like the very first but they're far and few between. Then halfway through the film all that stops as if they weren't sure it would work.

One thing that this film did was keeping the involvement of blaxploitation films. They often had lots of appearances by black celebrities and musicians. This film had those. Off the top of my head I spotted Big Boi as the mayor, Lecrae performing at a funeral, Rick Ross as dealer and Kia Shine but looking at IMDB, I missed a few. I can see how critics were mixed on the reviews. It's not a perfect movie but it's going to keep your attention.

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Blerd Film Club: Superfly Blerd Film Club: Superfly Reviewed by Darrell S. on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 Rating: 5

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