If the title ‘SuperFly’ hasn’t turned you off, well then, you’ve made it further than most. A lot further. Walking into the screening, I hadn’t seen a single poster or trailer, nor hadn’t heard any online chatter. Nada. Never I good sign. A quick Google search prior to lights out informed me that this was a remake, there were a few kinda recognisable faces in the cast like that guy from ‘Straight Outta Compton’ and Michael Kenneth Williams, an actor I see everywhere but whose name never seems to stick. I also learned that the director who goes by Director X. (insert eye roll) is the man responsible for so many amazing film clips over the years like Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’, Rihanna’s ‘Work’, Justin Bieber’s ‘Boyfriend’ and the ‘Fancy’ video from Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX. So I now had something to work with here, expectation-wise. And then the following two hours ensued.
Priest (Trevor Jackson, TV’s ‘Grown-ish’) is an Atlanta cocaine dealer. He keeps his work clean, violence-free and under the radar, unlike his peers. But when the competition - a gang that go by the name Snow Patrol (not to be confused with the Scottish band) and wear white head-to-toe including their guns - starts to get territorial, greedy and trigger-happy, Priest decides it’s time to up the ante, score big and make enough to finally get out of the game. But in doing so, he double-crosses a friend and involves the Mexican cartels. All the while, behind the scenes Snow Patrol are itching to take him out, grenades are thrown, and things get ugly. Luckily Priest has a plan and a head on his shoulders - but when everyone is holding a gun but him and has a grudge to bare, money starts doing the talking, lines are crossed and loyalty becomes a figment of his imagination.
So it seems you can take the boy out of music clips but you can take music clips out of the boy. ‘SuperFly’ is a two hour rap video complete with strippers, alcohol, guns, drugs, raining dollar bills, objectified women, barely there clothing, sexual harassment, car chases and the most ridiculous sex scene ever committed to film outside of the porn industry - and I’ve seen ‘Showgirls’! In short, it’s gratuitous, gross and laughable. That’s Column A. Over in Column B, ‘SuperFly’ is one giant middle finger to the U.S. police force. Corruption and murder all at the hands of the men and women in blue take centre stage around the midway point. There is no sugarcoating here. We know what they’re trying to say, and they say it loudly. I have no problems with films conveying strong messages - in fact, I encourage it. Film is, after all, a palatable art form consumed en masse, so why wouldn’t you use that platform? However, when your message is delivered in a manner in which it is laughable - and let me assure you, the audience I was in was laughing - then said message is lost and you’ve committed a disservice.
...when your message is delivered in a manner in which it is laughable ... then said message is lost and you’ve now committed a disservice.
There is nothing standout about the film in the good sense. The screenplay is terrible, the cast may have some talent but it’s hard to see through the mess, and everything else you’re just too busy cringing at. There’s no consistency in the film’s look, especially with the car scenes making for a patchy film without bite. ‘SuperFly’ is doomed to become just another bad remake no one asked for.