The last major film release that was directed by a ‘music video director’ was All Eyez on Me, so it should be no surprise that this film turned out to be a dumpster fire. Now let’s take a minute to think about every negative stereotype of black people you can think of. The glorification of gang culture and violence, the obsession with money and material wealth, the objectification of women, the celebration of all of the above through vulgar rap music. It’s an image of black people that would be considered racist if it wasn’t a majority black film full of rappers.
Superfly is a remake of the 1972 Blaxploitation film with a modern touch. By modern I mean instead of music by Curtis Mayfield, we get yelled at by Lil Jon in the first 30 seconds. Set in Atlanta, Youngblood Priest (Trevor Jackson), a drug dealer, controls the entire city without getting on the radar of the cops, feds, or rival dealers. However, after an overambitious turd nearly shoots Priest in the face, he figures it’s time to get out of the drug dealing game. So instead of simply putting his brother in charge of his business and walking away, he decides to go into business with a Mexican drug cartel so he can earn enough money to walk away…except he doesn’t, and he doesn’t even have a plan of actually getting out.
This has to be one of the dumbest films I’ve seen in some time. Nothing makes any sense from a storytelling standpoint. First, our ‘protagonist’ has a plan to get out of the drug trade by getting deeper than he has ever been before. There are some movies that believe it is smarter than it actually is and this is one of them. Why would Preist go into business with a dangerous drug cartel and believe that they would ever let him walk away? If Priest could move drugs all over the entire country, why didn’t he do so before going to the cartel? How exactly did he get drugs all over the country? How the hell did a group of all-white wearing gangbangers posting YouTube videos of themselves throwing their drug money at strippers not get on the authorities’ radar? Why is Priest allowing the people under him to go rogue so many times and ruin his plans? Why did he wait until the last-minute to figure out a plan for actually getting out? Why does his plan work when he did absolutely nothing to make it happen? The film doesn’t bother to put any real thought into anything, let alone explain it.
The problem with movies like this is that there is no one to root for because they are all terrible people. Our ‘protagonist’ is a cocaine dealer with two girlfriends (that’s right, two) who surrounds himself with terrible people that the film expects you to feel bad for when they die. Our ‘bad guys’ are basically the worst of the criminal element. You have the murderous Mexican cartel leader who ratted on his own brother, Priest’s mentor who is also a drug dealer that steals from his suppliers, the rival gang members who worship money and power, and the racist southern corrupt police officers that Black Lives Matter sees as any person with a badge. Then you have the scumbag ‘muscle’ of the group who cheats on his girlfriend to do coke with his mistress shortly after murdering gang members in broad daylight and the film actually has the nerve to expect you to be upset when he is killed by the racist cops. I don’t care if this guy was killed by Osama Bin Laden, he was still a piece of crap and your emotional funeral scene is laughable in context. When everyone in your film is a garbage human being, then there is nobody for the audience to root for, even when you want them to.
The entire film is shot like a 2-hour rap video directed by the guy who actually directs rap videos for Drake. This film is the representation of everything that black people try to distance themselves from, only to be reinforced by other black people. Hip Hop culture that sees this type of life as realistic and something to be glorified. Where criminals are portrayed as the good guys, the law is portrayed as the bad guys, and the American Dream is dumbed down to naked women, piles of cash, and a celebration of excess. Superfly is not only dumb in its story, but insulting as a representation of ‘black culture’.