Superfly 2018 ****

A far more persuasive return to the past glories of the Blaxploitation genre than any of the Shaft sequels, Superfly returns to the 1972 street-crime thriller that spawned the Curtis Mayfield soundtrack and plays the same hand rather differently. Moving the action from NYC to Atlanta, and removing the central character’s pimping sideline, the focus is Youngblood Priest (Trevor Jackson), a dealer who wants to get out of his cash-for-crypto lifestyle, particularly after a close shave nearly leaves him on the wrong end of a stray bullet. Of course, dealing isn’t easy to quit, and Priest faces a number of obstacles on all sides of the law, notably a gang who share a name with the Dundee band Snow Patrol. Joel Silver’s production has some great action beats, plus a cool soundtrack courtesy of The Future. Why audiences stayed away is a mystery; Superfly is just as good as New Jack City, King of New York or other classic street-wise crime thrillers, and in the era of Black Lives Matter, showing an urban character evolving in a positive way should have been a slam dunk. Hopefully, the luxury of streaming will give those in the know a chance to get recreational with Superfly.


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