In an uninspired world in which rampant reboots and nostalgia are all the rage, SuperFly is the latest film to boldly go where we’ve already been before. Originally released in 1972, this 2018 Bad Boy remix is buoyed by “Grown-Ish” standout Trevor Jackson and his immaculate perm. But does his performance, as well as the rest of the movie, meet or exceed the original? I’m glad you asked. Grab a seat.
Do you remember your parents threatening to disown you the first time you played Biggie’s “Big Poppa” around them? Sure, the chords and bassline sound familiar. But who the hell is this fat nigga rambling about cheese eggs and Welch’s grape juice? That’s SuperFly. Or at least this iteration of it.
While Ron O’Neal exuded confidence and charisma as he disposed of kilos of cocaine and bell-bottomed jive turkeys, Jackson borrows all of the cool but can’t quite replicate the soul. He’s like a Fox News article about Black Twitter. And while Director X and screenwriter Alex Tse are partly to blame for omitting the complexity that made Youngblood Priest such a compelling figure in the original, this soundtrack, helmed by Russell Wilson’s nemesis Future, doesn’t do this film any favors. While rife with the trap drums and warbling that’s dominating the Billboard charts, it adds a whole lot of not a damn thing to the story itself. Which is exactly why Curtis Mayfield's iconic crooning from the original film was called in to save the day.
But for what it lacks in soul, it delivers in style and flair. If you grew up on music video mainstays “Video Soul” or “MTV Jams” in the 90’s (AKA The Greatest Decade Of All Time And No It’s Not Up For Discussion), then you’ll find delight in Director X’s penchant for vibrant hues and gratuitous camera tricks. Fistfights leap off the screen, wardrobes follow suit, and we’re even treated to a nipple or seventeen as a consolation prize.
So while SuperFly won’t be taking home any Oscars, it won’t be exiled to BET rerun purgatory either. It’s a fun flick that while not quite “Between The Sheets”, is still enjoyable as a refurbished “Big Poppa”. Just do yourself a favor and don’t tell your parents.