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Trevor Jackson in Superfly.

Bob Mahoney/Sony Pictures

  • Superfly
  • Directed by: Director X
  • Written by: Alex Tse
  • Starring: Trevor Jackson, Jason Mitchell, and Michael Kenneth Williams
  • Classification: 18A; 100 minutes

rating

With sharp one-liners that cut between the spillage of blood and high-octane fight scenes, the 21st-century remake of the classic 1972 film Superfly pulls as much from the legacy of blaxploitation films as it does from grindhouse. Employing the unapologetic pomp of rap videos and enough heart to transition stereotypical characters into complex, dynamic subjects, Superfly is a visual treat that embellishes Director X’s signature kaleidoscopic visuals with an uncanny knack for storytelling. Retrofitted for 2018, there’s an undeniable political messaging that seems tailor-made for a contemporary audience. Here, women often run the show and in one striking instance, a confederate statue ceremoniously topples over during a chase scene. Still, the film is not immune to the tribulations that action films often experience: at times the plot is subject to hyperactivity, and, in other sections, bordering on corny. But a measured take of the film finds that it succeeds in paying homage to its predecessor. The unapologetic camp and dark humour pull off the goal of the original: a story about the extreme ingenuity needed to redirect the course of your life.

Superfly opens June 13.

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