Ron O'Neal, who recently passed away on January 14, 2004, plays Priest, a streetwise pusher in a dilemma. Seems he is tired of the hustle, and is looking for a way to get out of the game, but, as his partner Eddie (Carl Lee) puts it, "Look, I know it's a rotten game, but it's the only one The Man left us to play." Apparently Priest has thought long about this, and he has come up with a plan to score a lot of cash in a short amount of time, and then plans to retire. Sounds like a plan, but Priest soon encounters powerful forces that feel he is worth more to them on the streets, pushing junk, doing what he does best. While the film does appear to glamorize the lifestyle of the drug peddler, I truly believe the underlying message was than despite all Priests' success, he was languishing in a form of slavery, always working for someone else and taking all the risks involved in such a trade. In a way he realized this, but found it difficult to leave the life, as that was all he knew, and working for 'chump change' was not in his future.
Gordon Parks, Jr. direction may seem amateurish with jerky camera shots and such, but it fit in nicely with the nature of the material within the film, giving a raw, harsh look into the seedy side of life, much like Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets (1973).Read more ›
Unless you really DIG a giant Cadillac with curb-feelers, monster-fur dash and purple detail, the funk of this movie will be lost on you. The film takes itself very seriously. In a way, it was like watching a day in the life of Prince before PURPLE RAIN.
God, I loved the 70's.
Superfly is about Youngblood Priest, a drug dealer and one of the baddest, most authentically black cats in all the city. He has it good with his women, the money, his wheels, and he has the respect of the other dealers and underworld figures. Despite all this success, Priest desperately wants to move out of the criminal life. He figures one last score will get him out.
I expected more comedy. Perhaps seeing Ron O'Neal in that outrageous pimp suit on the DVD cover prepared me for a lighter, breezier flick. I also expected more action. Superfly has almost no action. Superfly attempts a thoroughly realistic portrayal of a drug dealer surviving, thriving, and trying to snake his way out of the business. O'Neal's performance is a job well done, and supporting players deserve credit as well.
Gordon Parks Jr. directed, and while his work is not masterful, it serves the performers and setting well.
Superfly deserves its reputation as a landmark blaxploitation flick, and it's surely worth 90 minutes of your time. Just don't start the movie expecting a lot of action or comedy. Superfly is a lowdown nasty drama about the hard life.
Also, the DVD includes some extras. Best of these is a commentary by Dr. Todd Boyd, whose knowledge of the film and time period is evident. Dr. Boyd's insights into the ghetto culture of the early and mid 1970s and African-American life there are valuable and exceptional.