Superfly has a reputation as one of the great blaxploitation films, along with Shaft, Coffy, and Foxy Brown. Years after watching the others, I finally get around to seeing Superfly.
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.