30th Jul2005

Lawdy, Lawdy! Superfly Had A SEQUEL?!

by Will

“Logan would join a limbo contest if it had a redhead in it.”

It’s back! About 6 months ago, I wrote a scathing article about The African Heritage Movie Theatre, and it’s MC’s, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis. Well, much has changed in that time. Mr. Davis has gone to that theatre in the sky, and Ms. Dee is MIA. So, the franchise has been renamed. Yes, I give you the Uptown Movie Network. And get this: it’s now hosted by Ms. Shar “F you, Federline!” Jackson. But worry not, because they’re still cranking out those movies that make us Black folks feel so proud! This week’s offering: “Superfly T.N.T”

Yes, as if “Superfly” wasn’t enough, someone came up with the bright idea to give us a sequel. But this ain’t yo daddy’s Blaxploitation movie (actually, it’s from 1973, so it probably is…). Don’t look for the ghettos and the Cadillacs. No, allow me to provide you with the movie’s synopsis:

“Superfly comes out of his Roman retirement to free a tiny African nation from the grip of a cruel dictator.”

Oh, Superfly must be a hero, right? Well, for those of you who don’t know the story of Superfly, as depicted in the first movie, let me break it down for ya. Superfly, known as Youngblood Priest, was a cocaine dealer who simply realized he’d had enough of the life. But he needed one last score to provide him with the cash for his escape. So, I guess he used that cash to get to Rome. Yeah…Rome. I didn’t even think they let Black people in Rome in 1973!

Oh, but it gets better. You ever seen a 6’4” Black dude with a perm, dressed from head to toe in horseback riding gear? Better yet, have you ever seen the same guy chase a mugger down narrow Roman streets?You will if you see this movie. I don’t know if Superfly is the most famboyant pimp or the gayest ass kicker, but it certainly is a sight to see.

The highlight of this movie has GOT to be Roscoe Lee Brown, who has one of the most iconic voices in entertainment history. Screw James Earl Jones. Roscoe’s “Kingpin” from the Fox Spider-Man cartoon stomps all over Mr. “This is CNN”. Anyway, Brown plays the part of an African diplomat. Not that it takes much. In this day and age, all you had to do was show up to work. And he does that nicely.

So, why am I ranting? Well, the whole commercial nature of this franchise was to show movies that, supposedly, had a cultural and classic impact on the Black cinematic experience. I understand that there are only so many times one can watch “The Color Purple” and “The Tuskeegee Airmen”, but it’d be more honorable if someone just came out and said, “OK, we’re all out of movies.” Don’t pass this dreck off and try to make people think it means something. Hell, “Superfly T.N.T” doesn’t even come up immediately on an IMDB search. You’ve got to dig to find that bad boy. I guess that’s supposed to make me think it’s a hidden cinematic treasure. Well, I’m on to your game!

“Superfly” had cultural significance. It is one of the more memorable Blaxploitation movies. Was it a “good” movie? I’ll leave that in the eye of the beholder. But it had cultural significance. These were Black made films, for Black audiences. As deplorable as the subject matter may have been, these tales were real to many people. Can’t say the same about “Soul Plane”. But I digress…

But you can’t tell me that Superfly’s sequel holds the same meaning in time. In the words of Judge Judy, “Don’t piss on my knee and tell me it’s raining!” The fool is in Rome! Who came up with this locale? How did a coke dealer become an African savior? I mean, I’m all about redemption, but DAMN!

Everybody knows that a sequel is simply another trip to the well. Typically, you had success, and now you’re trying to milk the idea dry. The “message” was in your first movie, but the sequel is all fo’ da scrilla. With that in mind, any lesson or message to be conveyed was in the first Superfly. And I guess said message was: “if you’re gonna deal, make sure you rollin’ high, and you get yo’ ass to a safe place for the fallout.” OK, I can live with that. A lot of young folks could do well to know that message. But the only message in the sequel is: “if you take your Black ass to Rome, they gonna find you!”

Thanks, “Uptown Movie Network”. I sure am glad y’all decided to show “Graffiti Bridge” instead of “King” back in January. And I really appreciate the effort, but I think I’ll take care of my cultural education on my own. But holla back when y’all start showing reruns of “Girlfriends”…