So how super fly was super fly?
Well, I think from the costumes, hairstyles, cars and high life, you definitely are going to love this film. I think it is a bit exaggerated, but so are comic book movies, right? The settings is two gangs rivalry over the turf of Atlanta. One gang is led by Youngblood Priest with a cool edge of always laying low and not being discovered by the police. The rival gang is Snow Patrol, always decked out in pure white: white fur, white guns, white jeans, white Lamborghinis and white Range Rovers. Its kind of hilarious take on the extremes of gangs showing their power in color alone.
I think there may have been some better editing on some shots to get more bang for your buck. There was a long shower/sex scene to show the allure of Priest and his two girlfriends Cynthia and Goergia, yet you don't get too much into the correlationship and how that works. Maybe the director is assuming we're all up on the Sister Wives TV show, so we don't need to explain polygamy too in depth. Another flaw I think would be they have this kind of gruesome type of killing machine used by the Mexican mafia that kind of doesn't come off as terrifying despite great acting by the Mexican mafia ruler Alberto Gonzalez as he's thrown in by his own mother. Somehow, I think with better sound editing, we could have heard the bones crunching to make it more terrifying. In these scenes, you feel like it is a bad plot device to avoid buying dummies to cut open and save on fake blood. I think a good parallel would be in No Country for Old Men, the lead villain Anton mercilessly kills based on a flip of a coin and then used an air gun to leave no evidence of who killed or how. This was the epitome of senseless psychotic. In the machine used in SuperFly, I felt none of the connection of why they abandoned hanging people from telephone lines, like the real Mexican drug mafias do in Mexico. Kind of like if you strip out the chain saw scene in Scarface, you don't feel scared of Tony and the gangs.
I liked the various twists and turns in the story, which show how clever Priest has to be to outsmart his rival gang, mistakes by drug team, corrupt police and his bosses. It shows the real life of drug dealers in its essence of challenges to survive as a big dealer. First, he has a rival gang blow up into a large scale gang warfare, then the police show up to start taking a massive cut of his business. Here the director shows the police like detective Mason as killing young blacks in order to exploit the drug trade to make money. I would say this definitely is in the realm of reality considering how low police are paid and massively rich the drug lords can become. We all know the story of the rise of Pablo Escobar taking over the entire cocaine industry in Columbia and Mexican mafia recruiting the best police as security and watch outs for police investigation, so there's likely some real corruption in the US police as well.
I think besides shortening the shower scene, I would have built more on how tough life was for Youngblood as a youth. Its kind of assumed in the movie, but you need that scene to show why he wanted to escape poverty, how he saved his mother's house and what happened to his mother. Likely, he broke his mother's heart becoming a drug dealer to save their house, but you only get a slight angle on this side of the story with his immediate boss Scatter, who raised him from his youth to his current status. They touched on this briefly, but could have added maybe 2 minutes of film to show the beginning life of Priest and his close partner Eddie. Another issue with the film, is although they have a great story, some how the editing is missing some of the buildup of suspense. In say, Sicario, we have this amazing sense of tension and development of the main character going from youthful idealist rookie officer Kate Maser to almost completely jaded, broken, seasoned FBI agent by the end of the film. In this film, you are missing this element in the characters for the most part. The only evolution is Priest trying to get out of the game, but we don't know the motive. They explain, but they don't explain. Another example is say Scarface, we really see how the increase in power and money ends up corrupting Tony beyond salvation. I think I would figure out a way to have more character evolution here. Priest starts as a dealer and ends as an ex-dealer, but somehow we need more than this character evolving. All the other characters seem stuck in their roles, not seeing their life evolve unless they die in action.
Have you done any related art?
Yes, totally. I love this type of drama movie, since I grew up in a drug trade neighborhood. I knew several dealers in the hood and even the rival gangs, although more diluted in the suburbs of Chicago, you have this intimate connection in poorer neighborhoods. I even had a Disciples gang member put a snub nose gun in my back as a joke, so yes, I identify with the film genre. In my painting below, I have the moment Tony in Scarface decides to attack his way out of his mansion no matter how hopeless with his little friend. The painting is a commentary on the real life of Pablo Escobar and his rise to power in Columbia as well as the connection of Coca-cola still tied to the coca plant used in cocaine and the production of the #1 beverage in the world, besides water.