Super Fly Gordon Parks Jr.

When compared to fellow blaxploitation films, Super Fly is often deemed the crowning jewel — a piece of filmmaking that is above the genre's often camp quality. Sure, this 1972 film is extremely low-budget and has some of the wildest fashion to ever hit the big screen, but this was the film that really stuck it to the man, and it was a surprise hit at the box office. It's a tale of a cocaine dealer named Priest (Ron O'Neal) who decided that the drug trade wasn't a way to live anymore and that there had to be more to life for a black man than pushing blow on the streets. After plotting one last score that would support his post-cocaine lifestyle, Priest finds that the crooked cops aren't eager to see this stylish man on the straight and narrow. Super Fly lives up to its name and boasts some of the slickest threads, saucy afro-kittens and the absolute meanest ride to hit New York streets, but it was the social commentary on street life and the quest for a better way that made this film recognised above other blaxploitation flicks. The DVD boasts quite a number of features that could have easily been passed up when dismissing this movie as camp. A retrospective interview session with those involved, including producer Sig Shore, gives insight as to how many of these low-budget films didn't seem to have an audience amongst mainstream Hollywood and how the crew really had no idea if the film would even be completed. A vintage featurette with the Shakespearean-trained Ron O'Neal is the most interesting bonus, as it was filmed just as Super Fly blew up. Watching this straight-haired hero swarmed as he walks downtown is definitely more of what this DVD needs to portray the popularity and importance of this flick. Seeing as the greatest quality of Super Fly is the amazing Curtis Mayfield soundtrack, it's a shame that the score was reduced to an audio-only interview with Mayfield, but at least there is a definite acknowledgment given to the recording. Solid. Plus: audio commentary with Dr. Todd Boyd and a wardrobe retrospective with costume designer Nate Adams. (Warner)