Monday, May 2, 2011

Super Fly T.N.T. (1973)

Director: Ron O'Neal

Starring: Ron O'Neal, Roscoe Lee Browne, Sheila Frazier, Robert Guilaume, Jacques Sernas, William Berger

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Same dude with a different plan... in another country with a different man.

Plot: We catch up with Priest in Rome, where the one-time crime lord, weary of the hustling of his Harlem operation and eager to get his head clear, is ready for some permanent R 'n' R. He has no interest when an African freedom fighter (Roscoe Lee Browne) asks for his help on a gun-running mission. But Priest ultimately discovers he cannot turn his back on the land of his ancestors. He joins the fight. And when he's in a fight, it means war!

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.

Friday night it was SUPER FLY (1972) which means that Saturday night just had to be SUPER FLY T.N.T (1973)! O'Neal takes the director's chair this time and it shows. Even though it's not the fun ride the first picture was, it's got a lot of nice things going for it. O'Neal just oozes with charisma. I don't know why this guy didn't dominate action cinema in the 70s. He's just too cool.

He's back as the man with the car...

the threads...

and the chicks (well, just one chick this time)!

I really dug the poker scene where Priest bests his poker rival. VERY nice! The acting is great, particularly by Roscoe Lee Browne. This guy is a class act if there ever was one. But a few nice scenes and charismatic actors can't make up for the weak direction. There's nothing wrong with the story (it shares a similar plot from the first movie involving the guy Priest pulled out of retirement) but it's how O'Neal handles it. The film just sits there sometimes, meandering from one scene to the next, not feeling like it's focused.

And then there's the odd inclusion of Robert Guillaume. His character, as far as I could gather, served little purpose to the the story but I loved seeing him in the picture. He's a delight to watch. Oh, and that scene where he sings is priceless. He does such a great job at lip synching I've just got to wonder if that's really his voice. My money says it is.

Speaking of music, you can't have a good Blaxploitation flick without a good, funky score. Especially after Curtis Mayfield's fantastic score for SUPER FLY, the score for the sequel is a tough one to swallow. The music by Osibisa is pretty bad and out of place and it's practically embarrassing at times. Overall, SFTNT is a let down over the first movie despite a fantastic cast, nice location shooting in Rome and some memorable set pieces. Regardless, though, if you like SUPER FLY you're going to have to watch this one. You just have to.

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