The Return of Superfly (1990)

R | 96 mins | Drama | 9 November 1990

Director:

Sig Shore

Writer:

Anthony Wisdom

Cinematographer:

Anghel Decca

Editor:

John Mullen

Production Designer:

Jeremie Frank
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HISTORY

A title card early in the movie reads: “Paris.”
       This is the third Super Fly film, following Super Fly (1972, see entry) and Super Fly T.N.T. (1973, see entry), but the first to combine the two words into “Superfly.” However, according to the 19 May 1986 DV, the film was originally proposed as The Return of Super Fly. By the time of the film’s release four years later, producers briefly considered the title Superfly 1990, the 12 Aug 1990 LAT reported. The 1 Mar 1990 Los Angeles Sentinel, and the copyright application for the film on file at the Library of Congress noted that an earlier proposed title was Dark Streets: The Return of Superfly. The only two characters carried forward from the original Super Fly are “Youngblood Priest” and “Eddie Baker,” who are portrayed by different actors. Sig Shore produced all three films, but The Return of Superfly is the first he directed.
       Actor Ron O’Neal, who starred as Priest in both Super Fly and Super Fly T.N.T., told the 8 Sep 1988 Los Angeles Sentinel that he turned down the role in the third film because he did not like “the idea.” Actor Richard Lawson was being considered for the part, the 8 Jul 1988 HR and 22 Sep1988 Rolling Stone reported, but ultimately did not appear in the film.
       The 19 May 1986 DV announced that Sig Shore’s Lodestar Productions was preparing to begin principal photography on The Return ... More Less

A title card early in the movie reads: “Paris.”
       This is the third Super Fly film, following Super Fly (1972, see entry) and Super Fly T.N.T. (1973, see entry), but the first to combine the two words into “Superfly.” However, according to the 19 May 1986 DV, the film was originally proposed as The Return of Super Fly. By the time of the film’s release four years later, producers briefly considered the title Superfly 1990, the 12 Aug 1990 LAT reported. The 1 Mar 1990 Los Angeles Sentinel, and the copyright application for the film on file at the Library of Congress noted that an earlier proposed title was Dark Streets: The Return of Superfly. The only two characters carried forward from the original Super Fly are “Youngblood Priest” and “Eddie Baker,” who are portrayed by different actors. Sig Shore produced all three films, but The Return of Superfly is the first he directed.
       Actor Ron O’Neal, who starred as Priest in both Super Fly and Super Fly T.N.T., told the 8 Sep 1988 Los Angeles Sentinel that he turned down the role in the third film because he did not like “the idea.” Actor Richard Lawson was being considered for the part, the 8 Jul 1988 HR and 22 Sep1988 Rolling Stone reported, but ultimately did not appear in the film.
       The 19 May 1986 DV announced that Sig Shore’s Lodestar Productions was preparing to begin principal photography on The Return of Superfly, a $4-million production, in the fall of 1986. More than two years later, the 8 Jul 1988 HR noted that The Return of Superfly was set to be shot in Aug 1988. However, according to the 4 Jul 1990 Var, Shore finally filmed the project between Jun and Sep 1989 in Samford, CT, New York City, and Paris, France. His Lodestar Productions was not involved with the picture.
       Because of the huge success of the original film’s “soul music” soundtrack, Curtis Mayfield returned to score the new project, but he was joined by several successful contemporary hip hop and rap artists, including Ice-T and members of N.W.A. The Return of Superfly and its Capitol Records soundtrack album were scheduled to be released together in Aug 1990, the 26 Jul 1990 Los Angeles Sentinel reported, but the film was held back three months until 9 Nov 1990, after the soundtrack was issued. The 19 Nov 1990 Var film review noted that, because of the time lag, the album’s success was “unlikely to fuel the picture.” Curtis Mayfield was paralyzed during a stage accident while promoting the album and the single, “Superfly 1990,” according to the 5 Oct 1990 LA Weekly.
       Reviews were uniformly unfavorable. The 12 Nov 1990 LAT called The Return of Superfly “as hopelessly mediocre as a movie can be and still get a theatrical release,” while the 12 Nov 1990 HR deemed it “plodding, inane, [and] virtually action-less.” Upon the film’s release, the 19 Nov 1990 Var reported it “barely got off the ground with about $60,000 in its debut.” The 31 Dec 1990 Var branded the film “a boxoffice fizzler.”
       End credits contain the following acknowledgments: “Producer acknowledges contributions of the following fashion houses: Anne Klein II; A.J. Lester; Heaven on Earth; Armand Basi; In Wear; Flash Matinique; Michael Savoia; Police File; Dina’s Boutique; & Genina.” Also, “The entire company wishes to express [t]heir thanks to Mayor Thom Serrani of Stamford, Connecticut, for the effort his staff extended to makes us all feel welcome.”
More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
19 May 1986
p. 1, 15
Daily Variety
1 Jul 1988
p. 9
Daily Variety
2 Jul 1990
p. 2, 6
Daily Variety
12 Nov 1990
p. 2, 12
Daily Variety
28 Dec 1990
p. 13
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jul 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jul 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Nov 1990
p. 12, 56
LA Weekly
5 Oct 1990.
---
Los Angeles Sentinel
8 Sep 1988
Section B, p. 7
Los Angeles Sentinel
1 Mar 1990
Section B, p. 7
Los Angeles Sentinel
26 Jul 1990
Section B, p. 10
Los Angeles Times
12 Aug 1990
Calendar, p. 79
Los Angeles Times
12 Nov 1990
Calendar, p. 12
New York Times
10 Nov 1990
p. 17
Rolling Stone
22 Sep 1988.
---
Variety
6 Jul 1988
p. 25
Variety
4 Jul 1990
p. 30
Variety
22 Aug 1990
p. 99
Variety
19 Nov 1990.
p. 18
Variety
19 Nov 1990
p. 80
Variety
31 Dec 190
p,. 18
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
[and]
as "Willy"
Crack apartment:
Police station:
Penthouse:
Street scene:
Airport Customs:
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Crash Pictures Presentation
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Co-prod
Co-prod
Co-prod
Co-prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst, Cam crew
Asst op, Cam crew
Asst op, Cam crew
2d asst, Cam crew
Gaffer, Elec
Gaffer, Elec
Best boy, Elec
3d elec, Elec
Key, Grip
2d grip, Grip
Still photog
Cam equip
Lighting & grip equip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed, Film ed
2d asst, Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop supv
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost des
Ward supv
MUSIC
Mus comp and performed by
Mus ed, Sd
Music cutter, Sd
SOUND
Loc mixer, Sd
1st boom, Sd
2d [boom], Sd
Post prod supv, Sd
EFX ed, Sd
Dial ed, Sd
BG ed, Sd
Sd mixer, Sd
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec EFX
Spec EFX
Main title des
Opticals by
Titles by
MAKEUP
Hair stylist/Hair dresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting/Casting supv by
Extra casting
Unit mgr
Loc mgr
Prod coord
Prod coord
Scr supv
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod accountant
Transportation arr by
STAND INS
Stunt supv
Stuntman
Stuntman
COLOR PERSONNEL
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the character created by Phillip Fenty.
SONGS
"Superfly 1990," Curtis Mayfield & Ice-T (Curtis Mayfield), published by M&M Publishing Co. (BMI), produced by Curtis Mayfield, additional production, guitar and remix by Lenny Kravitz
"Superfly 1990" (Hip Hop Instrumental) Curtis Mayfield (Curtis Mayfield), published by M&M Publishing Co. (BMI), produced by Curtis Mayfield, additional production and remix by Bial Bashir for Bilshir Music
"For The Love Of You," Curtis Mayfield (Curtis Mayfield), published by M&M Publishing Co. (BMI), produced by Curtis Mayfield
+
SONGS
"Superfly 1990," Curtis Mayfield & Ice-T (Curtis Mayfield), published by M&M Publishing Co. (BMI), produced by Curtis Mayfield, additional production, guitar and remix by Lenny Kravitz
"Superfly 1990" (Hip Hop Instrumental) Curtis Mayfield (Curtis Mayfield), published by M&M Publishing Co. (BMI), produced by Curtis Mayfield, additional production and remix by Bial Bashir for Bilshir Music
"For The Love Of You," Curtis Mayfield (Curtis Mayfield), published by M&M Publishing Co. (BMI), produced by Curtis Mayfield
"Showdown," Curtis Mayfield (Curtis Mayfield), published by M&M Publishing Co. (BMI), produced by Curtis Mayfield
"Eazy Street," Eazy-EZ (Easy E/Dr. Dre), published by Ruthless Attack Muzick (ASCAP), produced by Dr. Dre
"Forbidden," Curtis Mayfield (Curtis Mayfield), published by M&M Publishing Co. (BMI), produced by Curtis Mayfield
"Cheeba Cheeba," Tone Loc (Wonder/Smith/Dike/Ross), published by Jobete MusicCo. Inc/Black Bull Music/Varry White Music, Inc (ASCAP), produced, arranged and mixed by Matt Dike and Michael Ross for Delicious Vinyl, Inc.
"Funky In The Joint," Mellow Man Ace (T. Gonzales/S. Reyes), published by Varry White Music, Inc. (ASCAP), produced by Tony Gonzales and S. Reyes
"There's A Riot Jumpin' Off," Uzi Bros. (Will Griffin), published by No Busters Allowed (BMI), produced by Will Griffin
"On The Real Tip," Def Jef (J. Fortson), published by Word Life Music/Varry White Music, Inc. (ASCAP), produced by M. Dike, J. Fortson, J. King and M. Ross
"Somethin' Like Dis," CPO (Lil Nation/M.C. Ren/Young D/James Brown/Fred Wesley/Charles Bobbit), published by M.C. Ren Muzik/Donna-Dijon Music adm. by Next Decade Entertainment (ASCAP/BMI), produced by Vince Edwards
"Take You Home," King Tee (King Tee), published by Coglems-ZEMI Music Inc./Brittolese Music/Dope Deal Music (ASCAP), produced by DJ Pooh, co-produced by J.R. Coes
+
PERFORMERS
+
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Titles:
The Return of Super Fly
Dark Streets: The Return of Superfly
Superfly 1990
Release Date:
9 November 1990
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 9 November 1990
Production Date:
June - September 1989
Copyright Claimant:
Littoral Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
27 November 1990
Copyright Number:
PA488869
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
96
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Joey Maxwell, Manuel, and Reynaldo invade a Harlem, New York, drug den, killing three dealers. One escapes long enough to telephone his boss, Eddie Baker, but Eddie is having sex and is too intoxicated on drugs to respond. The three killers break into Eddie’s apartment and murder him and his girl friend. Reformed drug dealer Youngblood Priest, who has been living in Paris, France, for the past decade, returns to New York City for Eddie’s funeral. Arrested by customs officers at JFK Airport, Priest is sent to a detention center. He telephones Tom Perkins, his former lawyer, who arranges a meeting with New York Police Department Inspector Wolinski. Perkins tells Wolinski that the statute of limitations has expired on Priest’s crimes, but Wolinski informs him that there is no statute of limitations on perjury. Wolinski introduces Priest to a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent who offers a bargain: Priest can return to his old gang if he works as an informant. However, Priest claims his gang no longer exists. Besides, he has changed since the old days and now has a legitimate business in Paris. Inspector Wolinski turns Priest loose for a week to think it over. Meanwhile, Tom Perkins informs local crime boss Hector Estrada that Priest is being “squeezed” by the “Feds,” and Estrada tells Joey Maxwell to get rid of the problem. Youngblood Priest goes to the penthouse apartment of his old friend, Armando, and finds a beautiful woman, Irene, taking a shower. She explains that Armando gave her a key, and that Armando’s Chevrolet Corvette is in the basement if Priest needs a car. Priest visits the home of Nate Cabot, one of his old ... +


Joey Maxwell, Manuel, and Reynaldo invade a Harlem, New York, drug den, killing three dealers. One escapes long enough to telephone his boss, Eddie Baker, but Eddie is having sex and is too intoxicated on drugs to respond. The three killers break into Eddie’s apartment and murder him and his girl friend. Reformed drug dealer Youngblood Priest, who has been living in Paris, France, for the past decade, returns to New York City for Eddie’s funeral. Arrested by customs officers at JFK Airport, Priest is sent to a detention center. He telephones Tom Perkins, his former lawyer, who arranges a meeting with New York Police Department Inspector Wolinski. Perkins tells Wolinski that the statute of limitations has expired on Priest’s crimes, but Wolinski informs him that there is no statute of limitations on perjury. Wolinski introduces Priest to a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent who offers a bargain: Priest can return to his old gang if he works as an informant. However, Priest claims his gang no longer exists. Besides, he has changed since the old days and now has a legitimate business in Paris. Inspector Wolinski turns Priest loose for a week to think it over. Meanwhile, Tom Perkins informs local crime boss Hector Estrada that Priest is being “squeezed” by the “Feds,” and Estrada tells Joey Maxwell to get rid of the problem. Youngblood Priest goes to the penthouse apartment of his old friend, Armando, and finds a beautiful woman, Irene, taking a shower. She explains that Armando gave her a key, and that Armando’s Chevrolet Corvette is in the basement if Priest needs a car. Priest visits the home of Nate Cabot, one of his old drug partners. Nate laments that most of their friends are dead or in prison, but Joey Maxwell, one of Priest’s former employees, has become the henchman for drug kingpin Hector Estrada. Nate and his wife make crack cocaine in their kitchen for Estrada’s operation. Priest tells Nate he has money to spend and wants to meet Maxwell or Estrada. Nate promises to check around. Returning to Tom Perkins’s office, Priest meets another of the lawyer’s clients, a club owner named Francine. Perkins reminds Priest that the DEA is still waiting to hear whether he is going to cooperate. As Priest gives Francine a ride to her club, she explains that she knew Eddie for a long time, but there was nothing romantic between them. She gives Priest her business card. Noticing that two white policemen, Mike and Ike, are following him, Priest drives into the garage of an apartment building, parks, and tries to elude them on foot, but the officers stop him in an alley and beat him. However, a white plainclothes cop, Louis, breaks it up and lets Priest go. Meanwhile, when Tom Perkins alerts Hector Estrada that Priest will be a problem, Estrada declares Priest to be “as good as dead.” Priest stops at Francine’s bar, recognizes nobody, and talks to the bartender. Elsewhere, Irene returns to the penthouse and finds Joey Maxwell, Manuel, and Reynaldo waiting. Irene pulls a gun and shoots Renaldo in the leg, but Manuel kills her. As the three leave, Priest arrives and finds Irene dead. Moments later, three uniformed policemen enter the penthouse and arrest him. He is taken to a police station, but the DEA intervenes and gets him released. Louis, the white plainclothes policeman who saved him from Mike and Ike, alerts Priest that the killers went to the penthouse to kill him, not Irene. Meanwhile, Hector Estrada orders Joey Maxwell to find Priest and kill him. When Priest goes to Francine’s club, she warns him that people are looking for him and slips him out the back door. Getting into a taxi, Priest tells the Jamaican driver to evade the car behind them. Meanwhile, Joey Maxwell, Mike, and Ike visit Nate and tell him that since his friend Priest is a traitor, Nate is probably is as well. When Nate cannot tell them where Priest is, Maxwell orders Ike and Mike to kill him. After Priest and Francine make love at her place, she sends him to see Willy Green, Eddie Baker’s eccentric best friend. Dressed in camouflage clothes, Willy greets Priest with a shotgun, but recognizes his name from stories Eddie told him. Priest knows who killed Eddie, but needs Willy’s help to avenge his death. Willy is a Viet Nam war veteran whose specialty was demolition with nitroglycerin. He also has an arsenal of rifles, pistols, and automatic weapons, from which Priest selects a pistol. He returns to Francine’s office to ask her about a girl Willy mentioned as being Joey Maxwell’s girl friend. Francine reveals her name to be Jasmine Jackson. After Priest leaves, one of the white uniformed policemen enters the bar asking for Francine The bartender silently signals her office, but as Francine slips out the back, the other cop is waiting. Mike and Ike handcuff Francine and drive her to a park where Joey Maxwell waits. She insists she has no idea where Priest is, so Maxwell gives her to Ike and Mike for further persuasion and leaves. Later, as Maxwell arrives at his apartment with Jasmine Jackson, Priest accosts him with a gun. When Maxwell struggles, Priest knocks him unconscious, empties his wallet, gives all the money to Jasmine, and tells her to take a vacation. He takes the bound-and-gagged gangster to Willy’s house. Willy straps a nitroglycerin bomb around Joey Maxwell’s neck, and Priest warns him that the wrong move could blow his head off. Maxwell confesses that Ike, Mike, and Hector killed Irene. Priest makes Maxwell telephone Mike and Ike and order them to drive to a remote location. The cops park, and a boy on a bicycle distracts them while Willy Green crawls under their cruiser and plants explosives. As Willy hurries away, the car blows up. Joey Maxwell reveals where he keeps his cocaine, and Priest and Willy go to a warehouse. While Willy distracts the security guard, Priest climbs a fire escape, breaks into Maxwell’s office, and mixes something into a large, plastic container of crack cocaine. Meanwhile, at a club, Hector orders Manuel and Reynaldo to get the latest batch of crack cocaine on the street. Manuel and Reynaldo hurry to the warehouse, where they bag and weigh packets of the contaminated drug, and deliver it to dealers. However, because of Priest’s added ingredient, addicts get sick and demand their money back. One angry young black man chases a dealer off a roof. At Willy Green’s house, Priest coerces Maxwell into divulging the addresses of his crack houses. Meanwhile, Hector makes telephone inquiries from his office to find out who adulterated his drugs. Priest sends Willy to blow up several of the gang’s storefronts. The next morning, Tom Perkins advises Hector Estrada to “lay low” until the violence subsides, because the DEA is investigating. Manuel speculates that the explosions at the gang’s storefronts must be the work of Willy Green, the only bomb expert in Eddie Baker’s gang. Manuel and Reynaldo break into Willy’s house, shoot him, and free Joey Maxwell, who revives his spirits by inhaling drugs, not realizing they are contaminated. Suddenly, with his last breath, Willy shoots Reynaldo. Returning to the house, Priest hears gunshots. He blows open the door with nitroglycerine and kills Manuel in the subsequent shootout. Both Priest and Joey Maxwell are wounded as they run, shooting from the house, but Maxwell stops to vomit. As angry neighborhood people surround Maxwell, police arrive to arrest him. Tom Perkins and Hector Estrada are offered deals in return for their cooperation to inform on the entire “Colombian set-up.” Youngblood Priest returns to Paris with Francine. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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