This modern remake of the 1972 blaxploitation classic—about a successful cocaine dealer of color who wants to get out of the business—is a straight crime drama with no kitsch and no winking cameos by original cast members (though Curtis Mayfield's “Pusherman” does make an appearance on the soundtrack). Now set in Atlanta, the story has stylin’, well-coiffed, conscientious Priest (Trevor Jackson) living the American Dream as a job creator for hundreds of drug dealers, staying under the radar by being cautious and avoiding beefs with Snow Patrol, the flashy, bling-and-hip-hop operation that shares his territory. Priest’s associates screw things up with Snow Patrol, drawing the attention of police and threatening to ruin his carefully constructed business. Canadian music-video director Director X (né Julien Lutz) acknowledges the appeal of the sex-drugs-and hip-hop lifestyle without glorifying it (OK, maybe the sex part), and Trevor Jackson’s solid performance as the introspective Priest blurs the line between “good guys” and “bad guys.” There’s fat to be trimmed from Alex Tse’s sometimes too-serious screenplay, but it improves on the original’s campy, amateurish roots.
Director: Director X
Producer: Joel Silver, Future, Hal Sadoff, Aaron Auch, Ethan Erwin, Matthew Hirsch, Steven Shore, Taj Critchlow and Anthony Saleh
Cast: Trevor Jackson, Jason Mitchell, Michael Williams, Lex Davis, Jennifer Morrison, Kaalan "KR" Walker, Esai Morales, Andrea Londo, Big Black, Antwan "Big Boi" Patton, Jacob Ming-Trent, Brian Durkin, Dominique Madison, Angel Love, Terayle Hill and Dawntavia Bullard