The rebooted, reimagined and reconstituted Superfly deserves to be judged on its own merits.

The problem: Given its genesis, thatís almost impossible.

Retooled (didnít think I had another left, did you?) from the 1972 blaxploitation classic, it certainly has its virtues, but it lacks the relevancy the original held in those still-turbulent days in the alleged post-Civil Rights decade, when African-Americans were supposed to reap the benefits of centuries of struggle.

Ummm Ö yeah.

The original starred Ron OíNeal in the role of Priest, a low-level cocaine dealer looking to make one big score to escape the game. The film never looked all that great, but it had something to say.

It delivered subtle messages about the state of black America at that moment in time, including poverty, drug abuse (naturally) and colorism (Google it). In short, director Gordon Parks Jr. created a picture of that moment in the í70s that was relevant then and, to a certain degree, remains so.

Superfly circa 2018 plays exactly like what it is ó a gangster film with a sometimes compelling story and myriad flaws.

The basics remain the same. Priest, now portrayed by Trevor Jackson, and his best friend Eddie (Jason Mitchell) have operated in the drug game for most of their lives, under the radar and never coming close to being caught.

However, Priestís brush with death over some petty, personal stuff ó Juju (Kaalan Rashad Walker), a member of a local drug gang called the Snow Patrol (you just know they all dress in white), nearly shoots him ó convinces him itís time to vacate their particular version of the American Dream.

He hooks up with his mentor Scatterís (Michael K. Williams) Mexican supplier (Esai Morales) and convinces him to turn the spigot on more, not revealing that he plans to get out.

To say things do not go as planned is an understatement.

Itís in those moments when Priest and Eddie operate that Director X (yes, thatís what he goes by) gets to have some fun with Alex Tseís script, which preserves some interesting moments from the original while making some pointed observations about police brutality and the state of government today.

He ramps up the action, firmly planting this version in its modern footing and allowing it to bear fruit, most notably in the presence of Jackson, who could be seen primarily on the small screen prior to this and who may very well have found himself a career on the big one.

A final difference? Any fan of the original film will cite the music as one of the two best things about it. The genius of twice-inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Curtis Mayfield was displayed fully in that soundtrack. Superfly, Freddieís Dead, Pusherman are all classics no matter what genre.

The soundtrack for the remake, presented by Future with assists from Lil Wayne and others, cannot match it. Wisely, Director X keeps some of Mayfieldís music, which in itself helps the tone and, yes, relevance.

Certainly not perfect, there is enough to appreciate about Superfly to give it a look.

George M. Thomas can be reached at gmthomas@thebeaconjournal.com.