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Superfly

R16: Violence, offensive language, drug use and sexual material

Spoiler alert

This page outlines how the classification criteria were applied. We do our best to discuss the content while avoiding spoilers, but please avoid reading this information if you do not want to learn anything about the content of this movie.

About the film

Superfly is a remake of a 1972 blaxpoitation film of the same name.

It follows cocaine kingpin Youngblood Priest, who decides to get out of the game after surviving an attack from rival gang, Snow Patrol. Hoping for one last score to tide him over, Priest and his partner, Eddie, travel to Mexico to arrange a deal with a supplier. Priest soon finds himself caught in a war against Snow Patrol while trying to outwit two corrupt police officers.

Poster for the film Superfly

Date registered: 04/07/2018

Classification criteria: Sex

The film contains a moderate extent of sexual material, including sexual activity. Women’s bodies are often sexualised, with women appearing in little clothing or with their breasts exposed. There are several nightclub scenes where women pole-dance in underwear while men throw money at them. In one scene, a woman performs fellatio on a man while he is driving. The strongest depiction of sex is when Priest has sex with two women in the shower. He lies on the floor the two women sit on his face and penis. This is shown briefly from the side.

A character from Superfly stands in a dark room with pink and violet light

Classification criteria: Crime

The film deals extensively with drug trafficking and use, as well as other crimes. Priest distributes cocaine in order to maintain a lavish lifestyle. He is shown importing cocaine from Mexico, while his thugs deal the product in large bags. Numerous characters, including law enforcement officers, are shown snorting cocaine. There are also depictions and references to kidnapping, blackmail, police corruption and murder. However, this conduct is contextualised as criminal.

A character smokes a cigar while another talks to him

Classification criteria: Violence and cruelty

The film contains a moderate extent and degree of cruelty and violence, often resulting in serious physical harm. Slow motion segments accompany highly-choreographed montages of rapid-fire punches, kicks and beatings. Shootings are regular and bloody. The strongest example is when Snow Patrol members are massacred by the police in a furniture store, and their dead bodies are left on the floor amidst puddles of blood. In another scene, Priest is kidnapped by a Mexican cartel and wakes on a plane with a sack over his head. The gang leader puts a gun to Priest’s head and threatens to throw him out of the airborne plane.

A character from Superfly points a gun at the camera

Classification criteria: Offensive language

The words “Fuck”, “bitch”, “nigga” and “motherfucker” feature regularly in both dialogue and soundtrack. The prevalent use of this highly offensive language has the potential to be misconstrued by younger viewers as appropriate everyday language.

A character from Superfly stands in front of a brick building

Decision summary

Superfly is a striking action thriller film about the underground drug trade. The level of sexual material (including nudity) in the film indicates that the film is aimed at an older audience, who are expected to have some knowledge of sexual behaviours and relationships; this material is likely to be confronting to children and younger teens.

While the film is not inherently promotional of illegal drug trade and use, their depictions in the film normalise them as social activities without regard for legal or physical consequences. The violence is further likely to shock and disturb younger viewers, and could be normalised by impressionable children and younger teens as a legitimate way of retaliating against others. The normalising use of highly offensive language also supports a restriction. Older teenagers and adults are more able to contextualise this material within the crime-thriller genre without being negatively affected. As such the film is classified R16.

Contact the Information Unit if you require further information on a classification decision.

R16 label
R16: Violence, offensive language, drug use and sexual material