Robert Townsend was well on his way to stardom after betting on himself big time with his satire Hollywood Shuffle, attacking racial stereotypes in Hollywood. The film controversial issues brought Townsend to the forefront as his music odyssey the Five Heartbeats became a classic in its own rights and still a great film to watch today. Townsend tackled the music industry and Hollywood, it was only in due time he would try the Superhero genre. In comes 1993 Meteor Man. Townsend bet big on this film this was one of his biggest budget films at 30 million to make, he went to Marvel comics to help spawn a 6-issue series for his film; more importantly, he wrote, produced, and directed this film. With a very star-studded cast (Hello Darth Vader/Mufasa and War Machine), Meteor Man had a lot riding on it. Unfortunately, the critics hated it due to its constant tone switches (oddly enough some films with similar flaws cough ** Guardians of the Galaxy 2 ** cough receive praise by today’s critics). As a result, Meteor Man flopped in the box office.
Being born in 1993, I never had the privilege of watching this in the theater; I was able to watch years later as a kid and loved it. Revisiting this film, I still enjoy this film, and I love it more now. To give a brief summary, Robert Townsend plays Jefferson Reed, a schoolteacher in Washington DC, which is flooded with gang violence most notably by the Golden Lords whose leader played by Roy Fegan as Simon Caine recruits children to become members. The Golden Lords all dye their heads blonde, are militant and shoot to kill. Did I mention they have a damn pet tiger; yes, the Golden Lords are the shit. Reed tries to rescues a woman from being assaulted by the Lords. During his flee to escape them; a meteor goes right into him in one of the most disgusting scenes I have seen in a film. Stan Winston could not make something that gross happen. Despite the serve injuries, Townsend’s character wakes up completely fine the next day. When discovering his powers such as flight, x-ray/laser vision, superhuman strength, speed, and hearing, invulnerability, healing powers, the ability to absorb a book’s content by touch, super breath, telepathy with dog, he begins to help to take back the city from the Golden Lords as Meteor Man.
The very first thing I have to say about this (other James Earl Jones rocking a high-top fade asking women if they’re down with OPP yes, this fucking happened) is the heart in the film. Townsend and his supporting cast really love the city they are in and refuse to keep seeing get destroyed, but they have no hope in restoring their community which getting run down by the Golden Lords. Robert himself does a great job as Reed as someone who is ready to change DC for the better but also make human mistakes and some that cost him in the future of this film. This film also incorporated musicians in a very fascinating way. Luther Vandross and Big Daddy Kane as villains check, Cypress Hill (who are Bloods) playing Crips interesting, Naughty by Nature as bloods. Interesting choices and something I also have issue with the film. There’s too many characters in this film to keep up. James Earl Jones and Sinbad’s characters were completely pointless in this film, and I haven’t got to Bill Cosby’s character yet. The film tried too hard to putting too many plot points that went nowhere and it hurt the film from a critical standpoint. However, that does not mean that this is a bad film, it is not by any means. The film is actually solid with crop of actors who had a blast playing their roles. Even with the issues from a critical standpoint, this a great casual viewing. It’s honestly a shame this film did so horrible in the box office. This film deserved better and it’s a film worth watching.
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