NERD BLOG'N! Luke Cage: Bulletproof Love
Netflix's LUKE CAGE feels like a love letter to 90's hip hop.
Using a super powered, modernized "Shaft"-isk, blaxploitation theme - the story is wrapped in a soundtrack of when New York's rap music had its most to say.
Some may hold an apprehension and negative connotation towards the word blaxploitation - however for many, (myself included) those films were the first experiences of positive portrayals of black men in films.
Creator, Writer & show runner Cheo Hodari Coker, a former editor at Vibe magazine - most notably in the 90s - During the time of Biggie, Tupac, Tribe etc writes Cage with that feel. The same essence of what Mario Van Peeples expressed in the 70s. Coker clearly loved the 90s and this show feels like a physical expression of that love.
A modernized Luke Cage could've very easily have been represented by today's twerking, auto tuned, me, me, me world of the current state of hip hop. Fortunately, they hired Coker and he molded a new genre of what I like to call "The Black 90s". Even the dialogue is written as if the characters Luke, who seems like he is in his mid to late 30s & Misty also in that age range are adults of that time. Using terms like "keep my name out your mouth" or "in the cut". Terms that aren't heard as frequently anymore.
Numerous references: from the crowned painting of the late great Biggie Smalls that hangs in Cottonmouth's office - to each episode being titled after rap icon group Gang Starr tracks.
Care was put into this show - not for the new now / but for the great then, and it works.
Since now we have the "I'll watch when I have time" audiences - some of you may not have seen the entire season run yet (I myself only finished them all last Monday) so I'll avoid spoilers and just talk about what I enjoyed.
Mike Colter - Luke Cage
First hitting my radar from his role as ONI Agent Locke in the 2014 Halo: Nightfall that was released along side Halo 5 Guardians - Colter had a great look & presences to him that could fill the role of Luke - but back then Terry Crews (Brooklyn 99) was my pick for the yellow blouse wearing brotha with the tiara.
Mike quickly won me over with the few episodes he appeared in on Jessica Jones last year also as Luke. The character had always been portrayed as a street wise, jive talking, tough guy. Colter refined him without taking away the edge. It didn't come off as a caricature. In his own series it seamlessly continued. He's a big guy that doesn't need to solve every problem with his fist even thou he can.
Simone Missick - Misty Knight
Captures you soon as she arrives at the club Luke is working at. She beautiful but intimidating - smart, sexy, funny and sexy (did I say sexy?)
She owns the role of tough cop. When I first saw she had been cast I was disappointed because my Misty Knight was a chocolate sista for as long as I had been reading her. One look at Mrs. Missick's big eyes and amazing smile puts that right out of your mind. As I said, I'm not writing spoilers but I will say she & Luke like each other from the beginning. It's easy to understand why. I would easily watch a spin off starring her as this character. Not necessarily clairvoyant - Knight has a way of seeing the big picture. Ironically enough missing a lot of what's right in front of her. But that human quality actually adds a depth to her that many shows would over look. Especially in a female character.
Mahershalia Ali - Cottonmouth
I feel as though Mahershalia has been part of my TV watching scenery for a while now. Last seen on House of Cards with Kevin Spacey - also an original Netflix show - I think I noticed him first on the 4400 as a man out of time - literally. Ali was able to spread his wings a little more with his role on Cards but as cottonmouth he truly shines. I constantly felt like I was watching an extension of New Jack City. Not taking anything away from his performance - and I'm not comparing him to Snipes. His command of the elegant gangster actually made me think he might've done a better job. I really liked him on the screen. He is a great foil for Luke & Misty.
Come back next Sunday for part two of my review.