Review: ‘The Meteor Man’

There's a universe that divides actor-director-writer Robert Townsend's debut, Holloywood Shuffle, and The Meteor Man. The seemingly hip, irreverent and street-savvy talent has evolved into a kinder, gentler, rather too polite storyteller who is oddly out of step with the times. This allegorical fantasy is a cute skit expanded out of all proportion for the big screen.

There’s a universe that divides actor-director-writer Robert Townsend’s debut, Holloywood Shuffle, and The Meteor Man. The seemingly hip, irreverent and street-savvy talent has evolved into a kinder, gentler, rather too polite storyteller who is oddly out of step with the times. This allegorical fantasy is a cute skit expanded out of all proportion for the big screen.

Set in Washington, DC, yarn centers on schoolteacher and aspiring musician Jefferson Reed (Townsend). An advocate of nonviolence and flight in the face of danger, one evening Jeff runs afoul of the peroxided Golden Lords and just barely escapes their clutches. Emerging from his hiding place, he walks into the path of a falling meteor fragment, and when he awakes realizes that he’s gained super powers. He’s enlisted into service to clean up the streets in a uniform lovingly sewn by his mother.

The idea of a street-smark though awkward superhuman crime fighter ought to have been a rich mine from which to excavate laughs. But Townsend seems strangely out of place in this milieu. His characters are stereotypes culled from two decades of television viewing.

The Meteor Man

Production

Tinsel Townsend. Director Robert Townsend; Producer Loretha C. Jones; Screenplay Robert Townsend; Camera John A. Alonzo; Editor Adam Bernardi, Richard Candib, Andrew London, Pam Wise; Music Cliff Eidelman; Art Director Toby Corbett

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1993. Running time: 99 MIN.

With

Robert Townsend Marla Gibbs Eddie Griffin Robert Guillaume James Earl Jones Roy Fegan
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