The Meteor Man

THE METEOR MAN, a satirical fantasy about a man who uses newfound super-powers to clean up his ghetto neighborhood, wants to be cartoonish and meaningful at the same time. But director-star Robert Townsend misses the mark, and the combination of whimsy and piety is deadly. Jefferson Reed is a well-meaning teacher living in a crime-ridden city. One night,...read more

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THE METEOR MAN, a satirical fantasy about a man who uses newfound super-powers to clean up his ghetto neighborhood, wants to be cartoonish and meaningful at the same time. But director-star Robert Townsend misses the mark, and the combination of whimsy and piety is deadly.

Jefferson Reed is a well-meaning teacher living in a crime-ridden city. One night, Reed is struck by a meteor and hospitalized with severe burns; a bit of the meteor is found and taken home by a local bum (Bill Cosby). Reed, meanwhile, heals quickly and discovers he now has remarkable powers:

X-ray vision, the ability to absorb the information in books by touching them, the ability to speak to animals, and superhuman strength. Reed resolves to use his talents to wage war against the Golden Lords, peroxide-dyed local thugs who terrorize the neighborhood.

The comic-book story line of THE METEOR MAN is so uninspired and cliched that one expects the film to be a lampoon, but--with the exception of an X-ray vision joke, some super-hero costume gags, and one very funny moment when Reed begins voguing uncontrollably--the film remains steadfastly

straight-faced. The message about black self-empowerment is overfamiliar, and the visuals pale by comparison with the high-tech gloss of a BATMAN or SUPERMAN. Townsend (HOLLYWOOD SHUFFLE) has a proven flair for parody, but apparently isn't equal to satire.

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