Graffiti Bridge

Graffiti BridgeSynopsis: Music is the power. Love is the message. Truth is the answer.

It’s got that Purple Rain feeling through and through. And it’s got The Kid, too! For the first time since Purple Rain, Prince is back as The Kid. And where he goes, there’s music! With Thieves in the Temple, New Power Generation, Elephants and Flowers and more red-hot Prince tunes from the Platinum-selling Graffiti Bridge soundtrack. What time is it? Party time! Morris Day and the Time play Release It, Shake! and more. And you’ll also see and hear George Clinton, Tevin Campbell, Robin Power, Mavis Staples and other hot performers, too. Graffiti Bridge is where the movie meets the music. Cross over on it now!

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Graffiti Bridge 3.75

eyelights: New Power Generation. the set design.
eyesores: the lame script, cheesy dialogues and farcical performances. the uninspired and uninspiring music.

“Seven corners, two souls fight. One wants money, one wants light. Without peace, without love, nothing’s ever gonna turn out right.”

‘Graffiti Bridge’ is the 1990 sequel to ‘Purple Rain‘, the box office and chart sensation that made Prince and The Revolution a household name. Written, directed and starring Prince, it finds The Kid as the co-owner of the Glam Slam club, willed into sharing its ownership with Morris Day, his rival from the previous film.

Six years later, Morris is now a big shot who runs the Seven Corners club scene with his gang. But he’s won’t be satisfied until he becomes full owner of Glam Slam, after which he will have a monopoly on the district. The Kid is backed into a corner, unable to build up fan support, but a mysterious girl appears to help him…

Naturally The Kid and Morris end up vying for her and they duel for the bar. And, somehow, they become friends.

Sheesh.

‘Graffiti Bridge’ is a stinker. The script has the barest of plots, it’s filled with cheesy dialogues, crap humour and pseudo-new agey babble that is largely incomprehensible when it’s not painfully trite. The picture picks up no momentum and plays like a mind-numbingly dull amateur play with a decent production budget.

Without a doubt, the best part of ‘Graffiti Bridge’ is the set design. Granted, they don’t look convincing whatsoever, and at no point do we believe we’re anywhere else but on a soundstage, but at least everything looks sort of cool – if you don’t mind a lot of neon and graffiti. Granted, it’s not much to build a picture on.

The cast is nearly impossible to watch, filled as it is with non-actors:

  • Prince sulks consistently as The Kid, and his ridiculous metaphysical observations make me roll my eyes each time. Even his musical performances lack vitality, as though he was going through the motions, as though he were just the hired help in his own movie. There’s really no spark there, so he tries to make up for it by showing gyrating, half-naked dancers.
  • Morris Day is a cartoon. Yes, he was one in ‘Purple Rain’ too, but at least he had flair then. Here, directed by Prince, he’s just a ‘Saved By the Bell’ type of antagonist. His best moments are when he’s performing with his band – even though that pales in comparison to his blistering performances in ‘Purple Rain’.
  • Ingrid Chavez plays Aura, their love interest, a homeless stranger who appears to be an angel (or a schizophrenic). She’s waxy and keeps reciting really cheesy poetry that made me want to puke. Look, Chavez is sweet, but she’s no Apollonia – who couldn’t act but was smoking hot. It’s hard to care about this character.

Even the music lacks zest: ‘Graffiti Bridge’ isn’t exactly Prince’s most inspired music. In fact, most of the songs are outtakes from previous albums, with the notable exceptions of “Thieves in the Temple” and “New Power Generation” (The maxi-single for which helped convince me about Prince. I still love it to this day).

I didn’t get ‘Purple Rain’ when it first came out. And I was still baffled by Prince when his video for “Batdance” came out in 1989. But I picked up its companion album and loved it. I was late to the party but, by 1990, I had gotten the message: Prince was the king. So I rushed to get ‘Graffiti Bridge’ when it came out.

Boy was it a slog: at over an hour in length, it gave fans their money’s worth in quantity, but really held back on quality. I listened to it a lot, being one of my first CDs, but my interest never really grew. Even the other artists’ (The Time, George Clinton, Mavis Staple, Tevin Campbel) songs weren’t especially noteworthy.

But I did end up getting The Time’s companion album, ‘Pandemonium’ (after which Morris’ club is named in the movie) which was released a month before the soundtrack was. It wasn’t brilliant, but it was generally better than Prince’s soundtrack CD. So I ended up buying all of The Time’s previous albums and became a fan.

There’s really not much else that I get out of watching ‘Graffiti Bridge’, other than a general feeling of lethargy. I am surprised each time to see Prince can carrying Chavez over his shoulder, given his royal diminutiveness, but that’s quite trivial. From the opening number, “New Power Generation”, the picture goes downhill fast.

Unsurprisingly, it failed at the box office and gathered some harsh reviews (albeit not nearly as much a Prince’s previous effort, ‘Under the Cherry Moon‘, gathering only 5 Razzie nominations!). It would be the last of his outings on the big screen. Mercifully. It saved us the same aggravation we felt when Madonna persisted.

Date of viewing: June 29, 2015

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