In the time where superhero movies reign supreme, I look to one that I grew up with, one that preceded most. I’m of course talking about:
The Meteor Man is a 1993 Superhero drama with an all-star black cast. The film follows Jefferson Reed, a meek substitute teacher from Washington D.C. who just wants to do good for his students.
Meanwhile a gang called The Golden Lords, whose numbers grow rapidly (including those very same students), cause strife for the community and its people.
Then after Jeff attempts to stop some Baby Lords (the youngest of the group) from attacking a woman in an alleyway, Jeff is chased by what seems to be the entire Golden Lords gang who were watching on in the shadows.
Jeff hides in an alley dumpster, which one of the very same Baby Lords opens and reveals his location. But he chooses to have pity on his teacher and says he found nothing.
After several hours of hiding out in the dumpster and when he’s sure the coast is clear, Jeff hops out. But as fate would have it, a meteor swoops into the alley and infuses with Jeff directly in his chest.
He’s imbued with immense powers, which I happened to write down for my avid readers (in order of appearance on film):
- The ability to touch a book and absorb it’s knowledge… for thirty seconds
- X-ray vision
- Can understand and communicate with animals
- Super Strength
- Bullet Proof
- Heavy Density
- Laser Eyes
- Super breath
- …Grow plants, soil irradiation?
- Weather manipulation?!
- Super Speed
- Sapping other people’s powers
HOLY Overkill, Batman! Superman ain’t got shit on The Meteor Man!
Jeff is now The Meteor Man. He does so much in so little time, that he drains himself, to the point where he loses his powers all together.
Luckily, a homeless man has one fragment of the meteor left and soon both Jeff and the evil Simon, leader of The Golden Lords, attain its powers.
The battle ends with Meteor Man sapping all of Simon’s powers and sending him and the other Golden Lords packing to prison, where the real packing begins.
The film was followed by a simultaneous run of a six-issue comic book series. I had always wanted them to do a sequel, but with the box office take as low as it was ($8,016,708 total), I can’t imagine that option was ever on the table.
Where/ when did I first see it?
I had rented it on home video (with my Dad’s money) around 1995-96. We used to rent a few movies a weekend (when our TV shows weren’t on [we watched a LOT of media]) and this was one of those weekends.
We had a great time with this film as kids.
How does it hold up?
The B-movie humor was more suitable for our young minds, but then the really serious scenes, especially near the end at the community center (and how low-lit they were shot) made me feel like I was watching a real community discuss gang activity. Robert Townsend and his crew really evoked the right emotions out of me as a kid when needed.
The special effects… This will always be a recurring issue with the movies I grew up with (save for a few gems coming soon). The practical effects of the meteor in Jeff’s chest was haunting, but most of the visual effects were definitely low-budget. The practical gigantic vegetables were a nice touch.
The story again is meant to be playful and campy at times, so the cheese factor can be noticeable as an adult. I still have a hard time picking out all of the nostalgia from these reviews.
What did I like about it and Why?
I grew up loving superheroes. I had an action figure of every main Marvel villain and hero and most of the DC’s biggest. I had bought comic book after comic book (again with my poor Dad’s money) and had a massive collection.
I also loved the wide spread of his powers. It was a better Superman as that Blue and Red fuck got so stale during the 90s that they had to kill him, bring in five potential replacements, and then revive the original (not including the Electric Blue version in the late 90s).
At this time I was also noticing all of the cameos and bit parts movies like this allowed. My IMDb brain began to collect its notes in the early to mid 90s. From James Earl Jones, Bill Cosby, Marla Gibbs, Cypress Hill, Tiny Lister, Robert Guillaume, Don Cheadle… the list goes on and on.
- Black Superheroes are amazing and it only took Marvel and DC a few decades to learn that.
- Don’t touch meteors, let alone let them fuse into your chest.
- Superman’s a chump.
Where Can You See it?