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  Graffiti Bridge Down The Purple DrainBuy this film here.
Year: 1990
Director: Prince
Stars: Prince, Ingrid Chavez, Morris Day, Jerome Benton, Michael Bland, Phillip C, Rosie Gaines, Levi Seacer Jr, Damon Dickson, Kirk Johnson, Tom Mosely, Miko Weaver, Garry Johnson, Jesse Johnson, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Monte Moir, George Clinton, Mavis Staples
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Music
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Ever since Billy died, he handed over his club to joint ownership between The Kid (Prince) and Morris Day (Morris Day), but they have never been able to see eye to eye on what should be done with the property. Morris should worry: he now owns a series of nightclubs across the city, and is looking to branch out to yet more, so securing The Kid's half would be exactly what he wanted, but his rival is holding out, performing his songs there every night to a cult audience. That's not good enough for Morris, and he means to show him up with his band, The Time...

Did you know there was a sequel to Purple Rain? Well, there was and Graffiti Bridge was it, arriving at the same time as a bunch of other African-American filmmakers were making an impact with their works, hits like Do The Right Thing, New Jack City and Boyz N The Hood. But there was a reason Prince's sequel was not uttered in the same breath as those popular efforts, and that's mainly because it was a big flop, even though he had apparently learned his lessons from Under the Cherry Moon and added far more footage of himself and others performing his music. Some accused this of being a selection of music videos strung together.

As if that were a bad thing, considering it was Prince we were dealing with, but truth was this was not the Purple One firing on all cylinders, as if he'd spread himself too thinly by taking care of so many chores on the film - he wrote the script and directed it too. It wasn't all bad, as with his previous vehicle there were some bright spots, decent songs and even a dose of amusing comedy, yet the overall impression was one of a talent that needed more control, and less dragging in the guest stars to make this resemble some television variety special where a bunch of celebs would share the stage with Prince.

Therefore George Clinton appeared for about two minutes, not speaking a word but getting to sing one of his host's songs, Mavis Staples was parachuted in to big up Prince's New Power Generation (his then musical obsession) and teenage Tevin Campbell makes this look like a talent show for young hopefuls. Day got to perform a few times too when not gracing us with his comedy stylings, although with the oh so original battle of the bands concept that was conjured up for a resolution you could argue that the songwriter-star could simply have given him tunes from the bottom of his reject pile to ensure that The Kid won the contest.

Whether he did or not was debatable, because the material was not up to Purple Rain standard for the most part, and it was the music that truly carried that previous hit. It certainly wasn't Prince's preening thespian approach, and he was obviously a bit strapped for a worthy romantic pairing, having worked out he couldn't get away with doing love scenes with himself, so the hapless Ingrid Chavez was offered the role after a whole load of more famous actresses turned it down. It was Chavez's only big screen appearance, and with the drippy poet character she was lumbered with, complete with needlesly tragic finale, it was no shock that audiences didn't take to her. Still, something to tell the grandkids. In fact, that very sombre ending took the fun out of the better sequences that preceded it, as some of this you could appreciate if you were feeling indulgent of vanity projects, but it was a mess, really.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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