The Meteor Man
is a 1993 Superhero Movie
, starring Robert Townsend alongside an Ensemble Cast
ranging from well known black actors and comedies such as Marla Gibbs
, James Earl Jones
, Robert Guiliaume
and even Bill Cosby
himself, to up-and-coming black actors such as Don Cheadle and Eddie Griffin. Townsend also wrote and directed it just as he did with his previous film, The Five Heartbeats. Although neither film fared very well
, they both are considered cult classics to African-American viewers like most of his work.Jefferson Reed
is a mild-mannered schoolteacher in a neighborhood terrorized by gang activity. Jeff tries to help a woman who is being mugged by two kids apparently trying to get into the Golden Lords, the most powerful of the local criminals and which has member groups even amongst toddlers (Termed "Baby Lords"). The woman flees but the entire gang shows up and proceeds to chase Jeff. He hides in a dumpster for hours. After leaving the dumpster, he spots a falling meteor and tries to run away. But his life is changed dramatically
when he awakes in the hospital realizes the effects of the meteor gave him a number of different superpowers.
He decides to don a superhero identity, Meteor Man, and to use his powers to fight crime.
This film provides examples of:
- Acrophobic Bird: Meteor Man never flies more than a few feet from the ground due to his fear of heights.
- A God Am I: The Big Bad after he gains powers from the meteor and bests Meteor Man in battle.
- All Black Star Cast: While this normal for Robert Townsend, this the first time he used names this big. See Hey, It's That Guy! since its too many to name here.
- For what it's worth, there was one white person in a major role: Frank "The Riddler" Gorshin appears as the drug kingpin Mr. Byers.
- And what seems to be the only white teacher that Jeff works with is tormented by a kid.
- Its justified with the ghetto in DC being the setting. I think the mayor is cast as white if he's in the movie, since I doubt Marion Barry was the mayor at the time.
- As Himself: The one and only Biz Markie.
- Naughty By Nature, Cypress Hill and Another Bad Creation are credited as themselves. However each member is also individually credited as a member of gang their in during the movie. Naughty By Nature's members are credited as Bloods, Cypress Hill are Crips, and ABC are Lords. This may be relative to the actual gangs they all belong to, but it is unclear.
- Awesome McCoolname: Uzi of the Golden Lords, possibly the only Lord with a cool name.
- Badass Adorable: Although the older guys are pretty scary and one of them even has a pet tiger, the Baby Lords are ready for war and were the last gang members to retreat at the end of the movie.
- Also, they dress more like high-ranking mobsters than low-level street punks.
- Big Damn Heroes: The entire ghetto comes out to help Meteor Man fight the Big Bad.
- The Crips and the Bloods (who Meteor Man befriended earlier) show up on the rooftops, armed with rifles, when Byers threatens Jeff at the end. Byers is forced to back down when he realizes that however powerful his organization is, at that moment he does not have as much power as the dozens of guys with rifles lining the rooftops.
- Child Soldiers: It seems as if the bulk of the Golden Lords are kids. The even name them according to age (i.e. Junior Lords and Baby Lords. They don't kill anyone, however due to the PG rating nobody dies, so the adult Lords don't kill anyone either. They all seem very eager to kill though. Especially the Baby Lords.
- Combo Platter Powers: The meteor gives anyone that touches it a VERY diverse set of powers, including:
- De-power: It turns out that the meteor powers are only temporary... or at least will fluctuate periodically over his career.
- Could Have Avoided This Plot: Oh, SO MUCH! Considering that he has, you know, friggin' SUPERPOWERS if he just runs at the golden lords in the first act of the movie the way that he does the baby lords at the end... I mean it's over! What the hell made Simon think he could take on a superhuman in the first place. Lazy writing perhaps.
- Eleventh Hour Superpower: Played with. Meteor Man conquered his fear of heights, but only after the Big Bad threw him over a building.
- Everyone Join The Party: At the end, when the last of the gangsters asks Jefferson to leave town, the entire community stands on all nearby rooftops with their weapons ready to fire. This drives the rest of the criminals away.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: A couple of kids are members of the Golden Lords, but they clearly weren't prepared for what gang life actually entails. They pull a Heel-Face Turn in the end.
- Fail O'Suckyname: Some of the Golden Lords qualify. But Don Cheadle's if by far the worst, Goldilocks, he proves to be one of the tougher Lords, however.
- Fashion Show: Parodied.
- Funny Bruce Lee Noises: Used by Meteor Man and Simon Caine after they instantly absorb all the contents of one of Bruce Lee's fighting manuals.
- Gang of Hats: All of the members of the Golden Lords dye their hair gold. Unlike most versions of the trope, this is most realistic type.
- Heel-Face Turn: Squirrel twice, though the first one was more or less helping the enemy.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Lots of big names and (at the time of the release) unknowns.
- Hospital Hottie: Played straight and subverted, first with the hot young Lela Rochon and the Angela Robinson-Witherspoon, then with La Wanda Page, the old nurse that even says to Jeff "What can she do that I can't?"
- How Do I Shot Web?
- Imported Alien Phlebotinum
- I Surrender, Suckers: The leader of the Golden Lords pulls this on Reed, pretending to be impressed by his courage only to sucker punch him when he comes in for a handshake.
- Kick the Dog: Or rather, throw a dumpster on the dog!
- Magic Meteor
- Monochrome Casting: Pretty much everybody in this movie is black.
- Justified in that its set in a Washington D.C. ghetto.
- No Sell: Meteor Man vs Tiny Lister.
- Novelization: By Cliff Thompson. Features a large amount of material that was cut from the finished film that would have made the film more well-rounded, including a scene where Jeff overcomes his fear of heights.
- Power Perversion Potential: Reed learns he has the power to see through clothing while recovering at the hospital. His first impulse is to test this on his hot nurse. Unfortunately for him, said hot nurse isn't on duty.
- Say My Name: METEOR MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!
- Shout-Out: The leader of the Golden Lords says, while discussing the cities under their control to the other high-ranking members, he says that their next move will be to take over New York. Then he says " if I can make it there, I can make it anywhere." Which is a line from the theme song of "New York, New York"
- Something Person
- Suddenly Fluent in Gibberish: When Jefferson casually asks Max what he wants to eat, he was surprised by the reply.
- Stunt Casting: Where do we begin James Earl Jones as a neighbor, Bill Cosby (no lines), Marla Gibbs and Sinbad. Gibbs has the biggest role, she plays the protagnist's mother. Also from the music industry, Luther Vandross (also no lines), Big Daddy Kane, Another Bad Creation, Cypress Hill, Naughty By Nature and Jazz singer Nancy Wilson.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight
- The Voiceless: Bill Cosby's character never talks.
- Au contraire! He speaks Dog.
- Luther Vandross says nothing throughout the movie, this probably makes him that much more devilish.
- Too Dumb to Live: Yeah Michael impersonate Meteor Man then make an announcement on the radio that you'll show up at a public area. With the Golden Lords listening in. Just because you wanted to meet a news reporter that you like so much. Lucky Jeff was there to save your ass.