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Prince, Ingrid Chavez, Morris Day, Jerome Benton
Writing Credits:

Music is the power. Love is the message. Truth is the answer.

Unofficial sequel to Purple Rain about a pair of nightclub owners who split over the musical direction of their club. One believes they should program only the most commercially viable music, while the other pursues his artistic vision with no concern for monetary gain. Their antagonism becomes even more intense when they both fall for the same woman.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$2.447 million on 688 screens.
Domestic Gross
$4.562 million.

Rated PG-13

Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
English Dolby 2.0

Runtime: 91 min.
Price: $19.96
Release Date: 8/24/2004

• Four Music Videos
• Trailer


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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Prince: Garffiti Bridge (1990)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 28, 2005)

While Prince’s career was still going pretty well circa 1990, he’d definitely dropped since his mid-Eighties glory days. As such, I guess he figured the time was right to re-explore the property that took him to megastar status in 1984: Purple Rain. With 1990’s Graffiti Bridge, Prince developed a sequel to the earlier sleeper hit, but here - as with 1986’s dud Under the Cherry Moon and 1987’s wonderful concert flick Sign O the Times - he took the directing reins himself.

Clearly the Purple One needs to stick with the performance side of things. Times stands as arguably the greatest concert film ever made, while Moon outright stinks. As for Bridge, it stars Prince again as the Kid, who now runs his own club called Glam Slam. Morris (Morris Day) wants to rule the roost, so he tries to run the Kid out of business.

As part of that plan, he gets flunkies to attempt to blow up Glam Slam. They fail, and Morris confronts the Kid. He doesn’t like the “spiritual” music the Kid makes and thinks that because he owns half of the club, he should have a say. The pair bicker and after a funky showdown, Morris demands the Kid pay him the money he owes him. This becomes difficult since his club’s not doing all that well; the locals don’t dig his recent music.

The Kid gets a message from the mystical Aura (Ingrid Chavez) that the secret’s “just around the corner”. He puzzles over this while Morris bickers with his girlfriend Robin (Robin Power), whose father also funded much of Morris’ operation. Both Morris and the Kid pine for the elusive Aura, a poet who writes mysterious lines. They compete for her as she pursues her own agenda, and this all leads toward a battle of the bands for the ownership of the club.

Prince clearly imagines greater goals for Bridge than found in the semi-biopic Purple Rain. He wants to deliver religious themes as he looks at salvation. Or something like that. As with much of Prince’s work, it makes sense to no one but himself.

Because of that, Bridge becomes borderline nonsensical. Scratch that - it’s totally nonsensical. Clearly Prince had something in mind with this tale, but I’ll be damned if I could figure out the point. The movie meanders and goes absolutely nowhere.

For the most part, Bridge comes across as little more than a loosely connected series of music videos. I think Prince planned for it to be a true musical, but the songs do little to illustrate the story, and they often pop up out of nowhere. They mostly act instead of plot or exposition and attempt to liven up the proceedings, but they don’t.

The story makes no sense. For one, it partially just repeats the same “nobody understands the Kid” element from Purple Rain, which is a lazy way to create conflict. The movie seems to take place on the Planet of the Music Video, as the insanely stylized sets and locations look nothing like reality. Even outdoors shots appear fake and artificial. Was this intentional? Probably, but I can’t figure out what point it serves. Instead, it just makes the movie look cheap and phony.

No one handed out awards for the acting in Purple Rain, but the performances in Bridge are even worse. Prince remains distant and uncompelling, and Day loses any charm that he brought to his character the first time. He fails to present the roguish spark from the earlier flick, and here turns overbearing and obnoxious. How did he go from preening egotist to violent criminal?

Like everything else in Bridge, this fails to make the slightest amount of sense. If Morris owns half of Glam Slam, why try to destroy it? Why does the Kid owe him money? Is this movie actually about anything?

Not as far as I can tell. Graffiti Bridge enjoys an underrated soundtrack; it’s not as good as the music from Rain, but it presents a lot of solid songs. Otherwise, the film is a complete disaster.

The DVD Grades: Picture B-/ Audio C-/ Bonus D+

Graffiti Bridge appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The movie demonstrated acceptable visuals but like the movie itself, it often came across as somewhat muddled.

Sharpness mainly appeared good. The majority of the movie presented crisp and distinctive images. Softness crept into some wides, but those remained minor. I saw no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, but some light edge enhancement cropped up throughout the film. As for print flaws, grain created occasional distractions, and specks and grit also popped up at times. These weren’t too heavy, though the grain was too prominent.

As expected for a Prince flick, a lot of purple played a role in the presentation. The movie favored that tone along with fairly neon tones. I saw dense colors throughout the film. Sometimes the hues were lively and vivacious, but more of the time they seemed thick and heavy. Partly that resulted from a general smokiness in many shots. Blacks were moderately deep but could be somewhat inky, and low-light shots tended to look a little dark and opaque. At no time did Bridge become unattractive, but it suffered from too many problems to merit more than a “B-“.

A bigger disappointment came from the Dolby Surround 2.0 soundtrack of Graffiti Bridge. A muddled soundfield dominated the mix. The forward channels played the biggest role, and they demonstrated mushy stereo imaging. The songs never displayed good delineation of the elements, as they just spread broadly across the front. Effects offered slightly better localization but never played much of a role. Surround usage moderately supported the front but mainly just acted as reverberation of the music.

Audio quality fell short of any positive goals. Speech was reasonably distinctive, though the lines often sounded a little muffled and flat. Effects seemed dinky and without much definition. Some boomy bass occasionally greeted louder elements like an explosion, but the effects didn’t show a lot of life. Music was bland and showed little range. I’ve heard these tracks many times from the compact disc, but this DVD didn’t reproduce them with any vivacity or depth. Loose low-end marked the songs, which made them even less defined. A movie with so much music needed a good soundtrack. Bridge didn’t deliver.

When we check out the DVD’s extras, we get the flick’s trailer as well as four music videos connected to it. These include Tevin Campbell’s “Round and Round” plus three numbers from Prince: “New Power Generation”, “The Question of U”, and “Thieves in the Temple”. The Campbell video simply lifts his scene right out of the movie, while “Power” melds parts of that tune’s performance with other film snippets. “Thieves” offers a variation on the segment in the movie; it lasts longer and features additional elements of Prince’s lip-synch performance.

That still makes “Thieves” a pretty lackluster video. The only truly compelling element found here comes from the live performance of “The Question of U”. It’s an average performance of a mediocre song, but it stands as something interesting for the collectors. Unfortunately, it appears to be edited, as it sounds like a cut occurs toward the end.

Honestly, I can’t imagine that anyone other than Prince die-hards will get anything from Graffiti Bridge. While I didn’t like Under the Cherry Moon, it looks like a classic compared to this muddled, moronic effort. The DVD offers erratic but acceptable picture with surprisingly flat and weak audio. The extras include some less than interesting music videos; only the live take on “The Question of U” stands out as intriguing. Despite a solid soundtrack, Bridge fails to present anything that would make it a good movie. Even huge Prince fans will feel embarrassed to own this turkey.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.8666 Stars Number of Votes: 15
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