Michael Jackson is the King of Pop and the Master of Music Videos. Or rather he was. He’s dead now. Everyone has their own favorite Michael Jackson video. Boring and cliché people are partial to Thriller. A lot of people like Bad, Beat it, and Billie Jean. Those are all great videos, but Smooth Criminal is the best Michael Jackson video. It’s a great song and he showcases some of his best dance moves including the moonwalk and the anti-gravity lean. I wonder how many wannabes broke their nose trying to do the lean. I’m guessing it was a lot. Smooth Criminal is not just a music video, it’s short film. And it has almost all the iconic Michael Jackson trademarks: he’s rocking a fedora, a slick suit with an armband, tape on his fingertips, he’s pretending to be tough and feigning street cred, there are strangers doing a spontaneous yet perfectly choreographed dance, a couple of little kids running around well past their bedtime… the only things missing are the glove and his hair on fire.
Smooth Criminal is a very stylized video (it’s actually the centerpiece of his film Moonwalker). MJ enters a 1930’s nightclub filled with gangsters and he’s somehow tougher than all of them. He sings and dances and prances around. He beats up some dudes, and he even shoots and kills another guy, sending him flying backwards through a brick wall. At one point the music cuts out and everyone starts moving in slow motion with a blue tinge. Michael does a little howling and finger snapping and bobs his head ferociously. A cat walks on a piano for some reason, the ladies start moaning, and everything slows down before the song explodes back into existence. It’s impossible to watch this video and not try to emulate his moves. Don’t even try to dance like Michael Jackson; you won’t be able to pull it off. Michael Jackson is the only guy who looks cool doing Michael Jackson moves. Everyone else looks like Corey Feldman during his MJ obsession.
Critically Rated at 17/17
Written, Rated and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young