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This is the story of 1970s African-American action legend Black Dynamite. The Man killed his brother, pumped heroin into local orphanages, and flooded the ghetto with adulterated malt liquor. Black Dynamite was the one hero willing to fight The Man all the way from the blood-soaked city streets to the hallowed halls of the Honky House.. Written by
Listen up turkey! Black Dynamite is the baddest movie to ever hit the big screen!
All you suckas gather round, there's a brand new movie in town! So get on up and check the scene cause Black Dynamite is the baddest movie to ever hit the big screen! Black Dynamite, directed by Scott Sanders (Thick as Thieves), is a fun and ridiculous throwback to all of the great blaxploitation films of the 1970's. Paying homage to such great films as Shaft, Dolemite, Coffy, and more.
The movie centers around Black Dynamite, an ex-C.I.A. Agent / Vietnam Vet / Kung-Fu Master / Pimp / Everyday Bad Ass, who is pulled back in the game when the mob kills his brother and puts the dope on the streets. So Black Dynamite is forced to take down the mob and clean up the ghetto. On his quest for vengeance we discover that the treachery runs far deeper then we ever could imagine. Black Dynamite must take his fight from the streets all the way to the top, even if that means taking on The Man himself in the white halls of the Honky House.
The film is not only an homage to the stories and themes of blaxploitation films, but also how they where made and the culture behind the genre in a whole. Top-notch crews with million dollar budgets never made these types of movies. Often blaxploitation films, like any other exploitation genre of the 70's, were filled with botched shots, boom mics, and stiff acting. From the beginning all exploitation films existed simply to sell tickets and make money. Usually, for the audience, this meant a poster that was far more exciting then the movie itself. Despite that fact Black Dynamite definitely delivers on what it advertises. The film is able to use all of these unfortunate elements intentionally and create subtle and at times not so subtle laughs. A good example of this is a scene early on in the film where Black Dynamite is giving a long monologue and a boom mic pops in the shot just above his head. As the scene plays out the cameraman even attempts to adjust the shot to try and hide the mic, possibly making it worse. Dynamite continues on with his speech as if nothings wrong, until he's almost finished and he quickly glances at it, then he proceeds to finish as if he's seen noting at all.
The key factor about all of these gags is that all of the actors/characters play it completely straight from beginning to end without skipping a beat. This is a spoof, in the vein of films like Young Frankenstein or Airplane!, that doesn't let the cast in on the joke. The movie plays out as if it's your typical 70's revenge flick. So you end up feeling as if the film was just unearthed after being lost for thirty years or so and you accept it. In the end this is what keeps the movie fresh and the audience wanting more. Most spoof movies that go in the other direction, ending up with a movie filled with a series of gags that feel contrived and completely take you out of the movie (see Disaster Movie or Meet the Spartans). Here you're with Black Dynamite all they way to the end no matter what.
The cast of characters in the film might even be crazier then the films itself. With names like Cream Corn (Tommy Davidson), Chocolate Giddy-Up (Cedric Yarbrough), and Tasty Freeze (Arsenio Hall) you know you're in for a wild ride. All the supporting characters feel authentic and bring much needed humor to a world filled with kung-Fu treachery and smack addicted orphans. Though, when it comes down to it this is a one-man show and Michael Jai White, who is also a co-writer on the film, gives an outstanding performance as our main man Black Dynamite. In order for this movie to work Black Dynamite needed to live up to the hype it created. Like the trailer says, "he's tougher then Shaft, Superfly, and the Mack all put together". White definitely pulls it off; creating a character that you love and believe without a doubt could take King Kong in a fistfight and not even break a sweat. White really shines in this movie and I hope it leads to more leading roles for him.
One last thing that can't be overlooked about this film is the soundtrack by Adrian Younge, who came out of nowhere and created a very convincing 1970's soundtrack. The best thing about the soundtrack is that it feels vintage fitting right in with similar soundtracks from the 70's, but at the same time remains fresh and doesn't seem to rip-off anything specific. He hits all the right notes and keeps true to that retro 70's beat. The majority of films today wish they had a soundtrack half as good as Black Dynamite.
If you enjoy the exploitation films of the 70's or movies like Army of Darkness and Grindhouse you're going to love this movie. Though if you're a film-goer who can't stand movies with a ridiculous premise you'll want to avoid this one, but for those that do your going to have a blast. Unfortunately Black Dynamite has only opened in a few cities so far keep an eye out for it, hopefully it will get a wider release in the weeks to come. This is definitely one of those movies that benefits from viewing it with an audience so if it's in your town be sure to run out and see it. Can you dig it?
Recommended Flicks: Shaft (1971) | Dolemite (1975) | Truck Turner (1974) | Coffy (1973) | Hammer (1972) | Magnum Force (1973) | The Last Dragon (1985) | I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (1988) | Enter the Dragon (1973)
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