April 8, 2010
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** This is a continuation of a new feature on my blog, the off the beaten path reviews. This is a film already on DVD and Blu-ray that still deserves your attention. **
One of the first movies I ever saw with Michael Jai White was the deplorable Spawn. My dad and I still talk about how much we hated that movie. Ever since, when I see White, I think of that horrible film. Nothing else I’ve seen him is has been bad, in fact, he’s been in some really good movies since. Including Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?, its sequel, The Dark Knight (as Gamble), and now Black Dynamite. And after watching Black Dynamite, I’ll never think of him as anyone except Black Dynamite from now on.
The film stars White as Black Dynamite, an ex-army, ex-CIA man you don’t mess with. When his brother gets killed and drugs flood his streets, he decides to clean up the streets. The plot is very straight forward, but that’s only the surface. The film is actually a parody of blaxploitation films from the 1970s. Everything from the brilliant one-liner heavy dialogue to the lingo is straight out of the 70s.
If you have any knowledge or affinity for blaxploitation films, give this one a look. The screenplay, co-written by White, knows its strengths. And when it fails, it fails on purpose, showing how they did it back in the day. Boom mikes peak in from time to time. Two takes of one shot diced together rather than getting one good take. Dialogue that will make people from the time blush for saying such things. This movie goes right up there with Bronson in terms of a character so unabashedly badass that you feel cooler just knowing him. sprinkled in are cameos of famous African-American actors/icons, such as singer Bryan McKnight and comedians Arsenio Hall and Nicole Sullivan (from MADTV).
A great surprise and a great send up of a genre that gave us the likes of Shaft, Superfly, and Foxy Brown. It’s unfortunate that it didn’t recoup its expenses during its theatrical run, as it is a good comedy, a good parody, and most importantly, a really good movie. 4.5 out of 5 stars.