Review: Black Dynamite

May 21, 2010 at 2:16 am Leave a comment

Let’s get this out of the way: if you haven’t seen Black Dynamite, you need to remedy that as soon as possible.  This is seriously one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a long time.  A parody of poorly-executed blaxploitation flicks of the 70’s, it purposefully contains misspoken lines, gaping plot holes, and camera crew errors all in spades.  Much like the Grindhouse films, it sends you back in time with loving nostalgia, and it gets away with its altogether not-PC content by delivering it with a self-conscious wink and a nudge.  Also like these movies, it is completely and utterly over-the-top, abandoning any reasonable premise about halfway through (dismissing the heretofore main villain in a wonderfully off-the-cuff manner) and escalating the action and double-crossing “intrigue” to absurd heights.  After a while this does begin to wear a bit thin, but trust me – it’s all worth it for the final scene.
The writing is clever and hilarious, and the overt inconsistencies are believable enough that you might forget that they are intentional.  Taken with the theme-perfect production values and music it’s easy to believe that this is a lost relic of the 70’s.  Outside of these errors, the dialogue is wonderful – taking the slang and swagger of the source material just a bit further into the realm of absurdity.  It plays, for the most part, like the most enjoyably bad movie you’ve ever seen.  My only qualm is that at points the writing devolves into puerile dick jokes and visual gags – not only are these moments not as funny as the parodic humor that surrounds them, but they remind you that there are people behind the scenes deliberately trying to be funny, and this takes you out of the experience.

On a lighter note, Michael Jai White plays his role as the titular Black Dynamite perfectly and with excellent comedic timing.  Other characters have their moments of glory as well, but it’s really White’s show.  Whether he’s bemoaning “kung fu treachery” or trying to “shake the crackhead” out of an orphan, he delivers his lines with an over-the-top zeal that captures the spirit of the project perfectly.  I just don’t know how he keeps a straight face at certain moments, and that’s to his credit.  Bottom line: unless you’re easily offended (and again, the whole thing is in good-natured jest), and as long as you know what to expect, anyone with a pulse should be able to find something to like about this movie.  There have been other movies to try their hand at parodies of the genre, but none come close to… Black Dynamite!

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Entry filed under: Black Dynamite, film.

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