My frat brother Josh is the one who first hipped me to this back when the trailer started making the internet rounds. I had never heard of it until then, but I was immediately hooked. However, I knew the chances of us getting it in central Iowa were slim to none. We can't even get "Precious" so I KNEW "Black Dynamite" wasn't coming. Once my cousin Earl started talking about how funny it was, I knew I couldn't wait until the dvd release. I secured other means of finally seeing it.
"Black Dynamite" tells taps into the blaxploitation era of the 70s to deliver a parody worthy to hang with the movies of that genre. Black Dynamite (Michael Jai White) is an ex-CIA agent who finds himself called back into action. He has no choice when he discovers "The Man" killed his brother, pumped heroin into the local orphanages and flooded the hood with malt liquor. What he soon finds out is the malt liquor conspiracy goes much deeper than he could have imagined.
The blaxploitation movies could be a sensitive subject if it wasn't handled properly. The last time we saw it effectively spoofed dates all the way back to the 80s. "Hollywood Shuffle" touched on a little then "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka" expounded on it even more. However, both of those went off the deep end with their depiction. It was still considered amusing because they were being nostalgic while lampooning it at the same time.
"Black Dynamite" is a little more grounded. You get the feel that it could have actually been one of the films from that era. They got everything right from the genre. They had the signature music with the loud brass section and plucking bass lines, the quick camera zoom shots and even the dated lingo. I especially like the one shot where the boom mic was purposely visible. You could catch Black Dynamite briefly look at it with a look of "What's that doing here??"
When it comes to Michael Jai White as Black Dynamite, they couldn't have selected anyone better suited for that role. He's had a problem in other films where he had to struggle a bit with the dramatic portions. It's simply because he doesn't have that type of depth. He's always had the action parts in him though. He's almost like a blaxploitation actor suck in the 21st century. "Black Dynamite" was tailor made for him.
There is some excellent supporting casting done here as well. This is best displayed during the scene when the pimps of the city get together for a meting of the minds. That's when we get to see an almost unrecognizable Arsenio Hall as Tasty Freeze, Cedric Yarbrough as Chocolate Giddy-Up and Tommy Davidson as Creamed Corn just to mention a few. You can't possibly leave out Salli Richardson-Whitfield in a role that looks like she was plucked straight from a Pam Grier film festival.
What sets "Black Dynamite" apart from a spoof and/or a parody film is it really wasn't either. It was more of a tribute to the flicks of that time period. It doesn't take itself too seriously here, but they also don't go over the top with it. The jokes that are intended to be jokes truly are funny. Meanwhile, the ones that are unintentional are simply amusing because they remind us of how serious those films from the 70s tried to be in spite of themselves. "Black Dynamite" does an excellent job of memorializing a bygone era while being hilarious in the process.
My rating: A-