Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Black Dynamite

It's been four months since I've reviewed anything--and even longer since I've reviewed a film--but I can't think of a better film to jump-start the cinematic reviews than Black Dynamite.

Partially written by Michael Jai White (the movie's star), Black Dynamite tells the story of Black Dynamite, an ex-CIA operative that is "super cool" and "know kung fu." He is, undoubtedly, smooth with the ladies, but he has little time to fool around once he starts investigating his brother's death. The plot purposefully--and with great hilarity--becomes quite convoluted, with multiple plot twists, and government conspiracies that involve malt liquor, a fiendish scientific genius from China (whose "knowledge of scientific biological transmogrification is only outmatched" by his "zest for kung-fu treachery!"), and of course Richard Nixon.

Sadly (?), I was born post-blaxploitation, so I didn't see those films growing up, so I'm sure a part of Black Dynamite's brilliance is lost on me, but as satire/spoof, it is absolutely legendary (I hadn't seen many (any?) zombie movies when I saw Shaun of the Dead, but I was still able to appreciate it). Black Dynamite is sort of the Hott Fuzz of blaxploitation, but a little goofier... not quite Airplane!-level zaniness, but definitely goofy. However, it's very subtle at times, and the viewer has to work to catch some of the gags. The boom mic making its appearance into the shot is easy to spot, but the red Porche that suddenly turns into an 1960s family sedan as it explodes while going off the cliff is a little more subtle (even though it doesn't sound too hard to notice). The film is, in a way, an homage to blaxploitation, but very different from another recent effort. The filmmakers walk a thin line between trying to make a film purposely bad at parts, but not end up with a bad movie. Without a doubt, they succeed.

Grade: A
Blurb: 2009's funniest film.

Enjoy the trailer:

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