Black Dynamite (2009)

Posted in Reviews by - December 12, 2012
Black Dynamite (2009)

Spoof blaxploitation from the brains and brawn of Michael Jai White, who rejoices in the subgenre’s cheap thrills whilst adding a post-modern logic to the blueprint for the seventies African-American action hero. As the sharp suited Black Dynamite, White marries the kung fu chops of Jim Kelly with the moustache of Fred Williamson in a pointedly accurate homage to his boyhood icons.

Decent spoofs derive from a place of respect rather than ridicule, and Black Dynamite is no exception. Here, the devil is in the detail. Production values are kept to a minimum with grainy film stock ensuring ultimate authenticity alongside shaky camerawork and bad editing. Characters are many, some talking in Huggy Bear-style rhyming couplets, immaculately styled in the fashion and language of the time whilst the soundtrack plays an ironic funk akin to Curtis Mayfield.

Only the story diverts from the rule book, but it’s so damn funny you can’t help but go with it. Black Dynamite is a militant ex-CIA Vietnam veteran on the hunt for his brother’s killers. “I’m blacker than the Ace of Spades,” he yells at a Black Panther group losing credence among the black voters in the wake of charismatic Congressman James, who is in cahoots with The Man by helping Italian drug pushers deal smack to orphans.

But wait, it gets better. A shipment of malt liquor endorsed by the Congressman is shrinking the size of male genitalia within the black community, so Black Dynamite departs for Kung Fu Island to fight Fiendish Dr Wu in a nod to both Roger Corman’s Filipino B movies and Enter the Dragon. The film concludes with a trip to the “Honky House” and a nunchaku duel with Richard Nixon.

It is utterly barmy and deserves its place among the pantheon of great dooby movies.

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