Review: Black Dynamite

Black Dynamite is a very funny movie. That’s the most important thing you need to know.

When you think of the classic 1970s blaxploitation movies, you know they are raw gems and often clunky. Don’t mistake this movie for its source material. Black Dynamite is no diamond in the rough. It’s up there with the gold that Quentin Tarantino has spun from B-movies. It’s up there with Mike Myers and Austin Powers and maybe even better.

It’s a tricky thing to balance homage with satire but, once you meet Black Dynamite, played by Michael Jai White, you just know you’re in good hands. He could be transported back in time and he’d fit right into a real blaxploitation movie. The same can be said for the rest of the talented cast which includes Byron Minns, as Bullhorn, and the lovely Salli Richardson-Whitfield, as Gloria.

The dialogue has just the right amount of irony. The story is hilarious. You’ve got all the martial arts, conspiracy theories, malt liquor, gunfire and shag carpet you can handle. Can you dig it? I know you could.

I went through a sea of promotions for last year’s San Diego Comic-Con and I always meant to check out Black Dynamite. I had no idea what it was really about but I’m sure glad it’s finally available on DVD. I have a feeling it will become a cult classic and you’ll be seeing it at midnight showings.

The DVD bonus features include a SDCC panel discussion and it’s a good one. We learn, among other things, that, Michael Jai White, the star of Black Dynamite, was listening to James Brown’s Super Bad one night when he got the idea for the movie. He set up a photo shoot dressed up in what he imagined the main character would look like and that inspired director, Scott Sanders, to jump on board. The panel includes Scott Sanders, Michael Jai White, Byron Minns and Salli Richardson-Whitfield.

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