Black Dynamite

July 24, 2010
By TheGothicGunslinger ELITE, Lakeland, Florida
TheGothicGunslinger ELITE, Lakeland, Florida
177 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To be great is to be misunderstood" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Whether you hate or enjoy the cornball blaxploitation films of the 1970's, you can't deny their place within film history as one of the most infamous genres of cinema. The films, for those unaware, were made specifically for an audience of urban black people and usually featured an all-black cast, a soundtrack filled with soul and funk music, and contained a gratuitous amount of violence and nudity. It was an interesting genre, to say the least, and many films since the death of blaxploitation have attempted to parody the genre. This film, Black Dynamite, would have to be one of the few that succeeds with flying colors.

The film follows Black Dynamite, a Vietnam veteran and total badass that does what he pleases when he pleases. He "don't take nuttin'" from the local authorities, the CIA, the FBI, etc. and so forth. Black Dynamite (or BD for short) only seems interested in two things - women and over-the-top violence. When BD's brother is killed, though, the former solider/cop is pulled into action and must find his brother's killer while simultaneously uncovering a secret government conspiracy.

The concept in and of itself may not sound that funny, but I can assure my readers that the script is absolutely hilarious. Michael J. White, who plays Black Dynamite, is just hysterical; in a perfect blend of nostalgia and over-the-topness, the performance is simply brilliant. It's hard not to laugh at a performance that's this great and has such a fantastic sense of comedic timing. The scriptwriting is just as fantastic, as the film has a plethora of memorable quotes that emphasize the parodic nature of the film. For instance, there's a very funny sequence that lampoons the contrived and convoluted logic of blaxploitation films. If you're more into snappy dialogue, the film's got plenty of that as well. "Sucka, I threw that thing before I even WALKED IN THE ROOM" would have to be one of my personal favorites. The humor's hilarious and to the point. Even when the humor doesn't work, though, the rest of the film's still gut-busting in its hilarity.

Even the visuals do their best to homage the old blaxploitation movies. Literally shot on a Super-16 camera, the visuals heavily resemble films such as Shaft and Foxy Brown. At the same time, though, the film still manages to look pretty good. The resolution's hi-def and the camerawork manages to be pretty creative as well.

A problem I did have, however, was the fact of how weak the supporting cast was. They were nowhere near on the same level of White's performance as Black Dynamite. There were some talented actors present, yes, but their material was either bland or forgettable. I understand the need to focus on a main character, but the rest of the cast felt snubbed. Also, I would've preferred a more character-orientated comedy. Parody's nice and all, but the lack of some sort of connection with the characters leaves us, as an audience, feeling out of the loop.

For what it's worth, I really enjoyed Black Dynamite. The weak supporting cast, among other things, keeps the film from being great but it's still quite hilarious. Plenty of laughs and a solid leading performance are just a few of the things to expect from this comedy.

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