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Black Dynamite (2009)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment)
Director:
Scott Sanders Scott Sanders
Starring:
Phyllis Applegate Phyllis Applegate
Obba Babatundé Obba Babatundé
William Bassett William Bassett
Troy Lindsey Brown Troy Lindsey Brown
Fredella Calloway Fredella Calloway

7.3 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Action, Action Comedy, Blaxploitation, Martial Arts
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: November 20, 2009
To call "Black Dynamite" the most quotable film of the year would be an understatement. This film gets so much right, it's crazy. A blaxploitation parody of the highest order, "Black Dynamite" was a huge hit at Sundance, was one to the first films to be purchased and has now attracted a rabid cult following. Easily understood when you finally see the film and realize how terrific it really is.

The film stars Michael Jai White as Black Dynamite, the most bad ass motha to ever hit the streets. When his kid brother Jimmy is killed by 'The Man', Black Dynamite retrieves his license to kill and does battle against local drug dealers. But, Black Dynamite isn't all bad -- he also takes time to care for the local whores in the neighborhood when they're without their pimp. He also has a soft spot for the kids, especially orphans. The film takes Black Dynamite from the drug-riddled streets of his community to the jungles of Kung Fu Island to The White House. Hell, you even get Abraham Lincoln's ghost.

The performances here are rock solid. Michael Jai White is pitch perfect as Black Dynamite and really does show just how overlooked he has been all these years. He has this quirky and comedic intensity and that just works so well and I hope this turns into a franchise for him. The coalition of pimps also features some pretty hysterical performances from people like Arsenio Hall, Cedric Yarbrough, Brian McKnight and Obba Babatunde. Tommy Davidson is probably the only actor in the whole film who doesn't seem to understand the type of humor that everyone else does, but even he's entertaining.

I highly recommend this film to just about everyone. It's the funniest film of 2009 and it's obvious that Scott Sanders knows what he's doing behind the camera. And to leave you with a quote from the man himself:

"Euphoria, shut the fuck up! I know that was you, I ain't even gotta look! I should send you back to Crenshaw Pete with his hot coat hangers, bitch, would you like that?"

10/10
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Chad #1: Chad - added 03/12/2010, 02:18 AM
Agreed, this movie is freaking incredible. There are lines in here that will be quoted until the end of time.

"Take your filthy black hands off the presidential dinnerware, you moon-cricket!"
"First Lady, I'm sorry I pimp slapped you into that china cabinet."
"Man, I mean these cats looked mean! Meaner than two fat motherfuckers wrestling over pork chops and greens, can you dig it?"

12/10.
Greg Follender #2: Greg Follender - added 03/12/2010, 09:55 AM
There's a reason this flick ended up on the Blockbuster's rack as quickly as it did...

It certainly starts up strong... but it loses it's punch long before the final reel.
By the end of this flick, the humor seems forced and the last scene runs endlessly on... as if the filmmakers simply didn't know how to appropriately end the damned thing.

I'm all for parody (and I have great affection for the Blaxsploitation films of the 70's), but this film's heavy-handed delivery feels threadbare by the time the credits roll.
I suppose that it is because this film works so hard to be over-the-top from the get-go, it has a hard time sustaining intensity throughout it's full running time.

Still, for a late night rental, a lot of fun can be had with this guilty pleasure of a film... but it takes more than a bucketful of racial jokes and tired sight gags to really impress me these days with a comedy.

Fun but deeply flawed... 6/10. 7/10 if you just dig on retro one-liners.
Chad #3: Chad - added 03/12/2010, 04:37 PM
Well, I looked at it like this: I got a good chuckle out of the opening advertisement for Anaconda malt liquor, I was still laughing during the credits while watching the deleted scenes, and I was getting at least a grin on my face every thirty seconds in between. That's what a comedy does, and Black Dynamite did it well.

As a parody film, the movie also worked out superbly. Take out the jokes and the campiness, and you have a film that could have been a legitimate blaxploitation release from the seventies. A lot of parodies seem to forget that to "parody", you really have to "emulate" at the core. This one didn't, and again, it was hilarious from start to finish.
Greg Follender #4: Greg Follender - added 03/12/2010, 05:27 PM
I hear you, Chad... but to be honest, this just didn't really have the legs for a full feature film.

It started off hysterical, I whole-heartedly agree with you there... but as the film wore on, it just started to feel forced to me. The intensity of the film itself just fizzled out.
The problem with this movie (IMHO) is that as a whole is that it didn't really parody the real guts of Blaxploitation... just the surface affectations. I know, it's just a comedy picture... but if you want to stay funny for the entire length of a full feature film, you've got to push a few more boundaries and not rely on the same sort of easy Saturday Night Live/ Mad TV gags that made up the bulk of this film.

It just didn't have the guts of the films it was trying to emulate... and it actually just got downright silly towards the end... the whole final fight scene was downright disappointing and a real letdown after all the build-up to that point. Just didn't seem funny enough for me...

It takes more than tricky film stock effects and hanging boom shots to make a really telling parody... this film had all the details right... but lacked the self-righteous soul of the films it was purported to make fun of.

Uneven and weak at it's finale... this film felt rushed to me.
Again... agree to disagree... I understand your affection for the film for sure... it's just didn't hit me that way... and while I was very young at the time, I actually grew up with those films Black Dynamite emulates. This just felt like an overlong SNL skit to me.
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