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Black Dynamite (2009)

June 4, 2010

8/10 Jive Turkeys

Arguably the funniest movie of ’09.

Black Dynamite is about the ultimate crime-fighting ex-CIA operative who makes Bruce Lee look like a hyperactive toddler who found his way into a stash of Pixy Sticks, a ladies man of the highest caliber who makes Ron Jeremy look like a chronic masturbator, a brother so effortlessly badass that he makes James Bond look like George McFly as he hits the streets to take down all the drug pushers that are getting all our kids hooked on smack and find the sonofabitch who killed his brother.

If you took any of what I just wrote seriously, this might not be the comedy for you, but if you’ve ever seen Shaft, Dolemite or anything even close to a Blaxploitation movie, open up your eyes and clean out your ears because this is right up your alley.

Black Dynamite works really damn well for a lot of reasons, but the most obvious strength is that it’s just smart as all hell. It’s a tribute to everything people love about John Shaft and a send-up of everything that seemed a lot cooler back in the ’70s but makes us 21st Century folk shake our head in disbelief at everyone and their damn bell-bottoms.

The most obvious display of this is that it’s poorly made on purpose as outtakes are left in the frame, characters are replaced with stunt-doubles mid-scene, actors look away into nothingness from the people they’re talking to for no apparent reason and it’s touches like these that end up being the star of the show more than anything else. Writer/director Scott Sanders has obviously seen his fair share of “undercover brother” movies and knows exactly what he’s trying to do both behind the camera and on paper.

And the great thing about this script is that it’s all over the place. It’s not just a satire, it’s not just trying to be a witty tongue-in-cheek jab at some fad that went down over three decades ago, it’s actually ends up being that and a lot more. The biggest strength of the script is that it’s always making fun of itself, that it doesn’t take itself seriously whatsoever and just kind rolls with the kung-fu punches. It has a crap load of material to work with and it doesn’t go a minute without lampooning a decade while throwing in something of its own along the way. It’s sharp and it’s stupid, and that can be one mean combo when done right.

And Michael Jai White is out of freakin’ sight as our man Black Dynamite. He totally hams it up as the coolest Black man alive, he makes the fight scenes actually work thanks to his having an actual black belt in real life and I’m just glad to see the guy is finally recovering from his turn as Spawn. That was a hard one to come back from, he gets a gold sticker.

The cameos from Tommy Davidson and Cedric Yarbrough as two guys named Cream Corn and Chocolate Giddy-Up are great, too.

Man, I really wish this review were longer, but for some reason this was a damn hard review to write up. It’s just one of those movies where all I want to do is ruin it for everyone by writing about every last scene that had me laughing like an idiot, but that ain’t gonna happen, so you’re gonna have to trust me. It’s totally ridiculous and it’s a prime example of great comedic writing backed up by spot-on direction and acting on every front. Might not be everyone’s thing, but even if you had to Wikipedia what Blaxploitation is and/or haven’t even heard of this movie before, I say go for it anyway.

The only thing holding this back from beating out Zombieland as the best comedy of yesteryear is a Bill Murray cameo, but other than that, Black Dynamite is a total riot through and through. Worth seeing if only for its beyond-epic one-on-one final showdown and bonus cameo by Abe Lincoln’s ghost saving the day.

Like I said, totally ridiculous, but totally, totally awesome.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. June 4, 2010 1:29 am

    Ahah! Very glad that you enjoyed it 🙂 Like you said, there isn’t all that much to be said about it –I had a short review myself– just see it to believe how hilarious it is.

    • June 4, 2010 9:55 am

      my sentiments exactly, man. thanks for prompting me to bump it up on the queue. what a great movie.

  2. June 4, 2010 5:42 pm

    Best Line!!

    “How did you know?
    Donuts don’t wear alligator shoes!”

    And the ending is quite possibly the funniest, most ridiculous thing I have ever seen! RICHARD F**KING NIXON WITH NUN_CHUCKS!! WhERE HAS THIS MOVIE BEEN ALL MY LIFE!!!

    Glad you enjoyed!

    • June 4, 2010 6:08 pm

      Nixon with the nunchucks, ranting about “You gonna fuckin’ mess with me, Black Dynamite, you motherfucker! MEEAAAHHH!” Too freakin’ good.

      That line where the jump rope girls go, “My momma said my daddy’s name is Black Dynamite.” And he responds, “Uh, hush now little girls, lots of people have that name.” I was howlin’, man.

      Glad you agree dude, what a movie.

      • June 4, 2010 10:21 pm

        That line right there just sold it for me. Gotta see this.

      • June 5, 2010 3:06 am

        Also, the scene in the diner where they figure out what Anaconda Malt Liquor does, and the aftermath of that scene, is going down as a classic moment in comedies! You heard it here first, and if you heard it somewhere else, then you heard it here again!

  3. June 4, 2010 6:04 pm

    100%, totally, absolutely agree. This was one of those movies you take a chance on and then rave about for days to anybody who’ll listen (and anybody who won’t). I was one of those people.

    • June 4, 2010 6:09 pm

      hahaha, i really wish more people have seen this or at least take a chance on it. one of the few movies I really didn’t want to return to Netflix. I plan on buying this thing. so awesome.

  4. June 4, 2010 6:55 pm

    It truly is – I said in my review that ‘anyone who’s sat through a few of them [Blaxploitation movies] will truly appreciate the amount of effort made in order to make this movie seem so bad.

    Can you dig it?’

    I dug it.

  5. June 5, 2010 1:44 am

    I can’t believe I haven’t seen Black Dynamite yet! I just placed it at the top of my queue.

  6. June 6, 2010 7:33 pm

    I frickin’ loved this film! I’m surprised it hasn’t garnered a bigger cult following yet. Everyone I know who has seen it has loved it.

    The secret pimp meetings were the best.

    It was relentlessly spot-on in its send-up.

    This thing was rock solid, ya dig?

    There were sooooo many great lines in this too. I gotta buy this sucka and watch it over and over, man.

    • June 6, 2010 7:47 pm

      Hahaha, I’ll be buying this too. I loved that secret pimp meeting with Arsenio Hall and Cedric Yarbrough from Reno 911. When that guy goes…

      “No, I don’t dig it! Who do you think you are?”
      Cedric Yarbrough: “He’s Black Dynami…”

      Then Black Dynamite leaves and Yarbrough’s the only one who says “Bye, Black Dynamite!” So good. Glad you’re on the bandwagon, man.

  7. June 7, 2010 4:24 pm

    You are hitting all my favourite comedies! I watched Black Dynamite for the time a couple of months ago. I’ve seen it twice more since! It isn’t only freaking hilarious but it looks amazingly authentic and it has a great soundtrack to boot! I am a sucker for all things 70’s! And Michael Jai White…absolutely brilliant!

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