From Scott Sanders comes Black Dynamite, a satirical take on 1970's blaxploitation films. With the look, feel and style of such films, Black Dynamite is a true homage to the genre, though whether you can sit through the whole thing is another matter.
Black Dynamite currently has a 7.7/10 on IMDB and an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes, with an official consensus of "A loving and meticulous send-up of 1970s blaxsploitation movies, Black Dynamite is funny enough for the frat house and clever enough for film buffs." Apparently I'm a few years gone from my college years and not nearly as much of a film buff as I thought, because I simply didn't get it.
In Black Dynamite, the title character goes on a rampage against The Man after his young brother is killed by drug dealers. With the police only partially on his side, Black Dynamite looks for sex, action and revenge.
Sanders has done an impressive job recreating the D-grade blaxploitation films of the 1970's. Everything from the script, direction, soundtrack and more are spot on. The actors, led by Michael Jai White (Black Dynamite) and Arsenio Hall (Tasty Freeze), take things in stride and, understandably, look like they had a lot of fun making the movie.
Unfortunately, Black Dynamite is too much of an homage for its own good. Though there are some funny parts, the movie plays so much like the content it's trying to satire - which, as most would agree, is pretty painful to watch 35 years later - that it is, in fact, pretty painful to watch.
That being said, I'm clearly in the minority. Typically, I'd attribute such a discrepancy to me being right and everyone else being wrong, but Black Dynamite is a movie that just doesn't resonate. Born in the 1980's, I never grew up with such films; I've never seen the movies Black Dynamite is attempting to make fun of, nor do I care to. Without that reference point, younger audiences won't get it at all.
From a filmmaking perspective, Black Dynamite is an impressive feat, but unless you grew up watching blaxploitation movies, much of the satire will go over your head. I turned the movie off about two thirds through, having lost interest long before that. Not recommended.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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