Wednesday, January 27, 2010

AB Goes To The Movies - Black Dynamite.

Sometime after I finished college, I really got heavy into those 70's blaxploitation flicks for a minute. I product of the (mid) 70's myself, I only vaguely recall this era of urban cinema, but somewhere along the way, I found myself very interested, and ended up buying dozens of DVD's of the best flicks. From Coffy, to Sweetback Badass Song, to Blackula, I got a bunch of these films in my personal stash, for reasons even I can't truly comprehend.

Let's face it, these movies were routinely awful. The plots were all the same. The dialogue was laughably horrible. They were racist as all get-out. They were mind numbingly stereotypical. They were cheesy. The soundtracks was generally the sorta crap you hear in pRon. They were movies for us, about us, and made by Jewish people. About the only good thing to come out of this era was, of course, the lovely Pam Grier.

In recent years, movies lampooning this special genre of film have sprouted up from time to time. There were movies like I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, Pootie Tang, and Undercover Brother, all of which were able to recapture the spirit of the era, but mostly for comedic effect.

Black Dynamite, a movie that's been lurking about the internet for awhile in some form or fashion, is just now making it to movie screens. Unlike the other films, Dynamite is more of an homage to the long-deceased genre, and as such, I suspect it's a film that only folks who like these kinds of movies will enjoy.

Wikipedia's short synopsis says "In 1972, Black Dynamite, a former CIA agent, is called back into the business when the mafia kills his brother, fills black orphanages with heroin, and floods the street with bad malt liquor. He soon discovers a vast conspiracy." And yeah, that's pretty much the extent of the plot.

This movie, given the type of films it's mimicking, can only be so good, and it more or less lives up (or down, depending on your view) to that expectation. The plot's overly simplistic, the dialogue is hokey, and the fight scenes are outrageously cheesy. In other words, it's a dead ringer for the movies it's paying honor to. Perhaps even better is the extreme attention to technical detail. The slightly discolored hue, "fake scratches or digitally generated retro deterioration", are all authentic, because the movie was shot on film. Anyone familiar with blaxploitation flicks will appreciate this.

I also happened to enjoy the cast, which is a who's who of Black Hollywood D-Listers. Michael Jai White (Spawn, Why Did I Get Married?) plays the title character with the same level of lousy acting chops as Richard Roundtree in Shaft, but given the material, this works perfectly. Other familiar faces like Salli Richardson, Kym Whitley, Arsenio Hall, Chris Spencer, and Tommy Davidson round out the cast.

This definitely isn't a film for everyone, but if you're a fan of the genre, there's a good chance you'll appreciate Black Dynamite.

Final Verdict - I liked it. Whether you do or not likely has a lot to do with your understanding of the point of reference. Skip the internet bootleg and go support this film. 3 Stars (Out Of 5)

Question: Have you seen Black Dynamite? Got any blaxploitation favorites of your own?

blog comments powered by Disqus

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.