June 11, 2011
BLACK DYNAMITE (2009) - the man who takes on The Man
This is already my favourite spoof of the blaxploitation era because it's the funniest and also the most accurate recreation. To be more precise, it's a homage to the sub-genre where one man takes on all the odds - Shaft, Superfly, The Mack... as opposed to the films where women took on all the odds - Coffy, Foxy Brown, Cleopatra Jones... and nothing to do with the horror subgenre where every iconic monster movie (up till then) was remade for a black audience.
Black Dynamite is a labour of love and is itself low-budget. One of its many strengths is the script, cleverly weaving in so many familiar elements from the originals, as well as layering in the technical distractions the original actors would have had. It's as much an homage to lowest-budget cinema of this era, as it is to this particular genre, making it accessible to anyone with a fleeting experience of early 70s exploitation.
While many of the action scenes are played for laughs, Michael Jai White also demonstrates dangerous-looking nunchuck and kung fu action in some very impressive long-take fight scenes. While he's aiming at channeling Jim Kelly (Black Belt Jones, Enter The Dragon), he more closely resembles a pumped-up Shaft, which is no bad thing.
It's all too short. Several scenes have been abbreviated into montages to keep the story snappy, though after seeing the deleted scenes play out in their entirety, you can see that they weren't working or funny enough.
Released last year on DVD, this is also available on blu-ray in the US and Germany. The DVD has deleted scenes, and some fun, informative featurettes on the movie and music production that don't outstay their welcome.
I previously waded into the blaxploitation horror film cycle here.