Night Moves / UK premiere

Black Dynamite

  • Scott Sanders /
  • USA /
  • 2009 /
  • 84 mins

Michael Jai White, Obba Babatunde, Kevin Chapman, Tommy Davidson, Richard Edson, Arsenio Hall, Darrel Heath, Buddy Lewis / Fiction / English

Move over Shaft: there’s a new hero taking it to the streets.

Putting his genuine martial arts expertise to good use, Michael Jai White delivers a towering performance in the superbad title role, “stickin’ it to the Man” in memorable comic style, as he respectfully lampoons the fly moves of the actors who defined the Blaxploitation era: heavyweights such as Fred Williamson, Bernie Casey, 'Big' Jim Brown, Superfly Ron O’Neal, Jim Black Belt Jones Kelly and, of course, Shaft himself, Richard Roundtree. There’s even a smile and a nod to the legendary Rudy Ray Moore, whose infamous Dolemite character is clearly the inspiration for Dynamite’s rapper-at-arms 'Bullhorn'. The satirical attention to the flawed detail of the originals is truly incredible. From mistimed camera moves and visible microphones, to actors feigning tears, smoking unlit cigarettes, and feverishly improvising forgotten dialogue – no trick is missed. All the genre’s trademarks are present, lovingly recreated by director Scott Sanders in hysterical fashion. Steamy sex, bone-shattering Kung-fu, shootouts, car chases, foot chases ... there’s even the obligatory Vietnam flashback, and naturally, the funky score. The score was always an integral element of Blaxploitation cinema. Influential artists contributed killer soundtracks to the genre: Isaac Hayes (who, aside from creating the whole genre’s unofficial anthem with the classic Theme from Shaft, appeared in the lead role of his own Blaxploitation vehicle Truck Turner); James Brown (Black Caesar arguably being one of his greatest albums); and Curtis Mayfield. Many of the tracks were to be sampled by Hip Hop artists decades later, causing not only the cultural resurrection of the music, but a renewed interest in the films themselves. Maintaining its meticulous level of satire, Black Dynamite acknowledges this history with a brilliantly tongue-in-cheek score that cleverly mirrors its esteemed inspirations. Although this brand of parody often suffers from a loss of momentum after the initial spate of gags, Sanders and Jai White (also co-scriptwriter) have produced such a perfect example of the art, it effortlessly sustains its razor sharp humour for the full hilarious duration. I’m Gonna Git You Sucka just lost its crown: Black Dynamite is now the quintessential Blaxploitation comedy.

2009 Archive

Image from Black Dynamite

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  • #1 Lindsay Hutton / Sunday 21 June, 2009 / 11:29 GMT

    Nonsense. Seek out Dolemite or The Human Tornado on dvd instead.
    Attention to detail maybe but no soul whatsoever.
  • #2 Doug Kelly / Monday 22 June, 2009 / 09:14 GMT

    Lindsay Hutton's comment is what is "nonsense". One of the finest blacksploitation films ever crafted - you'll be crying with laughter throughout. Absolute spoof genius.
  • #3 Lindsay Hutton / Monday 22 June, 2009 / 09:19 GMT

    It was a spoof? Oh that's where I went wrong. Or perhaps not. I hope that the ghost of Rudy Ray Moore haunts all concerned.
  • #4 Doug Kelly / Wednesday 24 June, 2009 / 13:33 GMT

    Maybe you've got no taste. Or perhaps you just didn't "get it".
  • #5 / Wednesday 24 June, 2009 / 13:46 GMT

    I loved it! Yup perhaps she didn't "get it", unlike the rest of us who were roaring with laughter in FH1 on Sat night. A great piece of film making, animation and soundtrack brilliant!
  • #6 Daniel Bartley / Thursday 25 June, 2009 / 09:18 GMT

    Fantastic movie, I was laughing the whole way through. If you liked Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, you'll love this.
  • #7 Lindsay Hutton / Monday 29 June, 2009 / 13:24 GMT

    It's true. I have no taste and didn't get it. Oh yeah, I did rate "Darkplace" but not this sorry extended exercise. You people are evidently very easily pleased. Just sayin'...

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