Since I have been talking about this movie since I saw it and am truly working on spreading the word I need to blog about it as its out on DVD/BluRay!
Can Black Dynamite fend off the Man and the Mob and the phalanx of wah-wah guitars arrayed against him and fight his way to the Honky House to mete out kung-fu justice? DAMN RIGHT!!!
The new movie “Black Dynamite” is more than just a fond, knowing tribute to ’70s blaxploitation films (with echoes of “Enter the Dragon,” too). It’s a wild action-comedy with a magnetically deadpan star (Michael Jai White, last seen as a snarling hoodlum in “The Dark Knight” and in kung fu classic Blood and Bone) and a scholarly attention to genre detail. Not just the usual pimped-out purple fedoras, processed hair and tinted aviator shades, but also the lovable technical defects — the rancid color, the restroom lighting, the shifting commitment to focus. The movie is a celebration of all that was right with a film style that defined “low Budget”.
White, who’s built like a tank and possessed of mad kung-fu skills, is pretty near perfect in the role of Black Dynamite, an ex-CIA commando just back from the ‘Nam and pissed about a bad new kind of smack being funneled into the ghetto by evil ofays. Little kids are getting hooked — helpless little orphans, even. (“Orphans got no parents,” B.D. sternly observes.) Not only that, there’s a strange new brand of malt liquor on the street that’s turning … never mind. (Can’t blow one of the movie’s best parts.) Being the down brother he is Black Dynamite even enlists the help of the local pimps.. Truly some of the best lines of the movie.. Captain Kangaroo Fans rejoice!
On top of all that, some soon-to-be-dead crackers have rubbed out Black Dynamite’s brother. So before long, he’s making the rounds of local pimps, pushers and hot brothel mamas with a monster Magnum the size of a lug wrench and a really big set of nunchucks (which he carries around in his back pocket). Amid all the ensuing havoc, you’d think there wouldn’t be room for a Chinese crime lord called Fiendish Dr. Wu, or an uninviting getaway called Kung-Fu Island, or an armed-and-dangerous doughnut. But you’d be wrong.
There’s also room for carnal downtime, somehow, and our man has a smooth way with the ladies. (Sidling up to a hospital nurse, he says, “I think you’re runnin’ a temperature. Lemme see if I can find the thermometer.”) One in particular has caught his eye, a pretty community activist named Gloria (Salli Richardson). She’s resistant at first, but Black Dynamite soon lures her back to his ultra-’70s stud-pad, where … well, let’s just say there’s no explaining some of the stuff in this movie.
Mostly, though, the picture flies by in a blur of martial-arts mayhem and low-budget vehicular pandemonium. (At one point, a car goes sailing off a cliff and blows up before it even hits the ground.) The mostly brilliant one-liners whiz by like buckshot. (Checking out Black Dynamite’s fab digs, a wowed visitor says, “You must have an eight-track in every room.”) And the ending — a hostile encounter in Washington, at the aforementioned Honky House — is spectacularly ridiculous.
Director Scott Sanders wrote the script with White and fellow actor Byron Minns; they shot this thing in three weeks and they’ve really nailed it. There’s no winking irony and no heavy-handed film-referencing. The movie’s like a blaxploitation classic you somehow missed back in the day. Time to catch up.
– “But Black Dynamite, I SELL DRUGS IN THE COMMUNITY!” –