Wednesday, November 24, 2010


When I was in my early teens, I had a very steady diet of blaxploitation films. It wasn't so much a diet as it was a 2 year binge. Needless to say, my brain was filled with crackheads, gunfights, afros and cheap, but sincere filmmaking. I would go to the video store after school every day and find any movie with a title that started with "Black". Being a horror fan, I gravitated to "Blacula" or "Blackenstein" but after awhile I found "Black Godfather" and "Fass Black" (the cover art for the latter had literally NOTHING to do with the film... God bless XENON VIDEO).
But the one title that made the biggest impact on me over the years and one I can still watch is Rudy Ray Moore's "Dolemite". It was essentially a parody of "Superfly", "Shaft" et al. What made it work for me was not just the humor, but the fact that it was so cheap and amateurish that by the time the movie ended it was parody of itself.
The difference between "Dolemite" and the 2009 film "Black Dynamite" is that "Dolemite" was not too aware of it's so bad it's good quality. "Black Dynamite" is VERRRRRY aware of it, almost to a fault.
Michael Jai White (Spawn) plays "Black Dynamite" and amalgam of every blaxploitation hero. With a handlebar 'stache, leather jacket and nun chucks in his backpocket, B.D. wants to rid the city of drug dealers who are selling "this new smack" to children, especially children in orphanages (he was once an orphan) as well as find the man who killed his brother.
With help from Corn Bread (Tommy Davidson) Bullhorn (Byron Minns) and his all girl army of kung-fu killers (...Dolemite, anyone?) B.D. cleans up the city only to find out that it goes much higher than local drug dealers...Much higher. You can say the "honky house" may have something to do with it...
"Black Dynamite" is hilarious. It takes EVERY blaxploitation cliche and hits you on the head with it like the back of a 9mm, but in an endearing way. They LOVED making this film and it shows. I honestly was not expecting it to go as far as it did, in terms of homage. It was stylized to such a point, that by the end of it I was little tired. Needless to say, the out of focus shots, the use of stock footage and the exposed boom mic brought me back to my said pre teens years and made me feel good.
Director Scott Sanders got it all right. In fact, it may be the perfect parody film. My only issue is that he knew it all too well. It was almost a meta comedy because like Dolemite, the movie started to parody itself. So you could say it was a parody of a parody of a parody....
This doesn't mean you shouldn't see this (it's on NETFLIX stream), in fact, you should see it now! It's a great party film and it's even more rich if you're a follower of blaxploitation and grindhouse 70's action schlock....Oh yeah, Arsenio Hall is a drug dealing pimp...
Can you dig it?

-1 of of -10
You're damn right. I laughed from front to (almost) back!

1 comment:

  1. Black Dynamite is a classic! Cream Corn!...Nooooo!