— by MARIUSZ ZUBROWSKI —
The spoof genre is widely considered dead. It’s “death” marked by the emergence of films such as “Disaster Movie,” “Meet the Spartans” and “Scary Movie,” but Scott Sanders (who was originally an American novelist and essayist) digs up the battle-scarred genre with a film that is “super cool and knows kung-fu.”
His directorial debut “Black Dynamite” deserves to be praised for being genuinely funny without any gross-out gags and that delivers excellent comic timing.
“Black Dynamite” spoofs a genre that emerged in the United States known as “blaxploitation” or exploitation films that targeted an urban African-American audience. These films featured soundtracks of funk and soul and were acted by a generally black cast.
“Black Dynamite” stars Michael Jai White — who besides being an actor is also a professional marital artist — as Black Dynamite, an ex-CIA who lost his “license to kill” after quitting the force, but he soon is forced to rejoin after the mafia kills his brother and pushes heroin and liquor into the streets and orphanages. Black Dynamite declares a “war on anyone who sells drugs to the community” but soon unravels a massive conspiracy.
The film lampoons blaxploitation films of the 1970s with much success and does so in a way that is entertaining and hilarious. Women are outfitted with giant afros and Black Dynamite is a one man killing machine. The plot is rightly absurd and the fight scenes even more so.
The soundtrack is full of original tunes and scenes often have a scene that narrates the action onscreen. “The Black Dynamite” theme song, though simple, sticks long after you have left the film. It was also shot using a Super 16 Color Reversal Kodak film stock to get the film’s saturated look.
“Black Dynamite” clocks in at a mere hour and a half but it never delivers a boring moment. The action is exciting, the dialogue hilariously corny, and the look and sound make this a film for anyone who loves movies.
Sanders single-handedly shows that the spoof-genre is not ready to die just yet.
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I’m glad to hear it’s funny.