Pointless exposition, redundant dialogue, hammy acting, racial paranoia, cartoonish action scenes, continuity problems, absurd sub-plots that go absolutely nowhere, if you’ve ever seen blaxploitation films before, you’ll realize that Scott Sanders “Black Dynamite” is a pretty brilliant satire of the grindhouse sub-genre that managed to influence dozens of filmmakers and actors across the board. While the Wayans brothers paid tribute to the genre in “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka,” director Scott Sanders manages to rise above their level providing a both a spoof, satire, and loving tribute to the sub-genre that takes every single device from the sub-genre that we love and hate and throws it in to a story that’s about as ridiculous as most of the blaxploitation films from the seventies. As most comedy should be, Sanders and Jai White don’t play this spoof with a wacky atmosphere.
Instead, much like “Young Frankenstein,” they allow this unique cast (which include Mykelti Williams, and Salli Richardson) to play every bit of idiotic dialogue and stereotype with a straight face and give them room to extend their talents. Take for example star Michael Jai White who is absolutely hysterical as the moronic but bad ass hero Black Dynamite. As most blaxploitation films of this ilk, Black Dynamite is a part time pimp whose brother is killed by the man after a bad drug deal. This ninja/kung fu warrior who happens to be a Vietnam vet and… for some reason in the CIA… and an orphan (in spite of having a grandmother and aunt), is called upon by his aunt to look for the man and the men who killed his drug addicted brother. In the meantime in a scene that still makes little to no sense, he’s also confronted by an ex-CIA official to help corrupt the man’s operations after breaking in to his house for reasons still unexplained to us. Scott Sanders along with Jai White and Byron Minns manage to capture every quirk and plot hole that make these films so entertaining.
They even manage to edit the film sloppily where in one instance during a fight scene a stuntman is slapped accidentally, to where it cuts to a proper take of the fight. “Black Dynamite” is much too subtle a comedy for most mainstream audiences to appreciate as Sanders and co. don’t take the obvious route. In order to capture every plot hole and wink to the sub-genre, you’ll definitely have to be knowledgeable in films cut from this cloth, and once you catch on to the string of in-jokes, the movie never stops making you laugh. Michael Jai White keeps the film afloat and holds his own against a variety of skilled African American character actors, all of whom garner the spotlight including Salli Richardson as Gloria, the Black Panther who is constantly in awe of Black Dynamite’s inept monologues and one-liners.
She displays shocking comic timing as well we Jai White who takes this character for all he’s worth portraying the beefed up superhero and the black freedom fighter whose war takes him to Kung Fu Island, and the Honkey house in an attempt to stop probably one of the most convoluted, confusing, and overly complicated diabolical plots ever written for the big screen. Even when the film manages to go a bit over the top with the reveal of the final villain, Jai White saves it by delivering some sharp one-liners and tough talk that will keep you in hysterics. Even if you’re like me and not a fan of blaxploitation, you owe it to yourself to watch a genre spoof that is actually funny and allows Michael Jai White a center stage to show audiences how talented he can be when unleashed. Can you dig it? Finally a genre lampooning that gets it right, “Black Dynamite” is a hilarious, brilliant, and absolutely entertaining hidden gem of 2009 that deserves to be given a look by any self-respecting movie buff open to a sharp satire of blaxploitation masterpieces of the seventies.