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"Your knowledge of scientific biological transmogrification is only outmatched by your zest for kung-fu treachery!"
on 29 April 2012
Black Dynamite is one of the better spoofs in recent years, though with the likes of Epic Movie as competition that sounds like damning with faint praise. Taking on the classic blaxploitation flicks of the 70s, it gets the look and the attitude right, but it's never quite as funny as it could be, especially compared to 1988's I'm Gonna Git You Sucka!, which had a much higher laugh count. Michael Jai White is Black Dynamite, the ex-CIA Superfly who can satisfy three women at once and who's declaring war on the jive-ass mothers who killed his kid brother and are swamping the ghetto and the local orphanage with drugs. But drugs are only the tip of a fiendish plot aimed at the black community that goes all the way to the tippity top in the hallowed halls of the Honky House...
The film's low budget works in its favor thanks to some judicious vintage stock footage and the cast playing it commendably straight, though the jabs at the dodgy filmmaking of its predecessors are a bit hit and miss. There's a lot of fun to be had, whether it's the OTT fights, the righteous speechifying or a wonderfully bizarre sequence where Black Dynamite and assorted pimps unravel the Man's dastardly plan thanks to their knowledge of M&Ms, numerology, local dialling codes and Greek mythology, but it tends to work better as a straight pastiche of 70s blaxploitation flicks than as a comedy at times. White has the moves, the attitude, the dialogue and the jacket to have passed the grade in the real thing but even at well under an hour and a half the film threatens to outstay its welcome, getting distinctly ropey and feeling a bit too forced in the last half hour as it tries to cram in every genre climax, from CIA plots to Kung Fu islands to a martial arts smackdown in the White House itself. There's still enough to make it worth sticking with, but it falls short of the target a few too many times to become the classic it wants to be. Still, the DVD offers a decent extras package - 17 deleted or extended scenes and some decent featurettes covering the making of the film, the blaxploitation genre and the 70's-style score as well as the Comic-Con press conference, but not the film's trailers that effectively spoofed the genuine 70s items.