Black Dynamite (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner13/08/2010

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 90 mins

This is an enjoyable, frequently hilarious action comedy with a witty script and a terrific performance from Michael Jai White, though it does drag considerably in the middle section.

What's it all about?
Directed by Scott Sanders, Black Dynamite is set in 1970s Los Angeles and stars Michael Jai White (who co-wrote the script) as superbad Shaft-alike Black Dynamite, who takes to the streets and sticks it to The Man in revenge for the murder of his younger brother (Baron Vaughn). Along the way he takes down a Mafia boss, romances orphanage activist Gloria (Salli Richardson), encounters the kung fu treachery of the fiendish Doctor Wu (Roger Yuan) and uncovers a government conspiracy that goes all the way to Nixon's White House.

The Good
The jokes come thick and fast and the attention to detail is so good that if you didn't know better, you'd swear this was a recently unearthed 1970s film. Clearly Sanders loves him some 1970s blaxploitation – the funk score is perfect and the fight scenes (complete with wildly over-the-top sound effects) are fabulous; it's also worth sticking around for the animated sequence that plays over the end credits.

The film is also packed with brilliantly quotable lines (“Now who the HELL interruptin' my kung fu?”) and the absurdly ripped White is superb as Black Dynamite – hopefully he'll be back for Black Dynamite 2. In addition, there are several knowing gags, such as reusing the same footage for car explosions, including outtakes in the fight scenes, pointless split-screen moments, and constant, intrusive “dy-no-MITE” musical stings, as well as having flashbacks where characters say things like “I am 18-year-old Black Dynamite and you are my 12-year-old brother, Jimmy!”

The Bad
However, that said, the film drags horribly in the middle section where the plot gets hopelessly confused and the jokes all start to repeat themselves, though it does rally for a genuinely brilliant climax at Doctor Wu's lab and Nixon's White House.

Worth seeing?
Black Dynamite is a hugely enjoyable, frequently hilarious blaxploitation spoof that gets everything right, thanks to clever direction, a witty script and a terrific central performance from Michael Jai White. Highly recommended. Can you dig it?

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Black Dynamite (15)
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Content updated: 22/10/2017 05:33

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