It really sucks to see a really good movie not do well. BLACK DYNAMITE was released last Friday on limited screens. Here in Irvine, the movie has had no business. When I saw that the movie wouldn’t last another week, I had to make an early trip to the theater. I laughed my ass off watching the trailer and I was really looking forward to it. I was running late to see the movie because I didn’t want a front row seat. Luckily when I made it, the previews were still running but there were only 4 people in the theater. I was let down. Everyone that has told to see the film urged me to see it with a big crowd. It’s too bad I will never have that experience but regardless, I had a great time.
BLACK DYNAMITE is simply the best parody action film that has come out since HOT FUZZ and, even though it recently came out, ZOMBIELAND. Everything from seventies blaxploitation films is used in some joke. They even make fun of technicalities in those films such as boom mics being visible to the cameras eye and outtakes being placed in the middle of an action scene.
Michael Jai White is awesome in the leading roll. He IS BLACK DYNAMITE the same way that Jack Black is Po in KUNG FU PANDA. Every scene he is either funny or badass or a combination of the two. The entire movie depends on Michael Jai White making this ridiculousness work and he does nothing short of hitting a home run over the freeway. The supporting cast is also really good at delivering their over the top lines. There is not one person in the movie that takes you out of the seventies vibe just by their appearance.
Scott Sanders did a phenomenal job capturing the essence of seventies cinema. The movie looks fantastically shitty and that really helps with the vibe of the film. I loved the soundtrack. Although there were only 5 people total in the theater, we all laughed our asses off and cheered loudly when we heard the BLACK DYNAMITE theme.
I do have problems with the movie. Although the film nails the look and vibe of a seventies blaxploitation flick, the movie sort of went to far. At first it started out with Black Dynamite cleaning the streets. But then it becomes so over the top halfway through that (while granted it was hilarious) really took me out of the movie, especially when we find out what the malt liquor does. I guess that is the point though. The movie is a straight up parody of those films but it’s also a parody of the kung fu films that came out in that decade. The blend of both those genres works really well but it felt like the movie didn’t know what it wanted to be. On one hand you have the classic blaxploitation film about getting rid of drugs in the community and then you have the over the top movie where a villain tries to rid the world of black people in the most diabolical way possible (which makes for one of the movies best jokes).
Once we get to The White House and the surprise villain, I had no choice but to throw my hands in the air and accept the direction this was going. It’s not that the film goes in the wrong direction. Like I said it just gets so over the top that it’s really fucking funny. It’s just really weird when you’re going along for the ride. I couldn’t adjust to the next scene so fast because it was radically different from what I had seen before. You end up starting out in the streets to all of the sudden ending up on Kung Fu Island. I appreciate random humor but it felt inconsistent.
I am sad that I couldn’t see this one with my friends but once this comes out of BLU-RAY, I’m going to buy the 24 pack and have a good time watching it with them. I did have some serious problems with the movie, but it’s soooooooo funny that I can easily forgive it and except it for that. If you can see this in a packed theater with you’re friends than by all means go because that’s the best way to see it. However, for me it’s that one movie that I really like a lot and I wish I could give it more but it serves better as a RENTAL. Maybe if I saw this with a bigger crowd I would give this a FULL PRICE but in this economy I think you’re better off renting it for $2 instead of spending $10 for one movie ticket especially when it’s difficult to find a big crowd to enjoy it with. It’s that movie you rent and watch with you’re friends while having some beers and I honestly can’t wait to rent the BLU-RAY and share it with everyone I know. I do think it will do much better on DVD/BLU-RAY and give it the chance to become a cult favorite. Hopefully when I see it on that format, I will have a much better experience watching it with close friends.
Rating: HIGH RENTAL