Monday, July 29, 2013

Black Dynamite Review: Look out, you jive suckas! Black Dynamite's Here!

Taking scenes from current films and goofing them up, parody flicks come off as lazy and, in the long run, forgettable. That's not the case with "Black Dynamite", a slam-bam spoof of the blaxploitation films of the 1970s, that stand on its' own two feet. Holy Mel Brooks and Quentin Tarantino (Both men should watch this film)!

Big, black, sexy,dangerous and sometimes ludicrous is the title hero (Michael Jai White of, "Spawn", The Dark Knight" and an edited scene from "Kill Bill"), an ex-CIA operative who's on the road of revenge when his kid brother's killed for being an undercover snitch (and speaking proper English!).

The crime leads to plots involving drug-addicted orphans (Huh?) and malt liquor that emasculates African-American men (What the?!). Through it all, BD encounters mobsters, dealers, pimps, hustlers, whores, Black Power revolutionaries, corrupt CIA operatives, kung fu assassins and. . . good God. . . a nunchuks-wielding Richard Nixon (Now, why didn't Zack Snyder give his Nixon in "Watchmen" some mad kung fu skills?)!

Unlike previous spoofs of the genre ("I'm Gonna Get You, Sucka!" ,"Undercover Brother" and "Pootie Tang"), "BD" takes place in the 1970s, not only embracing the funky fashions, ambiance and lingo, but also the embarrassing gaffes, miscues and continuity errors that the politically minded, yet Ed Wood-like auteurs blatantly sanctioned in their cine-opuses. A character hits his head against the boom mike. A stuntman's quickly replaced within the reel (!) after getting hit accidentally. Wild, shaking close-ups are aplenty. Exposition is told in song. Supporting players appear out of nowhere! For cine-sticklers, it's a parade of goofs.

A crowd pleaser at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, "BD" is a laugh riot and a half, thanks to the gonzo ace script by White (possibly the next Leslie Nielsen), Byron Minns (who plays a rhyming night club owner, a la the late comic Rudy Ray "Dolemite" Moore, here) and Scott Sanders ("Thick as Thieves" which features White), the film's helmer, who expertly winks at the audience as he stands behind the camera.

Characters actors are dead-on camp: Salli Richardson-Whithead ("Posse", the TV show, "Eureka") is a Black Power revolution dame, who falls for the hero; Mike Starr ("Goodfellas", "Jersey Girl") is a mobster flanked by bikini-clad babes; Phil Morris ("Seinfeld", "The Secret Saturdays") is a revolutionary capo; Mykleti T. Williamson ("Forrest Gump", "Lucky Number Slevin ") is a mean street hustler, comics Arsenio Hall and Cedric Yarborough are tacky clothed pimps; Tommy Davidson ("In Living Color") is a politically incorrect gay man; Roger Yuan (the film's co-stunt choreographer, "Shanghai Noon") as a fiendish kung fu villain and Nicole Sullivan ("Rita Rocks, "The Secret Saturdays") is Tricky Dick's better half, Pat Nixon. Yeah. . .she falls for BD too.

With a $3 million budget, "BD"'s free to be a true parody, needing not to resort to cheap gags. Some might see the flick as unneeded but the animosity towards our current President (Hint! Hint) disproves that. Go see "Black Dynamite". . .unless you're some super, jive-ass sucka!

A cool moment in Rap History

This is where the rap group, A Tribe Called Quest, filmed their video, "Check The Rhyme":