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Black Dynamite

Year: 2009
Production Co: ARS Nova
Director: Scott Sanders
Writer: Michael Jai White
Cast: Michael Jai White, Arsenio Hall

A modern rip off of blaxploitation movies from the 70s sounds like a good idea, but I was willing to bet it would have a few funny jokes for the first ten minutes and then fall flat trying to retain the approach it was aiming for.

What a pleasant surprise then to see this film held up its weight all the way through, using a perfectly framed story to throw loving barbs at every trope from the genre and period. The ridiculous upswing in the plot in the late stages, starting with the unwieldy conspiracy the gang work out in the restaurant, was part of the satire rather than the filmmakers (including White as a co-writer) running out of ideas.

Black Dynamite (White) is after his own kind of justice after The Man killed his brother. To get there, he'll have to bring his martial arts expertise, gunplay and skills with the ladies to get his way.

The success of this film is that if you came across it on TV late at night you'd think you'd come across an actual blaxploitation film from the 70s. It doesn't self-censor because of political correctness and has everything from the cheap film stock look to the dodgy stunt work and a priceless moment where Black Dynamite delivers an angry monologue and then his eyes fly all over the room in apparent confusion about his next line.

The jokes aren't just about the film, they're in the film, Flying High style, such as Black's homies being called things like Creamed Corn and Tasty Freeze.

This isn't the sort of exploitation movie Tarantino would bring you, it's much more accessible.

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