Movie of the Day – Black Dynamite

Movies are a labor of love, most of the time though, and we as movie lovers have to learn to appreciate the care that goes into making a movie.  Some directors choose to create original movies and wow us with something we have never seen before.  Other directors will take the route of retreading past movies as a directorial style.  There are even certain directors that will pay homage to movies that influenced them in their film making.  Homages in general are a tricky thing for directors to make, since we as a viewer will be familiar with the story and setting, so nothing can honestly take us by surprise.  Homage movies run the risk of also seeming unoriginal to others.  Tarantino has this criticism put on him many times as he takes story elements from numerous genre’s and places them into his movie.  I mean Kill Bill had almost all the elements of Lady Snowblood, but the Tarantino was influenced by the story and added his typical dialogue and flair to the movie.

Homages try and toe this line between parody and send-up of the genre the film maker is wanting to portray.  Often times they fall on the parody side and focus on the ridiculousness that the genre has to offer.  There was a little known cult movie that came out in 2009 that was a loving send-up to the genre of Blaxploitation movies.  You might be familiar with movies like Shaft, Super Fly, Foxy Brown, or maybe Blackula (Black Dracula).  Those films were iconic in the 70s as they part of a slew of films that focused on the black community.  They gave the African-Americans their own story, their own voice and their own heroes to root for when they went to the movies.  Their characters are strong and independent.  They don’t take shit from the man.  Most were even about the political and social climate.  So when a director wants to recreate the look and feel of the era, they will have to walk a fine line as to not upset those that love the genre.

Black Dynamite is about a man named Black Dynamite (Dynamite!) and his involvement in one lean, mean scary scene.  He is thrown into a giant crime ring after his brother is murdered in the harsh streets and must find those that did harm to his brother.  He aims to clean up the streets of the drugs that plagued the local orphans and stop the man from unleashing a drug onto the black community.  Only Black Dynamite can fight and sex his way to stopping the man from hatching his evil plan.

If you aren’t familiar with the Blaxploitation genre, then you are going to miss out on a lot of in-jokes and homages to the way that the movie is made and filmed.  First is the use of the film stock in the movie.  Blaxploitation movies are known for this over-saturated, high contrast look typical of cheap film stock.  The movies of the 70s had low, low budgets and needs to make do with the stock that they had.  So the fact that they used that style of film stock is awesome.  It gets the look and feel of the movie down pat.  Second is the inclusion of a lot of continuity errors.  Those 70s film had a “one take” policy, essentially from the lack of funds and time.  Even with cheap film stock, it still cost money and time to reset a shot and do it again.  So what you see in the movie are weird cuts, repeat of lines, quick cheap stand in characters and even camera equipment in the certain shots. My all time favorite homage nod is when the actors in the movie are reading the stage directions along with their lines.  Pay close attention to the scene where Black Dynamite meets up with the Black militia, you will notice some instances where the actors quietly rehearse lines before they happen.

There are even little touches of anachronisms, such as referring to their hero as a kung-fu master, which most of heroes in the Blaxploitations movies were.  The trailer glamorizes the hero with his $100 suit and $500 car, which are found in a lot of trailers.  The director does an amazing job of including a lot of these small homages into the movie and if you are a fan of the genre, you appreciate the movie even more.

Black Dynamite does this rare thing with homage movies in that they have enough comedy and action to get the general audiences interest, but enough little winks and nods to satisfy film buffs like myself.  The acting is wonderful and hits all the beats of the standard jive talking, cheesy line saying suckas.  Watching all the actors involved in the movie embraced the fun of the genre.  Considering most of the actors are African-American, you can tell they enjoyed doing an honest send-up of a genre they grew up with.

If there is one thing to take away from this article, it is mainly see it.  Even if you don’t appreciate the genre and find it a bit silly, there is a lot of love in recreating the feeling of the era and mimicking the genre.  From the stock film use, to the continuity errors and the comedic one-liners, this is a must.  Even though the movie got a two-week release in theaters, it was destined to greatness on the dvd market, which I bought immediately.  You can currently stream the movie on Netflix so there is no excuse to see this movie.

About Nick
I am just another blogger putting his thoughts into a website. My love is movies so most of my musings will be movie related. I work as an online marketer for an advertising company and when I am not earning a paycheck, I moonlight as a vigilante film blogger.

One Response to Movie of the Day – Black Dynamite

  1. CMrok93 says:

    This one really had me laughing because not once does it take itself too seriously with it’s one-joke premise, and basically tongue-in-cheek style of action. Good Review! Check out mine when you can!

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