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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > Blaxploitation > Black Dynamite (2009/Sony DVD)

Black Dynamite (2009/Sony DVD)

 

Picture: C+†††† Sound: C+†††† Extras: C+†††† Film: C+

 

 

When you do a spoof, you can play it straight or just be silly about it.When it comes to the Blaxploitation cycle of the 1970s, it can be trickier.Back in 1988, Keenan Ivory Wayans made Iím Gonna Git You Sucka (aka Iímo Get You Sucka) and it was a sort of celebratory fest of the cycle with plenty of cameos and the usual formula story of the tough hero (nearly anti-hero) of the older brother coming back to avenger the death of the younger brother who dies on drugs.Of course, this set up never blames the old brother for leaving the neighborhood to begin with, but thatís another story.Scott Sandersí Black Dynamite (2009) plays the formula (the younger brother is shot to death here) straight and the results are more successful.

 

So successful in fact that it can have the same lag as any other exploitation film, old or new, but this film foregoes the referential cameos for the most part.Instead, Michael Jai White (Blood & Bone, The Dark Knight) is the title character, actually looking like one of the heroes of Blaxploitation (versus Wayans, who was even a few generations away from Carl Weathersí Action Jackson, also 1988) making some of the jokes here more pointed than anything Wayansí film could hope for.

 

Saunder, White and Byron Minns co-wrote the amusing screenplay that takes into consideration that there is a familiarity with the cycle, especially in an era of much more home video than you had in 1988 and that Hip Hop had effectively revived interest in these films (as much as any filmmaker had) so it was not the lost cycle it had been when Wayans had made his film.Part of the problem with Wayans film is that it was his version of Blaxploitation and not all of it.Black Dynamite does not have that limit.Tommy Davidson and Arsenio Hall also star in a film we can definite recommend, as long as you know it is still what it is.

 

The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image is good, but sometimes wants to look bad, while other times, this is just a little softer than it should be for a new production, homage intents or not.The Blu-ray reportedly looks better.The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix purposely mixes monophonic and location-type sounds to imitate the low-budget monophonic sound of 1970s independent films, but surrounds do kick in along with amusing sound effects and some of the music.Still, sound can be towards the screen more than you might expect.Extras include a feature-length Filmmaker/Cast audio commentary tracks, Deleted & Alternate Scenes, a making of featurette and Comic Con launch featurette.

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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