Black Dynamite (2009)

black dynamite poster 2009 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Nails the good, the bad, and the ugly of blaxploitation

Might only connect with fans of the genre who understand the parody

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Black Dynamite

Studio:  ARS Nova

Genre(s):  Comedy/Blaxploitation

Release Date(s):  October 18, 2009

MPAA Rating:  R

black dynamite michael jae white shirtless gun

Don’t mess with Dynamite unless you expect an explosion!!!

Black Dynamite (Michael Jai White) is out for revenge.  His brother Jimmy (Baron Vaughn) was gunned down in cold blood while trying to uncover a secret plot against the black community.  The Vietnam War vet and CIA agent is taking no prisoners as he tries to clean up the drugs and the scum trying to keep the black man down!  When Black Dynamite uncovers Code Kansas, he discovers that his brother’s death could be tied to something much bigger than he ever expected…it could lead right to the White House!

Directed by Scott Sanders, Black Dynamite is a post-modern blaxpoitation action film.  The movie was written by Sanders, White, and Byron Minns and received positive reviews from critics.  It was released at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival.

black dynamite captain kangaroo pimp

I still bet Captain Kangaroo Pimp was behind everything…

Blaxploitation is a really weird genre.  It takes a lot of stereotypes, but it also gave opportunities to a lot of minorities that probably wouldn’t never have existed in mainstream films.  Black Dynamite is a parody of these films, but the parody is so close that it is sometimes easy to forget…and that’s a good thing.

The plot takes all the basic ideas of a blaxploitation film.  You have a highly skilled fighter/soldier avenging his brother against a group of white guys who are trying to bring down African-American culture.  The plot is absurdity and like many action hero plots (regardless if it is blaxploitation), it is crazy that one man can save the world…here, it is ramped up to even having a showdown with President Nixon.

The cast also is challenged.  They must intentionally act poorly, but they can’t make it so poor that it seems like they are bad actors (it has to be apparent that the acting is a spoof).  Michael Jai White nails the performance and has nice back-up with appearances by Salli Richardson Arsenio Hall, Tommy Davidson, and Bokeem Woodbine among others.

black dynamite vs nixon abraham lincoln ghost michael jae white

Abraham Lincoln continues to set people free!

The movie’s acting and story is aided by intentionally bad filming.  You get boom mics in camera, bad edits, jump cuts, and poorly lit scenes.  It is what you’d expect in a blaxploitation film, and once again, the movie connects.

Black Dynamite is a fun comedy that you can watch multiple times.  It has a lot of layered jokes and little nuances that you have to see the movie in repeat viewings to really get them, but being a fan of the blaxploitation genre could be essential to enjoying the film.  The series leaves open the idea of sequels, but as of yet nothing has developed despite having led to an animated series on Cartoon Network and a web series.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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