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Black Dynamite

In recent years, Hollywood has not only looked to its past for new ideas, it’s also began to be brutally honest about its history. This has yielded some great movies, but one you may have missed is Blaxploitation1 parody/homage, Black Dynamite.

Nostalgia works best when it’s done with open eyes. This is doubly true for parody. Black Dynamite is not just a pastiche of the highlights of the Blaxploitation genre, it’s a love poem to a wealth of cinema history that many of us disregard.

The plot of the movie follows the adventures of Black Dynamite, a Vietnam veteran and former CIA agent who cleans up the streets in response to his brother being killed. So far, so clichéd, but then, that’s the point. Dynamite is an excellent martial artist, a genius and of course, a superb lover. As the plot of the movie gets more and more unlikely, Dynamite’s near super-human prowess gets equally ridiculous. This allows the movie to start with a parody of the better examples of the genre and then continue to poke fun at more shoddily produced films that where so popular in the Seventies.

A near perfect parody of the genre

In addition to being genuinely funny, clever and well observed, the attention to detail on the feature is incredible; for a start, its shot on the sort of film they used back in the 70’s. Deliberate continuity errors are made, as anachronisms. If you aren’t into the sort of film , Black Dynamite is parodying, you’ll find it amusing. If you’re a massive nerd who happens to know that Rudy Ray Moore used a red boom mike (and frequently kept it in shot), you’ll be bowled over. 2

At its heart, Black Dynamite is one of those American comedies where they layer the jokes on thick in the hope of making you laugh. The reason it makes you laugh so loud is because though many of the gags will fly straight over your head, the sheer volume of ridiculous, genre driven laughs will crack a smile, even if you’ve never even heard of Shaft.

1: Blaxploitation is a genre of movie that came from the 1970’s. They tend to be set in the USA, and feature a heroic black character (usually a man from the ghettos) fighting corruption on multiple levels, and are typically action-driven crime thrillers like Shaft.
2: Okay, you and the one other person in the world who noticed that. Nerd.

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