This Months Screening

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Black Dynamite

black dynamite film poster

Black Dynamite failed to light up the box office in 2009, but has since gone on to build a cult following and deservedly so.  

Black Dynamite is a modern spoof like no other. For many, the golden age of film spoofs can be cited between the years 1974 and 1980. Film spoofs had been around for decades before this, but reached something of a zenith during this period, notably through Mel Brooks’ ‘Young Frankenstein’. By the end of the decade, Brooks’ career was overshadowed by Monty Python with ‘Life of Brian’, however, numerous critics agree that the Zucker brothers ‘Airplane’ defined the genre and influenced the rest of this period and beyond. Black Dynamite feels like a throwback to this golden era…


Black Dynamite begins with the death of Dynamites’ bother at the hands of the mafia, singled out for inarticulate use of jive. Meanwhile Black Dynamite (White), a former CIA operative, declares war on drug barons dealing smack to little kids on the streets. Dynamite soon learns of his brother’s death, which leads to a government conspiracy involving malt liquor that points all the way to the top…

As you can probably tell from the synopsis and title of the film, Black Dynamite is a spoof of urban action movies (blaxploitation, if you prefer) of the 1970’s. Much like the majority of 70’s urban action movies, the final explanation behind the conspiracy is hilariously convoluted. Add to this a series of music cues which mimic the actions as they happen on screen and you’re left with one of the funniest features of the last decade. By way of hit rate, the film is painfully funny, but what makes the film work so well (similarly to earlier mentioned ‘Young Frankenstein’) is the clear love for the genre being satirised and parodied. Director Scott Sanders, along with star and writer Michael Jai White, know the material inside out, as Black Dynamite mines everything from Shaft to Disco Godfather. This is a film where, if the volume was turned down, it could easily pass as a proper movie from the era, with little, if any, visual hints telling the audience that it is a 2009 spoof.

Something this funny one does not come around often, if you have the chance to check out Black Dynamite, do so immediately…

Starring: Michael Jai White, Salli Richardson, Arsenio Hall, Kevin Chapman, Tommy Davidson
Director: Scott Sanders
Screenplay by: Michael Jai White, Byron Minns, Scott Sanders
Date released: Ireland 23 October 2009
Genre: Blaxploitation
Duration: 84 min
Official URL:
Reviewed by: Conor Flynn

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