By far, the best comedy to have come out in the past decade. Black Dynamite shines as a film that mocks classic 70’s black exploitation (blaxploitation) movies, but it does so in a way that doesn’t make mean-spirited jests at such a genre. Rather, Black Dynamite simply uses the blaxploitation medium as a mask to bring forth a hilarious story that works in such a setting.
Only in a film released in 2009 can you get a seriously funny plot about the life of a man known as Black Dynamite who is a crime-fighting, off the rails ex-police detective. The story sees him searching for justice when his younger brother is killed, but instead leads into an entirely different journey that you wouldn’t have seen coming. Without giving anything else away, it is so much better if you go into seeing this film without knowing anything because you’ll love all the laughs that come with the surprises of the story. But if you do want to know what kind of movie you’re walking into, the film’s trailer alone is hilarious and still doesn’t reveal much of the laughter that you’ll find after you watch the film.
What makes Black Dynamite so great, is its self-awareness in what it is trying to mimic and parody. By disguising itself as a blaxploitation film, it plays on the characteristics that made those films so cheesy and poorly made, instead of capitalizing on it and turning them into laughs. An aspect of this is the use of intentional filmmaking mistakes. For example, a boom mic that pops into the frame that seems like it was there by accident and is a fault of the film but it’s actually something that was done on purpose by the directors, to both subtly lampoon the B-grade blaxploitation genre and garner up laughs. This extends to moments where the fourth wall is broken, people break characters or even appear to be bad acting.
All of this is done with a sense of self-awareness, knowing full well that they are meant to look bad and be perceived in a hilarious light. This is what gives the potential for a comedy that is self-aware, to be so great if done well, and is something which Black Dynamite has utilized. This is a movie that is not intended to be taken seriously and is willing to poke fun at themselves to add another dynamic to the comedy.
But apart from the meta-like humor, the film is enough to stand alone as a hilarious comedy in its own right. There are plenty of laughs throughout the story and the jokes per minute are at a staggeringly high rate. You could re-watch this film over and over again and pick up on new little nuances that you mightn’t have seen the first time. It’s the quality of the writing that truly adds depth to the quantity of these jokes and is the reason for why you’d want to come back to watch it another time or show it to your friends.
Black Dynamite has a script so good that it outweighs its direction, but it doesn’t matter because both serve each other as much as they need to. Perhaps for some, the silly like nature or the jokes relating to African-American stereotypes aren’t in their ballpark. But this script is so well made, that’s it very difficult not to find yourself quickly swept up in its fun and nonsensical world. There are far too many notable lines of dialogue and memorable catchphrases, that are just worthy enough by themselves to standout as comedy gold in a film and was something I was completely up for.
I got every bit of my hopeful and high expectations from watching the trailer (which almost never happens in other films) and then some. Black Dynamite is almost the perfect comedy to have been made in the last ten years, because of so many different little things the filmmakers have managed to get right. It’s smart, funny and above all just simply entertaining. I can’t wait to see what these guys make next. They currently have a crowdfunding page to acquire funds for their next movie The Outlaw Johnny Black and by the looks of things, I’m already excited about that. So, go see this film and then go help fund their next one because man if these guys aren’t the comic geniuses of modern day cinema, I don’t know who else could come close.