It's the rare occasion that I've watched a movie and thought, "This was made for me." The last time I felt like that was Cory McAbee's The American Astronaut. I got that same feeling from Scott Sanders's Black Dynamite, an inspired homage to the classic Black action films of the 1970s.
Co-written and starring Michael Jai White as the titular explosive hero, White plays his part pitch perfect. He's the swaggering bad-ass former CIA agent with a dead mama and brother. He's out to make things right and becomes embroiled in a fiendish plot that goes from the streets of the ghetto to Kung Fu Island all the way up to the White House, baby. With his killer physique and masterful comedic timing, White deadpans his way through his deliciously ridiculous script with aplomb.
Black Dynamite could have been a cheesefest like earlier attempts to recapture the magic of "blaxploitation" such as Original Gangstas. Rather than trotting out the stars of old, Black Dynamite does well to pay homage to the classics of the canon subtly while telling its own tale. Masterfully weaving in lines from Disco Godfather, The Mack, etc., and scenes inspired by Willie Dynamite, Three The Hard Way, Black Belt Jones, Rudy Ray Moore's The Sensuous Black Man album art, etc.; these things don't call attention to themselves but serve as little gifts to fans of these films.
It goes without saying that I was jumping out of my skin when characters are framed like the classic poster art from Black Shampoo:
Scott Sanders has succeeded in creating a homage that can stand on its own two feet as a deadpan parody and action comedy. Black Dynamite is the best movie I've seen in years. It's out of sight!
Below is an early Black Dynamite preview that utilizes clips from some classic flicks as well as new bits.