Sundance 2009 Review: Scott Sanders' Black Dynamite
by Alex Billington
January 20, 2009
Hot damn, this was a fuckin' blast! I really don't think there is any better way to describe it. I don't know how Black Dynamite even got in here at Sundance, but it did. And it was one hell of an awesome world premiere experience. I could already tell from the trailer that this was going to be one crazy ass film and it certainly was. Michael Jai White kicks some serious ass and brings us a new cult classic that will earn some of the biggest laughs this entire year. For me especially, Black Dynamite is this year's Hell Ride - another midnight movie that earned my "fuckin' badass" title. Except this one is blaxploitation at its finest.
Black Dynamite tells the story of 1970s African-American action legend Black Dynamite (Michael Jai White). As far as I recall, there isn't any actual coherent story. It's sort of an amalgamation of all the things that make him a badass. Well, actually, when his brother is killed, Black Dynamite sets off to find out who did it. Along the way he discovers that the streets are being overrun with crack and there's a dirty secret behind the new Anaconda malt liquor. Eventually he makes his way from the streets to Kung Fu Island then all the way to the White House. I guess the point is that a film like this doesn't need a rational story.
The film is a hilarious throwback to the blaxploitation films of the 70s like Dolemite. The first 30 minutes of it are some of the funniest I've seen at this fest so far. I don't think I stopped laughing throughout the first half, but after that, things started to slowly die down. By the end, the film had become overly repetitious. The intro to the character was unforgettable, but after we got a good taste of all that, how would they keep up the laughs? Well, that's the problem. Although, I can definitely see Black Dynamite becoming a mainstream hit and that's thanks to Michael Jai White and director Scott Sanders. Can you dig it?
Sundance Rating: 8 out of 10
Reader Feedback - 20 Comments
"For me especially, Black Dynamite is this year's Hell Ride - another midnight movie that earned my "fuckin' badass" title. " So it's a complete mess of a film, which is so bad it actually transcends the 'guilty pleasure' and 'so bad it's good' level of badness into a whole new level which is just plain awful and should never be watched by another human being, ever? And the trailer looked so good 🙁
chrisuk on Jan 20, 2009
Hell Ride was horrible. So the comparison is frightening.
Darunia on Jan 20, 2009
This isn't Hell Ride, that sucked and you could see it a mile away. Anyone that said Hell Ride was good was clouded by the Quentin Tarentino hype. This will be good, I say this with no evidence of coarse, but a strong feeling that I must see this movie because it is going to be something special.
MrSammich on Jan 20, 2009
Alex, Come ON. Hell Ride was mis-directed nonsense. I had great hopes for such a throwback to those great biker movies and road pictures. This was a hot mess full of Larry Bishop trying to suck his own dick and inviting us poor saps along to watch the "fun". I've watched my fair share of shit in my 37 years on this rock and I can tell you with all the fibre in my being that Hell Ride was one of the worst movies I've ever laid eyes on. Such great talented actors reduced to reciting some truly shitty dialogue in a plot that went fucking nowhere and quickly. I think Tarantino must have been in a "purple haze" when he attached his name to this craptacular piece of detritus. Even some fairly hot chicks did nothing to save the pic. I mean, come on, do I really want to watch this douchenozzle trying to bang some hot chick on a bike? What. Life doesn't suck enough? That being said (ahem, FUCK YOU LARRY BISHOP). Ok, THAT being said, Black Dynamite looks badass and I hope when I do eventually lay my eyes on it, it does more for me than Bishop's self-serving shitheap of a movie. Personally, I'd rather watch gnats fuck for 90 minutes. Oh yeah, fuck you Larry Bishop. But I digress....
Derek on Jan 20, 2009
I wish my time spent on Hell Ride could be given back to me.
Stylist Mick on Jan 20, 2009
its ironic...i just watched Hell Ride last night and i am certain and i am stupider because of it. as is mentioned, its a convoluted film riddled with a nonsensical plot and timeline with the actors just rambling off nonsense. Hell Ride was almost worse than Epic Movie...
swisschez on Jan 20, 2009
Hellride is a shitbox. That is all. It was probably the only way a hot chick would let Larry Bishop touch him.
Ak on Jan 20, 2009
Honestly Hellride had the makings for an awesome cult classic....I just can't believe just how horrible it was. Just some of the scenes with the main character and that one skanky chick (which on i know) I bet even Uwe was like "wtf is this crap". Black Dynamite on the other hand, I can't wait for it.
Destroyah on Jan 20, 2009
If Michael Jai White had to choose who he'd rather be remembered for as, Spawn or Black Dynamite, I don't need to enlighten anybody who it'd be
Jaf on Jan 20, 2009
I can't wait for this movie
Dan W on Jan 20, 2009
I'm ashamed that I never saw Hell Ride, but now I think i'll be stoned to death if I do, heh.
L on Jan 20, 2009
Ssssstrike One, Alex. 😛
SS on Jan 20, 2009
BUT... If I understand it correctly, Hell Ride was bad-filmmaking played straight, and Black Dynamite is bad-filmmaking played for laughs. So I can't say Alex may have been totally wrong in making the "bad-film" connection.
SS on Jan 20, 2009
Old 70's movies are just awesome.
Fisherr on Jan 20, 2009
Recreating these movies with the same form will be awesome.
Fisherr on Jan 20, 2009
Well, I liked Hell Ride, but I also didn't see it as a retro to exploitation movies, so whatever... Anyway, in addition to the Black Dynamite, there is another exploitation movie with very accurate recreation of the B movie feel - "Run Bitch! Run!", which is not receiving much publicity, probably because it will be rated R. Anyway, to see the hilarious trailer of "Run Bitch! Run!" look for it on the web, or click on my name to visit my website - I have the trailer there. Cheers.
Nekrosoma on Jan 20, 2009
I Showed my friends the Black Dynamite trailer at work way back when it was first released here on FSN. And all I have to say is my friends and I are already quoting some of the lines (just from the trailer alone)...so if this movie has even just a few more more minutes of funny ass quotable dialogue, then there's nothing to complain about here for me! I'm all in "You Jiiiive Muthah'fuccckkkkaaahhhh!"
Marqwest on Jan 20, 2009
Anyone who liked Hell Ride deserves to be shot in the face. Line them up and I will pull the trigger. And Larry Bishop, I want the $5 and twenty minutes of my life back that you stole from me before I ejected your crap movie from my DVD player.
FilmJustice on Mar 20, 2009
I have not seen Hell Ride so I'm happy about that. Ive seen the trailor to Black Dynamite! I shouldnt be watching this at work but it was hardnot to laugh! And I watched it with no sound! I just liked watching dudes with fros getting kicked in the head!
yomama on Oct 15, 2009
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