Quick Film Guide: Black Dynamite (Scott Sanders, 2009)

Black Dynamite
Directed by Scott Sanders

Black Dynamite is a former CIA-man turned kung-fu-fighting gangster, who wages a war against “the man” that takes him all the way to the White House – of Honky House – to avenge his brother’s death and protect his black neighborhood.

Scott Sanders’ film is more than a mere tribute to blaxploitation, though its devil-in-the detail care, 35mm photography and even its funky soundtrack flatter its tradition. It is also a modern black reclamation of this ’70s subgenre that, despite its cult appeal, was defined by a disproportionate stereotypical representation of black Americans.

All elements of Black Dynamite are deliberately familiar; the film is both a kickass action film and a hilarious parody. Characters, storyline and situations from various ’70s flicks are mashed up into a densely rich romp and turn to gold in the hands of Sanders and co-writers Byron Minns and Michael Jai White. The latter also stars in the film’s title role, arguably the most memorable of his career.

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