The biggest release of the month is The Expendables, a tribute to eighties action movies, bringing together the greatest action stars of past and present for a 90 minutes of blood and explosions. I did not see this movie. Instead I watched another homage to a long-forgotten genre. In the 70s Blaxploitation films were born, a genre made with the sole intention of getting the black community to part with their money on a regular basis.
It’s a genre very obviously ripe for parody but the art of spoofing is exactly that, an art. It’s far more difficult than you would think, just look at Scary Movie 4, Date Movie, Superhero Movie and whatever other piles of shit they’ve come up with. Those films point at their jokes with massive neon signs, almost threatening to hurt you if you don’t laugh. Black Dynamite plays it deadpan and the results are nothing short of spectacular.
I couldn’t possibly write any more without first applauding the attention to detail put into a film with a budget of around $3 million. Tell someone it’s a film from the seventies and they will believe you. The sets, the colours, the filming techniques and the performances all come together to give it an authentic 1970’s feel. It feels like an undiscovered gem and masterfully plays around with the idea of the audience not knowing if something is intended to be funny. Black Dynamite is a comedy, but if you didn’t know that going in you would be forgiven for thinking you’re laughing at a film without its tongue firmly in its cheek.
Regardless the film is still hilarious thanks mostly to the array of charmingly hammy performances. Everyone is in on the joke and thoroughly enjoying being part of such a wonderfully silly film. Black Dynamite is a film that can’t help but raise a smile. It may not be an everlasting classic but as ways to spend 100 minutes come, you won’t do much better this year.