title: BLACK DYNAMITE
cast: Michael Jai White
In my interview with actress Gloria Hendry, who co-starred in classic Blaxploitation films BLACK BELT JONES, BLACK CAESAR, HELL UP IN HARLEM, ACROSS 110th STREET, and SLAUGHTER’S BIG RIPOFF, she said the demise of that particular genre, immensely popular in the early seventies and putting talented African American actors and actresses to work, had to do with groups that felt Blaxplotation films catered to, and lionized, clichéd stereotypes of the black community. Well here, thirty years later, a movie pokes fun at these traits more than celebrates them. Blaxploitations were low-budget movies that wielded quick zooms and shaky-camera techniques, funky music and piles of melodrama, and not a second goes by in BLACK DYNAMITE that we’re reminded of these particularities: the actors go overboard on purpose, as does the music while the camera struggles to zero in on the action or characters. Musclebound hero Michael Jai White looks great in the role, and there are times, especially during the karate scenes as he takes down every goon in his path… seeking the bad guys who killed his little brother in a drug deal… that it could have easily turned into a genuine action film instead of grasping too tight on the parody template. What the audience, and especially the underrated Michael Jai White, truly deserved was what Quentin Tarantino provided with JACKIE BROWN: a loving homage to the works of groundbreaking directors like Jack Hill and Larry Cohen… and blaxpl-icons like Pam Grier, Fred Williamson, Jim Kelly and Jim Brown… instead of an overlong comedy skit that tries too hard for laughs, forgetting what those movies were really about: great actors, great music, great action, and creative storylines.The bottom line is: BLACK DYNAMITE is a movie that doesn't have a real identity... It's not funny enough to be an AIRPLANE or NAKED GUN, and not interesting enough to be a TRUCK TURNER or... you name it.