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Sundance 2009: Maluquiro Gets A Load Of BLACK DYNAMITE!

Beaks here...

BLACK DYNAMITE, the retro blacksploitation homage/parody from Scott Sanders and Michael Jai White, had its first screening at Sundance last night. Several hours later, Sony Pictures closed a $2 million deal to distribute the film. Was it worth it? AICN reader Maluquiro seems to think so. (Beware of joke spoilers.)

Hey Harry, Quint and gang, I post in the talkbacks as maluquiro. I was lucky enough to get to go to the midnight screening of the faux-blaxploitation film "Black Dynamite." I'm not really sure of the review protocol on the site. Should I starting out all the food i ate before and during the screening? Or should I talk about the movie? I think I'll talk about the movie. If you've seen the trailer to "Black Dynamite" then you know exactly what you're getting before you see the movie. I mean that in the best possible way. This is one of those rare movies that actually lives up to the promise of the trailer. Black Dynamite (the man) is a bad mother- (shut your mouth) who is tired of crack being sold to orphans in his town. He's tough enough to punch a guy through a wall, but sensitive enough to adopt a group of pimpless hookers. He also has a pair of nunchucks. I don't want to get too specific about the action, because most of the gags work so well because they are a surprise. The action is very over-the-top, but I never felt like it went into the "Crank" realm of "look-how-crazy-and-over-the-top-we-are!" That's where the film's real success lies. Remember how Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino spent millions of dollars trying to recreate the feel of the old exploitation movies they loved so much? "Black Dynamite" is, in a lot of ways, what "Grindhouse" could have been. This movie feels like a cheap old seventies movie that was shot in the seventies, sat on a shelf, and then was recut by some jerk who found the footage in a warehouse. The film, for the most part, feels like it was made in the seventies. The costumes and locations feel like they came from a time when vintage was new, which is remarkable for such a low budget film. Even the faces of the actors feel period. This commitment to period detail extends to the actual production values. This movie feels like it was made by the most hilariously inept filmmakers of the seventies. Actors read the stage direction off of cue cards. Sometimes at the end of a scene you can almost hear the director yell cut because the actor goes out of character and looks at the camera. In a shout out to Rudy Ray Moore the boom mike falls into frame as B.D. is giving a dramatic speech. You even hear it hit his afro. It's breaking the fourth wall disguised as incompetence. The danger of a movie like this is that that the joke can get old very quickly. The movie starts out at a quick place, and never really slows down. The jokes are fast enough and inventive enough that movie keeps your interest. Another danger in movies like this that the beginning is so over top that you're bored by the end. The climax to "Black Dynamite" is not disappointing, it actually manages to bring together and top all the crazy stuff that went before it. It kind of addresses the question of why Superman or Captain America never decided to just kill Hitler instead of fighting Nazis, except instead of Berlin B.D. takes the fight to Washington D.C. Black Dynamite takes it all the way to the top. To be honest, there was one missed opportunity. One of the hookers reassures B.D. that they can take care of themselves because they've been training their kung-fu. I'm sorry to say that there is no hooker kung-fu battle in the movie. Black Dynamite does go to Kung-Fu Island though. Thanks! Maluquiro

Kung-Fu Island is supposed to be beautiful this time of year. Most of the reactions I've heard coming out of last night's screening echo Maluquiro's. Let's hope this isn't a Sundance triumph that loses something (or everything) once it screens outside of Park City. (Not for nothing, but that line about the hookers being able to take care of themselves w/ kung-fu is straight out of DOLEMITE. I hope this movie will work for those of us who're exceedingly familiar with Rudy Ray Moore's oeuvre.)

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