Spoofs aren’t easy. They have to be relevant and funny without seeming forced or appearing to try too hard. An over-reliance on one type of joke will quickly turn stale, and leaning too far in the direction of raunchiness or safety is ineffective. An extraordinary majority of modern spoofs fall into one of these traps, which is why coming across an effective one is all the more refreshing.
Black Dynamite follows the titular enforcer and his quest to find out who murdered his brother and stop drugs from being sold on the streets to orphans. Along the way, he fights racism, kung fu treachery, and (SPOILER) an alcoholic drink that makes your dick shrink.
The winning ingredient of Black Dynamite, that special something that makes it a classic, is a powerful dedication to maintaining the style of those crappy, pitifully-budgeted “Blaxploitation” flicks of yesteryear. From botched lines to visible boom mics to actors obviously going out of their way to complete a stage direction, the movie gleefully embraces the conventions of those poorly-directed movies. It goes the extra mile as well, with multiple characters introducing themselves or actors generally just messing something up. It never feels excessive, either; these meta-jokes show up at the right time and don’t overstay their welcome. The fact that only a small handful of the characters seem to be in on the gag makes things even funnier.
The comedic timing here is absolutely perfect. Things feel awkward when they’re supposed to, but never feel too rushed or prolonged. It comes to a head with a ludicrous, brilliantly-scripted “revelation” scene in which the main characters make a series of impossible connections to arrive at the realization of the villains’ master plan.
What really makes Black Dynamite shine however, is how well it holds up under multiple viewings. Many of the “poor filmmaking” gags are so well-hidden that it takes a few times through the film to catch on. It’s a very rewarding flick in that the multitude of inside jokes, subtle jabs and minor filmmaking quirks can be discovered and rediscovered with each viewing. This is truly a rewarding experience, and doubly so for eagle-eyed, trivia-savvy viewers.
Black Dynamite is one of my all-time favorite comedies. The impeccable comedic timing, self-depreciating humor, and batshit ridiculous situations are hilarious. The movie’s innate sense of when to keep the tongue in cheek and when to fly off the rails works better than one could hope, and the laser focus on aping the shoestring-budget Blaxploitation flick is nearly flawless. This is truly a comic gem.
Take a Drink: each time Black Dynamite’s theme song chorus kicks in.
Take a Drink: anytime singing, or sing-talking, is involved.
Take a Drink: when an actor messes up or a filmmaking “rule” is broken.
Take a Drink: whenever someone says “Black Dynamite,” “kung-fu,” “sucka,” “turkey,” or “Anaconda Malt Liquor.”
Take a Drink: every time somebody gets kicked.
Do a Shot: whenever the “dramatic plot twist music” kicks in (you’ll know it when you hear it).