Black Dynamite (Scott Sanders, 2009) This is the film that won the coveted "Golden Space Needle Award"* at the Seattle International Film Festival. I don't go to film festivals because I find them snooty, but one nice thing about the Seattle Awards, they're not afraid to give their top award to a comedy, making them ever so less pretentious than the Oscars.
It is hard to argue with the choice. This is a damned funny send-up of the whole blaxploitation era of the early 70's—something pretty easy to "send up," actually, but hard to do well (for example, as much as I love the late Leslie Nielsen and his series of "Naked Gun" films, more often than not, they'd veer off from sending up the tv-police procedurals, and grab as many jokes from far-afield sources as they could). Black Dynamite, however, nails the genre and its eccentricities, reveling in its own cheap-jack production values (mirroring the budgetary constraints on those films), the limited acting ("Who's in charge here?" "Sarcasticly, I'm in charge."), and the weak plotting that went along with them. Sanders and co-scenarist/star Michael Jai White spent $500 to make an 8mm trailer to get funding (which quickly happened), and used the money to write a cracker-jack script (in three weeks, with Byron Minns) true to the film-era, skewering it with zealous affection, and filmed in glorious 16mm.
In so doing, it also manages to be a great satire by following its over-the-top scenario hunting for "The Man" responsible for a nation-wide assault on the black libido and tracing it to an outlandish (and apt) end-point. Raw (in all senses of the term), raucous, and equal parts poking fun and revelling in its jones for all things blaxploitation ("Ain't nothin' in the world get Black Dynamite more mad than some jive ass sucka dealin' smack to the kids!"), Black Dynamite is a cackling joy to watch. That it is being turned into a Cartoon Network adult animation is good news, insuring that the legend of Black Dynamite will keep on turning, just as sure as the Earth. "And it's gonna keep right on turning right along with it. Until this little planet rotates off its axis as a result of it's core overheating and explodes into cosmic dust!"
Can you dig that?
Happy Birthday, Sister, from your bruthah!