A righteous brother in pimp-daddy suits karate chops and .357-Magnum pops "The Man" in his many guises in Black Dynamite. The deliriously spot-on send-up of 1970s "blaxploitation" thrillers of the Shaft-Super Fly school plays tonight and Saturday at the Enzian.
Somebody's messing with the formula to Anaconda malt liquor. A guy named Jimmy has been killed. But Jimmy's brother isn't going to take it lying down — not unless there are three or four women in bed with him, anyway.
"Black Dynamite" (Spawn's Michael Jai White) is a muscle-bound martial artist, a Vietnam vet who leaves his "honky" colleagues at the CIA behind while he takes care of business. Stone-faced and stone-cold, he rolls in with his super-pimped Lincoln, strips off his shirt and gets down to it. White plays this hardcase straight, nary a wink that gives away he's in on the joke. His every entrance is underscored with a musical flourish — "Dy-No-Mite, Dy-No-Mite" — and his fist is always ready with a "Power to the People" salute between punches. No jive turkey standing in his way has a prayer, sucka.
His every move says "Baaaaad," something reinforced by everybody he meets. When "whitey" (Kevin Chapman and co., playing Feds) shows up at his apartment, it's the height of '70s chic.
"Look at this place. You must have an 8-track player in every room."
As he tracks his brother's killer, he makes time to flirt with the equally righteous sister, the neighborhood organizer (Salli Richardson). If only kids would stop coming up to him and saying, "My mom says Black Dynamite's my daddy's name, too. Is that you?"
White and Byron Minns, who plays Bullhorn, co-wrote this. They venture over the top into I'm Gonna Git You Sucka parody in the names of characters — Cream Corn (Tommy Davidson), Afroditey (Deionne Gibson)and Tasty Freeze ( Arsenio Hall).
The plot is nonsensical, the action cheesy in the extreme. The supporting players don't register and the dialog is "Can you dig it?" and its variations. Director Scott Sanders uses corny split-screens and splashy colors, then sprinkles in little blasts of nudity and hints of sex as Black Dynamite chases "Fiendish Dr. Wu" (Roger Yuan) and his minions, or the Mafia. It's parody done with affection and attention to detail.
It aims low, sure. But Black Dynamite is contrived to "keep you tight and outta sight." Can you dig it? Because I sure did.
See for Yourself
Three stars out of four
Cast: Michael Jai White, Salli Richardson, Arsenio Hall, Tommy Davidson, Kevin Chapman
Director: Scott Sanders
Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes
Industry rating: R for sexuality/nudity, language, some violence and drug contentCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times