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      Black Dynamite Review

      Black Dynamite poster

      Black Dynamite

      Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

      Fueled by a suspicious, insidious brand of malt liquor called Anaconda, the blaxploitation spoof "Black Dynamite" knows its genre's weak spots, sore spots and aesthetically challenged delights, from the cruddy overlit early-'70s-era interiors to the "Shaft"-ed theme song contributed by composer (and editor) Adrian Younge. Director and co-writer Scott Sanders' comedy reveals an eye for visual detail. I'm still puzzled as to why it's not funnier.

      When you describe certain scenes, such as the nunchucks battle royale between the hero (Michael Jai White, adept with the martial arts, less sure when it comes to straight-faced satire) and Richard Nixon, you think, well, that's funny. And that is funny, especially when the first lady turns into a purring kitten when confronted with Black Dynamite in the flesh. Needless to say this man has no tolerance for injustice, and he is a sex machine with all the chicks.

      The movie's pacing remains discouragingly spotty, however, and too soon the movie runs low on material. It's fun in theory to drop a boom mike into camera view and force an actor to deny its existence, but unless you have the speed and the jokes and the energy to propel the raunch, theory rarely becomes practice. The cast members each act on a different plane of broadness. While White plays it supercool, Tommy Davidson and Arsenio Hall (as Cream Corn and Tasty Freeze, respectively) swing for the fences, without much in the way of a bat.

      Still, there is that nunchucks battle involving Richard Nixon.

      MPAA rating: R (for sexuality/nudity, language, some violence and drug content).

      Running time: 1:28.

      Cast: Michael Jai White (Black Dynamite); Salli Richardson-Whitfield (Gloria); Kym Whitley (Honey Bee); Tommy Davidson (Cream Corn); Arsenio Hall (Tasty Freeze).

      Credits: Directed by Scott Sanders; written by White, Byron Minns and Scott Sanders; produced by Jenny Wiener Steingart and Jon Steingart. An Apparation release.

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