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BLACK DYNAMITE ($35) is a knowing and near perfect satirical homage to Blaxploitation cinema of the1970’s that will be enjoyed by anyone familiar with that particular film genre. Co-written by the film’s star Michael Jai White, the screenplay for BLACK DYNAMITE combines elements from almost every Blaxploitation classic one can think of and tells a story of murder driven revenge, set amongst the backdrop of drug lords battling it out on the mean streets, which all leads back to a government conspiracy involving "The Man" and the new way he has found to keep The Brothers down.

Armed with Vietnam, CIA and kung fu fighting skills, Black Dynamite (Michael Jai White) is the right man for every job, which is what he needs to be after learning that his younger brother has been murdered. Taking his investigation to the streets, Black Dynamite works his way up the food chain from the petty drug dealers to the drug lords and finally to the upper ranks of the government, where he finds that a newly popular brand of malt liquor has been tainted with an addictive drug that has an insidious side effect.

Sure, the plot of BLACK DYNAMITE certainly becomes more and more ridiculous, as the film progresses. However, the filmmakers’ meticulous reverence to the trappings of Blaxploitation cinema holds it all together, and makes the film even more hilarious by virtue of its own convictions. Heck, without its comic elements, and familiar faces to date this as a modern production, one would swear that BLACK DYNAMITE was a film produced during the Blaxploitation era. The cast of BLACK DYNAMITE also features Arsenio Hall, Tommy Davidson, Obba Babatunde, Kevin Chapman, Richard Edson, Darrel Heath, Buddy Lewis, Brian McKnight, Byron Minns, James McManus, Phil Morris, Miguel A. Núñez Jr., Salli Richardson, Tucker Smallwood, John Salley, Chris Spencer, Mike Starr, Kym Whitley, Mykelti Williamson, Bokeem Woodbine, Cedric Yarbrough and Roger Yuan.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made BLACK DYNAMITE available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. BLACK DYNAMITE features a terrific 1080p presentation that faithfully recreates the movie’s intended look- that of an early 1970’s Blaxploitation film. To achieve a high contrast, high saturation look, which also produces the required level of graininess, BLACK DYNAMITE was shot on Super 16 Color Reversal Kodak film stock. In every respect, the picture quality is dead on, all the way down to a slightly diminished level of fine detail and the slightly sallow shifts in the colors - it is all just perfectly reproduces the look a vintage Blaxploitation film. Heck, even the inter-cut bits of stock footage are right on the money, and add the perfect level of production value cheapness to the movie. Blacks appear deep, while the whites maintain their stability. The film elements from which BLACK DYNAMITE has been mastered contain some intentional blemishes.

BLACK DYNAMITE is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. The sound design has been given a modest spread to the outlying channels, which never draws too much attention to itself and maintains the illusion of a vintage Blaxploitation film. However, the lossless encode does make to most of the film’s funky music, which sounds terrific. Additionally, the bass channel augments the music quite nicely, without too much fuss. Dialogue is cleanly reproduced and easy to understand. No other language tracks have been included on the disc, but English and French subtitles are provided.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc’s interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some extras. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with director/co-writer Scott Sanders and actors/co-writers Michael Jai White and Byron Minns. Featurettes and other programs include the following: Lighting The Fuse (twenty three minutes), The 70's: Back In Action (fourteen minutes) and Comic Con Experience (eighteen minutes). Deleted Scenes close out the standard extras. BLACK DYNAMITE is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player). Sony’s MovieIQ feature is available through BD-Live, which provides the viewer access to a continuously updated database of additional information about the film, its cast, crew and soundtrack, as well as other trivia.

As I stated above, BLACK DYNAMITE is a near perfect satirical homage to Blaxploitation cinema of the1970’s. Faithfully recreating the look of the era, the Blu-ray version of BLACK DYNAMITE is outta sight! Recommended.



Black Dynamite [Blu-ray] (2009)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2010 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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