It all began when actor Michael Jai White ("Spawn", "The Dark Knight", "The Underground Bounty Hunter") was listening to "Superbad" by James Brown on his iPod and suddenly he came up with an idea to have a film spoofing '70s blaxpoitation films (1970's exploitation films targeting urban Black audiences). White got together with a few friends and began taking photos of himself in '70s outfits and hooked up with director Scott Sanders ("Thick as Thieves") and their friend and fellow actor Byron Minns ("Undisputed", "South Central") to help craft "Black Dynamite".
The low budget independent film was screened at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and was picked up by Sony Worldwide Acquisitions for distribution and now is being released on Blu-ray and DVD.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
"Black Dynamite" is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1). What the film does well is capturing the look of a 70's film by shooting via 16mm color reversal which brought in more grain and contrast. Blacks are deep and gave the film an older look. Thus when combining 70's classic footage (such as scenes from "Charlies Angels", "Swat", etc.) from the Sony Library, it works with this film. The grain is intentional and so the colors are definitely not natural but it works for this film as yellows and brown colors definitely stick out and blacks are much deeper. Also, the Blu-ray manages to capture the detail of the clothing, the hair, the hardware, the walls and surfaces. It's a very cool looking film on Blu-ray.
As for the lossless audio presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, again...I was very surprised and impressed by the audio. It helps when they brought in Adrian Younge, a musician who still plays 70's music and brought in that 70's style of feel for the film. Dialogue is clear through the center channels, music and action come on strong as well. There are many action scenes from fighting to car chases, car explosions, gun shots, especially near the end of the film that takes advantage of the surround channels.
I suppose for a low budget independent film, I was not expecting too much from the audio. So, to hear the lossless audio being utilized with crystal clear dialogue, music and special effects, I was very pleased with the film's soundtrack!
Subtitles are in English, English SDH and French.
"Black Dynamite" comes with the following special features in standard and high definition with English stereo. Included are:
* Commentary with Director/Co-Writer Scott Sanders, Actor/Co-Writer Michael Jai White and Actor/Co-Writer Byron Minns - A fun and hilarious commentary as the three creators of the film talk about certain scenes and how it came about, what they were trying to achieve and more.
* Deleted and Alternate Scenes - (25:15) Featuring 17 deleted and alternate scenes.
* Lighting the Fuse - (22:48) The making of "Black Dynamite". How the film came to be, the music, the costumes, the look on film and more.
* The 70's Back in Action - (14:13) Michael Jai White, Scott Sanders, cast and crew talk about utilizing styles and lingo from '70s blaxpoitation films in "Black Dynamite" and what they enjoyed about the films and the talents back then.
* The Comic-Con Experience - (18:03) The "Black Dynamite" panel at San Diego Comic Con with Scott Sanders, Byron Minns, Michael Jai White and Salli Richardson Whitifeld.
* Trailers - Trailers for upcoming releases from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
* BD- Live enabled with movieIQ - This BD-Live feature can connect you to real-time information on the cast, music, trivia and more while watching the movie! Also includes an interactive playlist where you can bookmark your favorite songs featured in the film and email yourself a customized playlist! NOTE: You need a profile 2.0 Blu-ray player (that connect online) to access movieIQ.
At first, I was a bit skeptical about "Black Dynamite" but after watching the film, I can tell you that I absolutely enjoyed this film.
The storyline spoofs '70s blaxpoitation and Kung-Fu films but where a lot of those films back then were cheesy and were being pumped out like crazy because they were what was making money for the film companies during that time, "Black Dynamite" manages to capture the good from those films and make it a hilarious, action/comedy film. What makes this film work is the costume design, the afro's, the slang, the jive talk, utilizing '70s footage, along with finding homes that still have maintained the '70s look (yes, shag carpets and all) and of course, the use of '70s style funk and soul music. For characters, you got the jive-talking pimps, the militants, the crooked cops and politicians, the whores, the drug dealers...all integral to the film with dialogue filled with'70s expletives and ethnic slurs. An obvious nod to "Shaft", "Superfly", "The Mack", "Return of the Dragon" and "Foxy Brown" and other films and the talents of that era.
Just a tremendous job by the filmmakers and performances that worked for this film. The fact that it was done for under $3 million is quite impressive!
From the naked women, to the militant and his men armed with machine guns, the talent made this film quite believable as if it was a '70s film. The choice by director Scott Sanders to use the Super 16 Color Reversal film stock was a perfect choice as the film literally looks and feels like like a '70s film. For a low budget independent film, the Blu-ray manages to enhance the look and feel of this film as you can see a good amount of grain and the colors are just vibrant. Audio quality from the dialogue, music and the special effects are well-done and also a good amount of special features are included as well.
If there was one thing that I felt wasn't impressive was the studio's handling of the distribution for the film for its theatrical release. There have been a lot of small, absolutely dumb comedy films that have received decent screenings across America and for once, we have a creative and enjoyable African American comedy film written and directed by African-Americans with a multi-ethnic cast and a film that has received positive reviews from film critics but yet it received a very limited screening nationwide. Definitely not cool. But fortunately we get a solid Blu-ray release for "Black Dynamite" and if you have any interest in this film, I can easily recommend this film to be included in your collection.
"Black Dynamite" is a film that just makes you laugh from beginning to end. For those with familiarity with blaxpoitation and even old Kung-Fu films, you can't help but be amused and impressed by what the filmmakers were able to accomplish. Even for those who aren't familiar with the films back then, there are enough jokes that viewers can still enjoy. It's a well-crafted, very creative film that is worth checking out and worth owning, especially if you enjoy comedy films. And yes, I am hoping that there is a sequel.
"Black Dynamite" is a solid Blu-ray release and definitely recommended!