Monday, November 23, 2009

407) Dolemite (1975) and 411) Black Dynamite (2009)

407) Dolemite (1975) Dir: D'Urville Martin Date Released: July 1975 Date Seen: November 21, 2009 Rating: 0.25/5

411) Black Dynamite (2009) Dir: Scott Sanders Date Released: October 2009 Date Seen: November 22, 2009 Rating: 3.5/5

Of the more notorious entries in the established canon of blaxtaploitation films, Dolemite is certainly one of the most memorably stilted. Starring and featuring a story and set decorations provided by stand-up comic Rudy Ray Moore, Dolemite is top-to-bottom inept and soaked through with stale cheese. The jokes in the film preen with empty-headed pride in the titular hero's blackness and Moore is anti-charisma personified (Check out that hat! Pimptacular!). That's what makes Black Dynamite, a spoof of Dolemite's overbearing, cooler-than-thou "Man on the Street" type ghetto hero, such a minor victory. Taking down a film directed and starring a guy named D'Urville Martin doesn't exactly require much grey matter. All you have to do to achieve moderate success is exploit the genre's logical underpinnings and magnify their inanities a bit. Doing that without more than a cursory consideration of the genre's place in history is just too easy, making the film's jokes way too proud of their own airheadedness. Black Dynamite's biggest success however has to be star and co-writer Michael Jai White's expertly timed delivery. His performance is a perfect send-up of Moore's dim-bulb libido-fueled muscle man, I mean, brutha. Wonder what he'll do next.

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