"Whenever there's injustice, wrongs to be righted, innocents to be defended, Black Dynamite will be there, delivering ass-whuppings."
"Who the hell is interrupting my kung fu?!"
Black Dynamite is an entirely ridiculous, over-the-top 2009 homage to the Blaxploitation films of The Seventies. Michael Jai White plays the title character, a Vietnam vet and former CIA agent who declares war on all drug dealers when his brother, a CIA informant, turns up murdered by the mob. He soon discovers that the conspiracy goes far beyond the local drug dealers and sets his sights on the masterminds behind the scheme.The animated series premiered on [adult swim] on July 15 2012, with many of the movie's cast reprising their roles.
As Bullhorn would say, "The film as it was just described above, contains tropes that are examples of:"
Anyone Can Die: In the film, all of Dynamite's allies who go with him to Kung Fu Island end up dead.
As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Black Dynamite says he didn't understand the Vietnamese child's "Chinese" last words, saying it sounding like "some kind of cartoon shit." Later, he reveals that he actually does know actual Chinese when talking to Fiendish Dr. Wu.
As You Know: Played for comedy in Black Dynamite's flashback. People helpfully slip their names and ages into their dialogue.
Black Dynamite, when one of the militants confronts him.
Black Dynamite: Listen, sucka. I'm blacker than the ace of spades and more militant than you and your whole damn army put together. While you're out there chantin' at rallies and brow beatin' politicians, I'm takin' out any money-frontin' sucka on a hummer that gets in my way. So I tell you what: when your so-called "revolution" starts, you call me, and I'll be right down front, showin' you how it's done. But until then, you need to shut the fuck up when grown folks is talkin'.
He's even given one from Officer Nancy, the policeman investigating Jimmy's death.
Officer Yancy: My God, men! Do you know what this means!? Do you know whose brother... this ghetto is gonna be turned upside down, I tell you, upside down! The streets are gonna run crimson with the blood of the men responsible for his brother's death. Man I'm speaking of is a veritable one man army and if you get on his bad side, brother, you're done for. Now it's only a matter of time before he finds out and when he does, no matter where he is, get ready gentlemen, because hell's a comin', comin', comin', comin', comin'.
Big Damn Heroes: After BD dispatches almost all of Chicago Wind's goons, the last one remaining points a gun at him, letting Wind escape. Almost right afterwards, Bullhorn appears, knocking the gun out of the minion's hand, giving Dynamite a chance to chase after Chicago.
Bullhorn: Go catch Chicago Wind before he disappears! I'll take care of this gorilla-eatin' goon here.
Brick Joke: After a shootout that ruins his chili and donuts restaurant, Roscoe remarks that the odd combination wasn't working out anyway. Nearly an hour later, Creamed Corn scoffs at a waitress' ridiculous offer of chicken and waffles. Upon hearing this, Roscoe jumps up in the background, shouts "That's IT!" and runs out of the diner.
Cameo: Arsenio Hall, Brian McKnight, Tommy Davidson, Cedric Yarbrough. All the girls shown topless on-screen are real-life porn stars.
And me, that bad Bullhorn (Byron Minns) as Himself, making him a straight example of the trope as well.
Chekhov's Boomerang: An actual bladed boomerang, which returns to the target if it misses the first time. The Fiendish Dr. Wu throws it offscreen to kill Bullhorn, then throws it again at Black Dynamite to distract him twice, giving Fiendish Dr. Wu enough time to flee. Black Dynamite throws it the third time, while offscreen, to have it home in on Fiendish Dr. Wu later on.
Chewing the Scenery: Black Dynamite's tirade when confronting Fiendish Dr. Wu and when Bullhorn dies by his hand.
Deadpan Snarker: Black Dynamite in the hospital after being shot in the shoulder by Raffeli's hitmen.
Black Dynamite: So how's my x-ray?
Black Dynamite's doctor: Well, no fragments. In and out. You're lucky Black Dynamite. Three inches to the left and we wouldn't even be having this conversation!
Black Dynamite: Three inches to the right, it woulda missed my black ass.
Destination Defenestration: If there's a window nearby, it's pretty much a guarantee that Black Dynamite will throw someone through it. Even twelve-year old Black Dynamite!
Disc One Final Boss: O'Leary being the first disc final boss and Fiendish Doctor Wu being the second.
Disproportionate Retribution: Black Dynamite has some anger issues, to put it mildly. 12 year-old Black Dynamite gets mercilessly teased by a few kids for being an orphan. He tosses them out of a window.
Throughout the opening commercial for Anaconda Malt Liquor, Leon St. James is never shown taking a sip, or even raising the bottle to his lips. Clearly, he's not willing to risk the side effects on his love life.
"Is that Anaconda Malt Liquor? The only malt liquor approved by the United States Government?"
The scene with the zodiac love-making positions; the Greek zodiac later plays a role in deciphering the true purpose of Anaconda Malt Liquor.
Black Dynamite swears on the ghost of Abraham Lincoln, who helps him to defeat Richard Nixon. That's what Nixon gets for using John Wilkes Boothe's derringer.
Freudian Excuse: A heroic inversion: The reason why Dynamite jumps at the chance to help out orphans is because he didn't exactly have the best childhood growing up after he became one himself.
Funny Afro: Countless, but Cream Corn's takes the cake, as not only is it gigantic, but it is shaped like a pimp hat.
Gilligan Cut: Cream Corn claims to know nothing about Jimmy's murder, and the movie cuts immediately to Cream Corn held upside-down over the side of a building, offering to tell Black Dynamite what he knows.
Guns Akimbo: Black Dynamite's modus operandi as parachutes down to the White House, laying waste to Secret Service members all the while.
Hidden Depths: Everyone seems to know a great deal about Greek and Roman mythology. And Kansas area codes.
Human Shield: When Gloria and Black Dynamite are ambushed by assassins, the latter uses the mascot of Roscoe's Chili & Donuts as one of these to provide himself cover while he guns down their assailants.
Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Played for comedy. While Black Dynamite is busy recalling a flashback of a child he saw during the Vietnam War, he keeps referring to him as Chinese rather than Vietnamese.
Moral Dissonance: Lampshaded, especially the genre's recurring choice of the hero being a pimp (who aren't generally nice people). Black Dynamite speaks of how he's out to stop drugs from being sold to kill in the neighborhood, before stopping to furiously insult and verbally threaten one of his prostitutes. This is then followed by an awkward silence from everyone present.
Mundane Solution: Nixon tries simply shooting Black Dynamite... but Abe Lincoln kung-fu'd the derringer out of his hands.
In the small amount of screen time he gets, Chicago Wind throws it around quite frequently as a means of insult.
The security guard at the Anaconda Malt Liquor plant is definitely not allowed to use the pejorative "coon", with the militia members striking him in the head every time he does so. Eventually, he slips into a coma with a slur still on his lips.
Nixon's wife, rather than use any particularly offensive term, instead refers to Black Dynamite by the weirdly archaic "moon cricket".
Offhand Backhand: Black Dynamite shoots a Secret Service agent who comes up behind him while assaulting the White House.
Oh Crap: The entire group in the pool hall. They threaten Black Dynamite, and he turns to leave. They start throwing out insults, when Dynamite simply flips the sign and then slides the burglary gate shut. Everyone goes silent. Then the asskicking ensues.
Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: One of the militants does this frequently."The militants turn, startled. This is private... Sarcastically, I am in charge." Much later in the film, he mentions what he's going to do when he goes home: "retire, shows picture..."
Redshirt Army: The militia. Lampshaded by Black Dynamite himself, in response to the previous quote.
Black Dynamite: If you were in charge, you might as well surrender to whitey right now cause your survival skills ain't worth a damn.
Refuge in Audacity: The film. Arguably the viral marketing for the film did this too, setting up a fictional charity ("Fight Smack In The Orphanage") and fictional public service announcements across Youtube. One bizarre PSA had Black Dynamite appearing on a fictional 1970's children's show that warned children against drug use. The PSA's title? "Drugs Are Fun".
Real Trailer, Fake Movie: How the movie came to be. The original trailer (made up mostly of scenes from real blaxploitation films combined with a few scenes of original footage) was used to sell the idea to producers.
Shout-Out: The line "Suddenly I'd like to leave your island!" is from Bruce Lee's 1973 film Enter the Dragon. It was said by Williams, another black kung fu guy. Black Dynamite's kiais also sound like Jim Kelly's - the martial artist who played Williams in Enter the Dragon.
"Where is Bucky, and what has he had?" is a direct reference to Rudy Ray Moore's famous line from Avenging Disco Godfather.
Black Dynamite's fight with Fiendish Dr. Wu on Kung Fu Island (and the black spy turtleneck he wears there) is partially a take-off on the climax of That Man Bolt, starring Fred Williamson. The villain is even dispatched with a throwing star - though Bolt merely had it stick in his hand and leave him vulnerable to a shot from behind, whereas BD slices off Wu's entire arm and sets him on fire.
Signature Shot: In every movie Michael Jai White is in, there is always a scene with a mascot being beat up. This movie has the most visible example.
Recreating a 70s car chase would be expensive, but there's plenty of old unused car chases from back then. And editing all that footage together makes for hilarious discontinuities. The same car explodes twice in different scenes, while resembling neither of the two cars that were supposed to explode.
Also used in some battle scenes on Kung Fu Island.
Stunt Casting: In-universe, in the "fake" trailer. Black Dynamite is apparently played by "all-star running back Ferrante Jones", referencing sportsmen-turned-actors Fred Williamson and Jim Brown. "That bad Bullhorn" also appears As Himself.
Stylistic Suck: The film is presented as a shoddy blaxploitation film with 70s-era Values Dissonance and low production values. There's plenty of obvious stock footage, rough edits, bad acting and visible boom mikes.
Teeny Weenie: The gruesome fate of all who drink Anaconda Malt Liquor, as demonstrated by Gunsmoke's cruelly "shrunk Johnson". (The prop shown was fashioned out of a rubber baby pacifier.)
Tempting Fate: Cream Corn's first appearance; he's inside a salon getting his hair done, bragging all about how good of a pimp he is and how nobody better mess with him. Then he turns around, sees BD, and completely freaks out.
Truth Serums: Gunsmoke uses one to make the Anaconda Malt Liquor worker reveal the basic details of Code Kansas.
Villainous Valour: He might be a bad guy, but Richard Nixon still loves his wife and goes ape-shit when she is hurt.
Visible Boom Mic: Intentionally, obviously. Michael Jai White even looks visibly distracted by it.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Certain plot points involving Congressman James, such as him being in league with Raffelli and getting incriminating documents heisted from his office by BD's crew, are only explained fully in deleted scenes. Of course, the somewhat disjointed nature of the final product only makes it feel even more authentically cheesy.