TV Review: “Black Dynamite” Season 2 – Can Ya Dig It?

Written by Braden Thournout October 22, 2014

black dynamite

DYNAMITE! DYNAMITE!

 

With the start of season 2 this weekend past, I felt the time was right to talk about “Black Dynamite” again. Being a cartoon entirely about mocking and referencing 70’s pop culture, specifically blaxploitation films, and being on Adult Swim, this show has almost no regard for anything that would pass as politically correct. With past episodes about Elvis Presley, times when OJ Simpson was known for more than writing “If I Did It”, and a literal Race War race to prove who is the ‘superior race’, this show has no qualms about going over the top. It really pays off in the end.

 

Each episode of the show finds Black Dynamite having to face The Man, Richard Nixon, Fiendish Dr Wu, or whatever diabolical plot there is threatening The Community. Season two starts this off on a rather hefty note with the black community bringing back slavery by enslaving white people in reaction to the show “Roots” at the urging of Reverend Al Sharpton during the first ever Black History Month. Black Dynamite, wanting nothing to do with celebrating his race at the say-so of The Man, takes no part in it and provides sombre reflection on the ills of slavery, no matter the race.

“A party just ain’t a party without the tangy zip of Black Dynamite!”

Anyone who is familiar with the film by the same name should take all of this as no surprise, as the film itself was equally absurdist in its parody of the 70’s. The cavalcade of parodied characters such as Captain Kangaroo Pimp and the pimp named Chocolate Giddy-Up, celebrity appearances, and blatant references to events that haven’t happened yet (such as Michael Jackson’s change in appearance or Elvis Presley’s death) really bring the 70’s to life in “Black Dynamite” for better or for worse.

Black Dynamite

Yes, Black Dynamite is kung-fu-ing a giraffe.

 

While “Black Dynamite” is consistently entertaining and on point, one weakness I have noted is its occasional  reliance on references to the film as a punchline. It does not require seeing the film for them to be funny, and other times they are some of my favourite jokes in an episode. For example, Cream Corn refers to the fact he dies in the film. However, sometimes lifting lines directly from the film and expecting that to carry as the joke can seem kind of weak in comparison to some of the more creative ideas the show has, even if they are fantastic lines.

“How many times have I told you cats from the CIA not to come in here and interrupt my kung-fu?!”

On the other hand, the animation for the show has maintained a high quality throughout the series. It is very stylish, and the colour choices really help set the 70’s blaxploitation feel. It holds up especially well during the plentiful and fun high-action scenes “Black Dynamite” provides hand over fist. Because what is the point of excessive and brutal martial arts if it doesn’t look great?

Black Dynamite

A member of Fiendish Dr Wu’s Tang Clan of ninjas

 

I was very happy to see that the core cast from the film for Black Dynamite (Michael Jai White), Bullhorn (Byron Minns), Honey Bee (Kym Whitley), and Cream Corn (Tommy Davidson) all reprise their roles for the show. Black Dynamite ain’t the same cool cat without that voice yelling his kung-fu sound effects or telling it like it is. On top of that, every performance really is well done, including Bullhorn’s constant rhyming, Honey Bee’s bursts of high pitched hysterics, and Cream Corn’s excessive fast talk. Another nice touch is the return of voices for even more minor characters such as Cedric Yarbrough from “Reno 911” returning for his part as the still delightfully named pimp Chocolate Giddy-Up.

“All the ninjas in the world are no match for a couple of decent black folks workin’ together with a plan. And some explosives.”

“Black Dynamite” is an enjoyable piece of satire with some extreme themes, but if you are the kind of person who enjoys a cartoon like “The Boondocks” or movies like the original “Black Dynamite”, then this is a show you shouldn’t miss. It is most certainly not for everyone, what with things like Black Dynamite’s home base being a Whorephanage – a place for orphans and whores -, but I certainly got a good laugh out of it. Season 2 airs Saturday nights on Adult Swim.

My Rating: 8/10

HE'S DYNO-DYNO-DYNAMITE!

HE’S DYNO-DYNO-DYNAMITE!

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About Braden Thournout

Braden is a philosophy student with a love for old cartoons. He can probably tell you more about fictional worlds than the real one.

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