HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Black Dynamite - Season 1
HTS Overall Score:81
Like most of you who have seen the original “Black Dynamite” live action movie, I was saw it on home video after it gained an incredible cult following. Chronicling the adventures of one Black Dynamite (Michael Jai White), ex CIA agent, turned freelancer and full time ladies’ man, the movie was a ridiculous R-rated spoof on all those 1970’s Blaxploitation films. Ramming its tongue firmly in its own cheek, the film was loaded with guns, knives, fast cars, jive talking side kicks and over the top grind house action it slid its way into film fans hearts everywhere. The film is basically a walking, talking drinking game in the making and has been the center of many such a game (or so I’ve heard).
Now, back in animated form, Michael Jai White dons the mantle of Black Dynamite once more and steps back in the saddle. Here in the show he’s very similar to his live action self, but with a distinctive Adult Swim twist. The language is up there with the first film, but the violence has been toned down quite a bit for a television audience along with the slight change to his personality. In the show, the character tends to take himself a good bit less serious and the show revels in the irreverence. We have episodes where our hero takes a crack at Michael Jackson and the famed “beatings” he took as a child, his alien heritage (come on, we all know Michael Jackson was an Alien!!!), a crack at O.J. Simpson’s famous murder, and even Cannonball run. Nothing is safe here as the creators lampoon just about every black cliche under the sun with old fashioned Jive talking Bullhorn and Cream Corn backing Black Dynamite up.
The episodes hit the ground running as the show has the single greatest episode of the series as its forerunner. I laughed so hard during the first episode I was honestly scared I was going to break a rib and was worried that my body couldn’t take much more of this abuse. When you lampoon Michael Jackson’s troubled youth, his insane fascination with Never Never land and him turning from Black to White over the decades there’s not much to dislike. With such short bursts of 22 minute episodes (without commercials) there isn’t the problem of feeling “strained” as the live action film sometimes felt, trying to stretch the jokes for a full hour and a half. With a loose episodic nature, the show is allowed to fire along at its own pace not worry about making a specific runtime.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went into the series. “Black Dynamite” was an incredibly funny and irreverent film that has stood up to repeated viewings, but usually animated “spinoffs” just don’t seem to live up to the fun or the stature of its creator. I was very pleasantly surprised though, as I laughed myself silly throughout the whole series. It doesn’t take a serialized nature, but keeps itself very self-contained and episodic, lampooning everything it can get its grubby little hands on with sardonic glee. Michael Jai White clearly is having a blast with the role and it shows in his exuberance. We have a ton of voice casting from the original movie coming back, with Jimmy Walker Jr. reprising his role as Roscoe, Tommy Davidson as Cream Corn and Byron Minns as Bullhorn. What makes the show fun is the amount of celebrities lampooned as well as the celebrity voice stars, such as Snoop Dogg, Eddie Griffin, Charley Murphy, J.B. Smooth, Cedric Yarbrough etc. The show is complete and uncensored, housed on a single BD-50 with an Ultraviolet Digital copy for those on the go.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=22634[/img]“Black Dynamite – Season 1” is presented in a very pleasing 1.78:1 VC-1 encode on a single BD-50. That’s a surprising amount of data with 4 hours and 24 minutes of runtime on one disc, but the end result is actually quite good. Colors are fantastic with that 70’s burnt orange and gold coloring coming through the most with lots of purples and deep blues to compliment. Detail is excellent as you can see every digitally created line is smooth as can be with no jaggies or other resolution related problems. The blacks are spot on perfect with great shadow detail and delineation. The only real problem that I could see is a tiny bit of macroblocking in a couple of scenes and what I like to call the Warner animated curse……Banding. Most of the time there’s only a hint of banding, but in some of the darker scenes you really see the banding come across. It’s not as egregious as some of their other discs, but it is noticeable and tends to distract at times. Still, a very clean image that looks fantastic, especially considering how many episodes are on the disc.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=22642[/img]Easily the highlight of the disc, the 5.1 Dolby TrueHD track is a real stunner. With a wide dynamic range and lots of surround usage the track is immersive and dense as all get out. Bullets and ninja attacks explode from all directions and the Soul Train jive score is weighty and full of power. LFE shines through with every downbeat and every brutal impact of Black Dynamites fists of fury, with only a few times where I wish there would have been a bit more low end. With it being a TV show I was thoroughly impressed with the mix, as the dialogue is crystal clear and well balanced with the rest of the effects. I usually expect a bit of a front loaded mix for these TV shows, but this one is fully dynamic and about as rich as custard pie. My hat’s off to Warner for this one.
• Episode Commentaries
• Behind the Scenes Featurette
“Black Dynamite” in its animated form is a treat to behold, as it blends the aggressive and adult action and humor of the live action film and sticks its tongue firmly in cheek, never taking itself too seriously. There’s less blood and gore this time around, but it’s definitely been “Adult swimified” so to speak. The wit and humor, mixed with irreverent Blaxploitation language creates a unique blend of animated show that is sure to appeal to those who saw the original live action film. It’s definitely not a show you’re going to be showing the kiddies, as it takes a more R-rated flair, but it’s chock full of scathing humor and witty satire for the adults in the room. With good video and simply great audio it’s definitely worth picking up if you’re a fan and if you haven’t seen the show, definitely worth checking out.
Starring: Michael Jai White, Liz Benoit, Jimmy Walker Jr.
Created by: Byron Minns, Scott Sanders, Michael Jai White
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 VC-1
Audio: English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 264 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: July 15th, 2014
Buy Black Dynamite - Season 1 Blu-Ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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