The Black Dynamite series further chronicles the exploits of the central character, Black Dynamite (voiced by Michael Jai White) -- a 1970s renaissance man with a kung-fu grip -- and his crew. His sidekick extraordinaire is Bullhorn, the brains and cunning that complements Black Dynamite's hard-hittin', bone-crushin' style. Providing comic relief on the mean streets is Cream Corn (Tommy Davidson) and classing up the place is the gorgeous Honey Bee (Kym Whitley).
It has been five years since Michael Jai White brought us 'Black Dynamite'. I was one of the fortunate ones to actually see the feature film at a midnight screening before the film was released. Needless to say, I loved every second of it. It paid a loving homage to the blaxploitation films of the 1970s in all of its flaws and strengths. The feature film back in 2009 became an instant cult-classic and molded a following where fans of the movie still quote 'Black Dynamite' today and dress up as their favorite characters for Halloween.
It was rumored that there was going to be a sequel feature film soon after the first movie was released, but that never came to pass. However, Mike Lazzo, the head honcho in charge over at Adult Swim for Cartoon Network, picked up the rights, and now we have a ten-episode first season of 'Black Dynamite' that picks up where the film left off and follows Dynamite on a series of hilarious mis-adventures with his posse.
Almost everyone from the film has come back to reprise their role in this animated series including Michael Jai White (Black Dynamite), Tommy Davidson (Cream Corn), Byron Minns (Bullhorn), and Kym Whitley (Honeybee). Now I know there were a few of you who didn't like the feature film. And this animated series is more or less the same style as the film, with over-the-top acting, insane and improbable adventures, and even technical camera and prop issues.
But that is what makes 'Black Dynamite' strut its charm down the street with an essence of cool. But where the live action feature film was lacking in technical ability such as cool camera angles and swoops, this animated show makes up for ten fold. It's action packed with some excellent fast animation that keeps you on your toes as well as laughing constantly at the absurd jokes and amazing references. Even if you weren't a fan of the feature film, I'm sure there is something in this very adult animated series that will tickle your fancy. And this show benefits from the very short 22 minute run time for each episode, as it never drags, which many complained the feature film did five years ago.
If you thought the feature film was insane where Black Dynamite battled ninjas on Kung-Fu Island and fought President Richard "Tricky Dick" Nixon, then prepare yourself for this TV show, because it amps up the hilarity and absurdity to eleven. Some of the adventures you can expect to go on with Dynamite include an alien disguised as Michael Jackson who is trying to destroy the world, a drugged out Richard Pryor who is trying to make it to his biggest stand up show, O.J. Simpson and Black Dynamite traveling to space, fighting a horde of Isaac Washington ('The Love Boat') robots, a pornography conspiracy, deadly puppets, a harsh Vietnam flashback, a fat Elvis Presley accident in the vein of 'Weekend at Bernies', a talking car named Eartha K.I.T.T., and a spoof on King Kong that will have you laughing for days.
No matter what the adventure is with Black Dynamite and his rag-tag team of helpers, you can always bet you'll receive a treasure trove of bloody animated violence, bad language, sex scenes, and over-the-top jokes to entertain you for a few hours. It was also leave you wanting more episodes, which you can expect later this year with a brand new second season.
'Black Dynamite' Season One comes with an impressive 1080p HD transfer presented in 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The series as a whole has a vibe and feel that it was made in the 70s, but with the technical capabilities of today's world. There is a warm glow to the image with a very saturated color palette of browns, oranges, yellows, and reds. This art style is also impressive and simply pops of screen. The animation is very natural and smooth flowing as well.
The black levels are always deep and inky too. There were some small moments of minor banding, but it's nothing to get all up in arms about. This is one of the best looking animated series on television and this Blu-ray captures every lively detail of it. This is an excellent video presentation.
This release comes with a great lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio mix and packs a thrilling punch. This track has some loud action moments often, but also mixes in some of the funny mono sound effects for good measure. You also might notice some audio cues that don't sound right, but were put in intentionally to keep with the low budget blaxploitation films of the 1970s. It's all done flawlessly. The dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand and perfectly situated on the front channel.
If you are having trouble following the rapid fire dialogue or slang terms, you can always switch to the subtitles that follow very well. The sound effects of guns blasting, explosions, fights, and car chases all sound robust and loud and flow from the surrounds. The music of the show is magnificent and it will fully immerse you in that certain mood for 'Black Dynamite'. There were no instances of any pops, cracks, or hissing either. This is an excellent audio presentation.
Audio Commentaries - There are five commentary options on only five of the ten episodes provided. And oddly enough, they only come through as a picture in picture commentary track where you see a wide shot of the cast discussing the making of the show. Michael Jai White, Byron Minns, Tommy Davidson, Carl Jones, and Kym Whitley all provide commentaries and talk about some funny story ideas and recording their voices. The also laugh a lot as they are watching the episodes. But their commentary isn't mixed well with the show's sound and at times is difficult to hear what is being said. That and the picture in picture takes away from the glorious animation of the show.
Black Dynamite Original Pilot (HD, 12 mins.) - Here is the original pilot for the series, which was very short and featured Black Dynamite taking on a gang of puppets. It's pretty funny and worth the watch.
Behind the Scenes Featurette (HD, 10 mins.) - Here is a short look at Michael Jai White and Byron Minns, discussing how they came to make the animated show with Adult Swim and their story ideas. There is a lot of praise going on here, but it's too short to dive into any fun and entertaining details.
'Black Dynamite Season One' is highly entertaining. It made me laugh constantly and talk about it with friends for days. The episodes have a high replay factor as well. The animation style and voice acting are all top notch. The video and audio presentations are outstanding, but the extras are less than average. That being said, this show stands on its own and judging by how great it looks and sounds, this release comes highly recommended.