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It's great having Black Dynamite as part of the Tribeca Film Festival, if for no other reason than that comedies are hard to come by here. And Black Dynamite has nothing on its mind beyond comedy, specifically the kind of laugh-a-minute parody that finds fertile subject matter in something as ridiculous as the blaxploitation films of the 70s.

But while Black Dynamite gets in some hilarious jabs, at everything from the terrible production quality of those movies to over-the-top urban conspiracy theories, it's not really enough to sustain a movie even at just 90 minutes long. A jokey action movie works when there's actual action to back it up, but the fight scenes of Black Dynamite are as much a parody as lines like "I thought I told you honkys from the CIA that Black Dynamite was out of the game." Bad fight scenes are funny, sure, and true to the original genre, but eventually you start hankering for the real thing.

Based on a fairly simple revenge plot-- Black Dynamite wants to kill the gangsters who killed his brother-- Black Dynamite parades through any number of cliches, from the cigar-chomping gangsters to Black Dynamite's crew, which includes a guy who speaks entirely in rhyme. There's also a rote love interest who's trying to keep the children from being addicted to crack cocaine (thanks to the gangsters, of course), and a double-cross or two, most of which can be seen miles in advance.

Michael Jai White, as the titular badass, works hard for every laugh, bearing a manicured Afro, endless variations on the polyester suit, and an impressively sculpted chest. His deadpan demeanor is the best part of the movie, as he goes through increasingly ridiculous situations with a stony face and motives bent toward cold revenge ("I am smiling" he responds at one point through gritted teeth.) One of the best scenes has him leading his entourage to figure out clues to the mystery, sifting through Greek and Roman myths and anagrams with the energy of a freshman English class.

But unless you're seeing Black Dynamite with a slap-happy midnight movie crowd (which really seems like the best way to do it), the film's energy saps about halfway through and leaves you glumly anticipating the next obvious plot point. It's hard to argue, especially after the gleeful Pootie Tang about 10 years ago, that blaxploitation really needs to make a comeback. Black Dynamite, for all its occasional brilliance, is probably the argument needed to put it away for good.