Black Dynamite

Common Sense Media says

Risque, raunchy blaxpoitation is funny but mature.

Age(i)

2
3
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5
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9
10
11
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14
15
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The cartoon relies heavily on extreme stereotypes of urban African-American characters and '70s culture, as well as popular icons like Michael Jackson for laughs. Violence is the only means to an end.

Positive role models

He's hardly a model of propriety, but Black Dynamite does get some points for setting out to clean up his drug- and crime-ridden neighborhood. His violent methods leave a lot to be desired, but they serve their purpose in eliminating the seedier characters. Most of the characters engage in casual sex and other iffy behavior.

Violence

Animated shootings, beatings, torture, and explosions leave victims dead or bruised and bleeding. Martial arts-style fighting with weapons is common, as are death threats and peril.

Sex

Simulated sex under the covers; oral sex is implied. Multiple ladies sleep with a guy at a time. Women flaunt their breasts and butts in skimpy lingerie and drop their panties at the sight of a hot guy (though no top-to-bottom nudity is shown). Men can be seen in the buff with their ample groin areas blurred. Pimping, whoring, and pornography are part of casual conversation, as are references to boobs, balls, and other sensitive body parts.

Language

Pervasive cursing from most characters includes "bitch," "ass," "damn," and "hell." Words like "f--k," "s--t," and "goddamn" are common as well, but they're muted or bleeped.

Consumerism

The cartoon follows a 2009 live-action film of the same name.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Frequent drinking, drug use, and smoking, though, to the show's credit, the habits are often portrayed in an unfavorable light and are associated with the less-appealing characters.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although Black Dynamite is a cartoon, it's definitely not for most teens, thanks to excessive language ("hell," "ass," "damn," and "bitch" are audible; "f--k" and "s--t" are bleeped), sexual content, and prevalent violence. The main character sleeps with multiple women at a time (hanky-panky goes on under the covers, but it's not hard to guess what's happening), another is a known pimp, and the group lives in a place they call "The Whorephanage." There's a lot of partial nudity, with busty, scantily clad women in and out of scenes and full-frontal nudity obscured only by a modesty bar over the groin area. Violence erupts in nearly every scene, leaving victims dead or maimed. Drinking, smoking, and drug use also take place, all within a gratuitously stereotyped urban African-American culture.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

BLACK DYNAMITE is a satirical cartoon set in the 1970s that centers on a slick former CIA agent named Black Dynamite (voiced by Michael Jai White) who, together with his posse, wages war on the nefarious Dr. Wu (Roger Yuan) and his army of ninjas. When they're not stalking their nemesis, Black Dynamite and his inner circle -- including Bullhorn (Byron Minns), Honey Bee (Kym Whitley), and Cream Corn (Tommy Davidson) -- find themselves in outrageous circumstances that often bring them in contact with cultural icons like Richard Pryor and Michael Jackson. The series is a follow-up to the 2009 live-action movie of the same name and features animated versions of many of the original characters.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Irreverent and rampant in stereotypes but undeniably entertaining, the animated version of Black Dynamite ramps up the parodies of the '70s "blaxploitation" films like Shaft as only a cartoon can. Dynamite and his jive-talkin' crew hole up in a hangout "for whores and orphans," they engage in sex with multiple partners, they exact violent justice on anyone they want, and their four-letter language would make saints out of sailors. In other words, they're not the kind of gleaming examples of responsible adulthood you want to present to your kids -- but for its intended adult audience, this over-the-top spoof of the movie genre will have you laughing out loud.

If you're arriving at this cartoon after watching its parent movie, you'll find the plot mostly toes the line set by the original. Because of its decidedly mature content, it's not an age-appropriate choice for most teens, especially if they're not familiar with the films it satirizes. But if yours do tune in, draw their attention to the faint glimmer of sociological value that exists in the racially and socioeconomically charged storyline, which can give way to discussions about race relations, poverty, crime, and drug use.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how a show's style affects the impact of its message. Are cartoons like Black Dynamite less salacious or upsetting than the same content would be in live action? Is there really a market for "grown-up" cartoons?

  • What, if anything, is this show's message? Is it attempting to influence your beliefs or expose you to something new, or is it just for entertainment? Is there value of any kind to anything the characters do or say?

  • Is anything about this show a positive or accurate reflection of the culture it aims to parody? Do you find the content offensive? How would a person's racial background affect how they receive shows like this one?

TV details

This review of Black Dynamite was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old March 12, 2015
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

It's an ok show

Black dynamite has a lot of violence, including stabbings and shootings. It also has a lot of sexual content, but the sensitive parts are censored with a modesty bar or a blur. The language is pretty bad. They use words like hell, damn, bastard, ass, bitch, the N word, and the other swearing like motherf--ker, s--t, and p---y are the only words censored. Viewer discretion is advised for this cartoon.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written by150quail August 31, 2013
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

A lot of bleeped words, but the humor can be quite entertaining.

Black dynamite is show that airs on adult swim. It is known for its bloody action violence, it's persuasive bleeped language and some sexuality. I have to say that there is a bunch of bleeps and the violence is pretty gory. But overall, I think this show is okay for 14+
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Kid, 12 years old November 17, 2012
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

BLACK DYNAMITE: Adult Swim's wildest tribute yet

BLACK DYNAMITE is arguably Adult Swim's most violent, sexual, and profane show yet, as all of these things are highlighted in nearly every episode. Deaths will evoke just as much cringing as its sexual themes, and although censor bleeps and blurs are excessive nothing can wipe that up. It, however, is a very well-fleshed show that makes surprisingly good use of its Afro-American stereotype. But beware--this show makes AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE look like SPONGEBOB.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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