Bad Black

Bad Black ★★★★½

Bad Black is a one-of-a-kind experience. It's totally nutzo, but in the best possible way. It's an action movie from some dudes that live in this slum in Uganda called Wakali (they call their group Wakaliwood). They make their movies for less than $200, but what's great about them is this thing they have called the Video Joker. During the 80s and 90s, they would find bootleg American movies and watch them in the slum (note: slum or ghetto is what they call it; it's not meant to have a derogatory connotation). But no one really spoke English, and movies don't really get subtitled into Swahili often, so they would have someone narrate the movie. The thing is: the person narrating it didn't speak English either, so they would just make shit up as they went along (note: English is much more common in the slums now than it was 20-30 years ago). It became its own kind of performance art, and the VJ is a strictly Ugandan tradition. Since it's so intrinsically tied to their movie experience, all of Wakaliwood's movies have a VJ.

The movie is a loving tribute to the kind of action movies that don't really get made in the US anymore. The self-aware nature of the VJ and the handmade ingenuity of the film's props turns this low-budget lovefest into something truly wonderful and unique.