Thursday, March 14, 2013


Since I created Black Lightning in 1976 in a partnership deal with
DC Comics, there has been sporadic interest in taking my creation
into other entertainment venues.  Lorimar optioned the character for
a possible live-action TV series, but, as it was part of the same
soulless corporation that owns DC, Lorimar got the bargain rate on
the option. I got a few hundred dollars in the pitiful deal.

Over the years, I’ve been contacted by a number of movie producers,
most of them legitimate, who wanted me to work with them on Black
Lightning projects.  They thought I owned the character outright.
When I told them they would have to deal with DC, most thought that
wouldn’t be a problem.  Invariably, they would come back to me and
tell me “those folks are insane.”  They weren’t telling me anything
I didn’t already know.

A couple years back, when someone told me a Black Lightning movie
had been made, I thought they were having me on.  Which they were.
There was a Black Lightning movie.  Except it wasn’t about the hero
I’d created for the comic books.  It was about a Russian vigilante
with a flying car.  Okay, this I had to see.

Courtesy of the wonderful Clevnet library system, of which my local
library is a member, I was able to get and watch Black Lightning.
The Russian Black Lightning.

Chernaya Molniya (2009) is the Russian title for this entertaining
super-hero movie.  It was directed by Alexandr Voitinsky and Dmitry
Kiseliov, and produced by Timur Bekmambetov. My spell checker just

The hero of the film is Dmitry Maykov (played by Grigori Dobrigin).
He’s a college student and he’s pretty much a Russian Peter Parker.
His hard-working father is a tram driver who frequently helps out
people just because it’s the right thing to do.  His mother seems
to work as well and he has a young sister.  Their means are modest,
but you can feel the love.

At school, Dimi falls for new student Nastya (Ekaterina Vilkova) as
soon as he lays eyes on the blonde beauty.  Unfortunately, his best
friend Max (Ivan Zhidkov) also falls for Nastya and, unlike Dimi,
Max has money and a Mercedes.

Dimi learns from his excited sister that their parents are giving
him a car for his birthday.  His own excitement is dulled when he
sees the car: a black 1966 GAZ 21 Volga. 

What neither Dimi nor his parents know is that the car was salvaged
from a defunct secret government laboratory and that the vehicle is
capable of rocket-powered flight.  He also doesn’t know really evil
billionaire Viktor Kuptsov (Viktor Verzhbitsky) has been searching
for the car, planning to use its engine to power a huge drill.  Kuptsov
wants the enormous diamonds that are deep under the foundations of
Moscow and isn’t at all concerned that drilling for them will destroy
the city and millions of its citizens. 

In one of those comic-book coincidences we all love, Kuptsov gives
a lecture at Dimi’s university.  He imparts his Ayn Rand-like credo
of “I’ve got mine, Jack!” to Dimi and the young man unfortunately
takes it to heart.

When Demi learns his “Black Lightning” car can fly, he chooses to
use it to make money delivering flowers faster than any competing
drivers.  The thought of using it to help people never crosses his
mind.  Though no one else knows what the vehicle can do, Demi’s new
cold attitude creates a rift between him and his father.

And that’s all the specific plot details you’re going to get from
me.  Things change for Dimi in tragic fashion and that changes how
he uses “Black Lightning.” His new direction doesn’t change all the
other problems he has in his life.  All it does is bring him to the
attention of Kuptsov. 

Flying car, flying car, does whatever a flying car can...

I had a blast watching this movie.  The special effects are pretty
good without dominating the story.  The acting - I watched this in
the original Russian with English subtitles - is terrific.  After
watching it, I ordered the Blu-ray version.  This is a movie I’ll
be sharing with family and friends.

Black Lightning may not be my Black Lightning, but it has the heart
of a true super-hero. I recommend it highly.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2013 Tony Isabella