= Highest Rating
if schlock auteur Ed Wood had directed a '70s "blaxploitation"
flick? He might have made Dolemite.
Nightclub entertainer/pimp/martial artist
Dolemite, wrongly imprisoned by corrupt FBI agents (one, strangely,
with a Ukrainian accent), is sprung from jail on condition he
work undercover for the L.A. police. Crime is spiraling out
of control in Dolemite's 'hood and the authorities think he's
just the man to ferret out the mastermind behind it. Picked
up by a bevy of his girls at the prison gate, Dolemite changes
into some decent threads and immediately begins his street war
against the ruthless Willie Green (D'Urville Martin
— who also directed), local ghetto godfather
and partner in crime with the crooked feds who sent him to the
monument to tacky, amateurish filmmaking at its absolute nadir,
is the hands-down funniest film I've seen in years. It's breathtakingly
and a fun-filled viewing experience precisely because of it.
The acting is jaw-droppingly
bad — the average high school play
is an Olivier stage triumph compared to the non-performances
here. (Moore is so stoned in one scene he looks on the verge
of passing out.) Action? I personally took part in better-choreographed
martial arts sequences when my grade school chums and I used
to play kung fu warriors in the back yard. Then there are the
clothes... Dolemite is a gentleman of unique style to be sure!
And did I mention the incredible number of continuity errors?
It all just adds to the fun.
If you don't
mind cursing (there's a lot of it here), Dolemite
provides sure-fire laughs of the knee-slapping "I can't
believe I just heard/saw that!" variety. Bold, audacious
Rudy Ray Moore has an undeniable screen presence — despite the
fact he cannot act. And if you just don't like blaxploitation
pix, well... you're just a "rat soup eatin' muthafucka!"
as Dolemite would say.
Followed by an even tackier —
though not as fun — sequel, The
Human Tornado (a.k.a. "Dolemite
the movie is available on VHS for 10 bucks (in EP speed), the
DVD's the way to go, y'all. Xenon's digital release of Dolemite
comes with satisfying extras: some hysterical trailers, lyric
transcripts of two of Rudy Ray Moore's most famous nightclub routines,
and a lengthy excerpt from a documentary about Moore and his Dolemite
personae. Picture and sound are generally okay, and the disc retails
for less than 15 bucks. Get down on it!
In March 2002, Xenon released a "new" version of Dolemite
on DVD. The video transfer used for this reissue is the same as
the original, though the packaging artwork has been changed and
the disc features a different slate of bonus features.