Reviewed by Ken M. Wilson
Rating: 8 Beans
udy Ray Moore is a well-known figure in underground comedy. His low-down, dirty style has surely influenced numerous African-American comics of today. The self-proclaimed Godfather of Rap, Moore has been entertaining people around the globe for over three decades. Fortunately for us, he made the move towards movies in the mid-70s with his rough and ready street character, Dolemite.
"Dolemite" is every BMer's dream when it comes to a blaxploitation movie. Every single trademark of the genre are all here -- out-of-shape guys being drooled upon by topless women, sexism, racism, witty snaps, vulgar comebacks, kick-ass '70s fashion, stereotypes, and of course, more kung-fu than you can shake a chopstick at, you dig?
In this first of a series of two Dolemite films, Moore's character finds himself having been locked away for two years of a twenty year sentece. For what, you may ask? Stolen furs and loads of narcotics, baby... stolen furs and narcotics. Of course, our man Dolemite wouldn't be caught dead with any of that shit, he's the owner (or former owner at this point in the film) of an established night club chock-full of ladies of the evening. Queen Bee (played grippingly well by newcomer Lady Reed) is the madame of sorts who has been begging the warden to release Dolemite because, you guessed it, he is innocent. Apparently Dolemite has been framed by low-down, dirty, rat-suit wearin', jive talkin', mutha fucka Willie Green who, for all intents and purposes, is the chump that is to keep the locals in order for the wicked Mayor. When it becomes apparent to the warden that some corrupt cops may be involved in the whole deal, Dolemite is released in order to bring down Willie and the bad cops.
Back out on the streets, Dolemite finds that Queen Bee has lost his night club to none other than the notorious Willie Green. Fortunately, since she knew that Dolemite would want to reclaim his club once out of prison, Queen Bee took it upon herself to make sure that Dolemite's ladies had been trained in the fine art of kung-fu. The box for the movie tauts them as Dolemite's All-Girl Army of Kung-Fu Killers. What more could a movie fanatic ask for, I ask you.
As you can imagine, the film runs from here with Dolemite remaking his contacts on the outside world, getting his club back, being harrassed by the cops on the take, and gettin' it on with the ladies. Guns and knives don't scare Dolemite who is the possessor of some of the worst karate moves ever known to man. Don't tell that to his victims, however, since they still fly backwards whenever Rudy's chubby old leg swings to deliver a roundhouse kick and clearly misses them by inches. Other intesting things to watch for are the constant appearances of the boom mike in every other scene, the Hamburger Pimp, and Rudy delivering his old stand by routine, The Signifyin' Monkey. "Way down in the jungle deep, the bad ass lion stepped on the signifyin' monkey's feet."
Throughout all of the films dubbed blaxploitation, Dolemite has to be my favorite character. Moore's comedy style is so crass that it is pleasantly welcomed in this reviewer's world. Rarely would a man or woman be allowed to get away with as much sexism and blatant nastiness in a film these days, but back in 1975, Rudy Ray Moore was da bomb. Although this film pales in comparison to the utter cheesiness of his follow-up film, "Dolemite II: The Human Tornado," "Dolemite" is a must for any true fan of the genre.
I give this film a rating of eight Beans, for it was both tedious in stretches and just down right horrible. I loved it.