Tag Archives: kung fu

Motherfucking Dolemite

1 Feb

There are few entertainers as diverse and eccentric as Rudy Ray Moore, aka Dolemite. Rudy began as an R&B singer, but after a favorable reception while performing for his fellow servicemen in the Army, he developed a strong comedy routine, mainly based around raunchy one-liners and put downs. X-rated material kept him off television, but Moore developed a strong following, particularly in Black clubs around the country. He released around thirty albums combining music and filthy jokes which were wildly popular. One of his common routines was that his dick was somehow so mind-blowing, women would spontaneously shit when he slid it inside them.

Moore was also an accomplished actor, and was featured in about twenty movies, starring in most of them. Most of his recent features bear no scrutiny, but he was featured in the Insane Clown Posse’s movie Big Money Hustlas as Dolemite for was was the first time in twenty years. Then Moore shit in the Dolemite franchise by making real shitfests like Shaolin Dolemite. Really, when enjoying Dolemite–and you will enjoy Dolemite, I guarantee it–there are three movies to view. The Dolemite Trilogy, I call it, and it is as follows:


1. The Human Tornado, 1976
Mainstream America was introduced to the character of Dolemite in the 1975 movie Dolemite, a fairly serviceable Blaxploitation film about a pimp who gets set up and enacts his revenge. It’s a pretty kick-ass movie, but it doesn’t hold a candle to its sequel, The Human Tornado. The film isn’t easy to describe, the plot is about how Dolemite, while running from a racist cop’s homicide prosecution, saved his friend and club owner Queen Bee from slavery at the hands of a rival club owner, and also rescued her dancers from a torture chamber in Pasadena. That sentence doesn’t do the movie justice, however, really the movie has something for everyone: comedy, action, drama, sex, dancing, music, and even a Brazilian guy with nunchucks. The kung fu fighting is really something to behold, and the soundtrack is absolutely awesome. In fact, Landspeed records re-released it recently, so be sure to pick it up if you like dirty funk music.


2. Petey Wheatstraw, the Devil’s Son-in-Law, 1977
During a vicious lightning storm, a severely pregnant woman gives birth first to a watermelon, and then to a nine year-old boy who attacks the delivering doctor and then pounces on his own father for “stabbing me in my sleep.” And that’s all before the opening credits. Petey Wheatstraw, the Devil’s Son-in-Law is a more plot-heavy movie than The Human Tornado, and follows a similar structure to most three-act plays. Petey Wheatstraw makes a deal with Satan to best the rival comic team of Leroy & Skillet, and then tricks the devil who wants Petey to marry his hideous, demonic daughter. The real devil here is in the details (har har), as Moore showcases some of his best comedy as well as the talents of other Black comics in his circuit. FYI, this soundtrack is pretty fabulous as well.


3. Disco Godfather, 1979
I seem to recall this movie was called The Avenging Disco Godfather when I first saw it around twenty years ago (sigh), but all internet evidence points to the contrary. In any case, Disco Godfather is definitely the most esoteric of The Dolemite Trilogy, and has the most experimental camera work and what could pass for special effects of the three films. It’s about a retired cop who tears up the disco club and the streets, cleaning house of the prolific PCP dealers that got his nephew hooked. Or something like that. All I remember is the last scene, where Rudy Ray Moore is forced to take PCP via a gas mask and endures the longest, most surreal hallucination scene in any movie. It’s worth sitting through for that payoff alone. And the soundtrack? Surprise, it’s fantastic!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 Is Okay

31 Jan

When I was in junior high school, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fever was just beginning. I was a fan of the original independent, black and white comic book by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, and collected the first four trade editions. The crude drawing, violence, and obvious X-Men parody spoke to my restless, half-assed pubescence. Around 1988, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles exploded into the mainstream with a new cartoon series and toy line aimed at much smaller children. Like any good teenager, I summarily rejected the whole franchise and moved on to stealing beer from my father and writing on walls with spray paint.

So I never saw the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, and also missed its sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze. You can’t really blame me, I was sixteen when it came out. If I’d gone to see it, I probably would have spent the whole time in the back of the theater clumsily trying to finger some girl through her stretch pants. The movie featured Vanilla Ice, at the time my mortal enemy in a valorous, single-minded crusade to save hip-hop. And on top of that, it was the mutant turtles with the differently-colored eye masks, not the cool ones with all red eye masks from the original comics (which were in black and white, but the covers were colored.) It never occurred to me to watch this obvious kid’s movie when more dramatic fare like Juice and Jurassic Park was in the theaters.

It was on cable the other day, so I figured I’d give Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze a shot. You know what? It wasn’t half bad. To be sure, it was pandering claptrap, largely designed to sell more Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toys and bedsheets. But if we accept that as a given, then it can be seen as a pretty good bit of pandering claptrap, well-paced and reasonably interesting with some awesome acrobatics that people do entirely ensconced in some very uncomfortable-looking foam rubber costumes.

The plot is not really consequential: an old villain thought dead returns to fuck the turtles up, and they rebuke him while also uncovering their own mutant origins. Hint: it has something to do with the ooze. More impressive are the stunts, some really good high-flying choreography done by people in bulky rubber suits. With shells on the back, to boot! Really, it must be seen to be believed. I vaguely recall the movie reviews making a big deal of the stunts when this film came out, and with good reason. Even the animatronic turtle faces didn’t look too weird. I mean, once you’ve accepted that we should befriend mutated animals, we can forgive the fact that they look a little like Teddy Ruxpin when they talk.


The one weird plot point in the movie, and it isn’t as much a detraction as it is confusing, is the introduction of the kid pictured above. I don’t remember his name, but he was a pizza delivery kid who also knew kung-fu that got needlessly mixed up in the turtles’ shit. I guess he was there so kids would have someone to identify with, but his existence in the film was superfluous and mildly annoying. Even with this weird addition to the cast, the movie was quite enjoyable. I wouldn’t go out of my way or pay anything extra to see it, but if you’re even slightly curious, fear not: you won’t be completely bored.

And you know, it’s been a long time, I no longer give a shit about protecting whatever values I wanted to impose on hip-hop or being a purist about anything. Age gives me that luxury. Here’s Vanilla Ice’s song from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze. Honestly, it’s kind of dope.

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