Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dolemite (1975)

Director: D'Urville Martin

Starring: Rudy Ray Moore, D'Urville Martin, Jerry Jones, Lady Reed

More info: IMDb

Tagline: With his All-Girl Army of Kung Fu Killers.

Plot: Sprung from the slammer to help the FBI take down the corrupt cops and fellow gangsters who framed him, Dolemite and his stable of strumpets-turned-kung-fu-killers soon lay waste to the scoundrels.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? Probably not.

#20 on Blaxploiteasin' (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

DOLEMITE is a Blaxploitation classic. On one hand it's an amateurish mess and on the other it's got some truly laugh out loud moments. And that trailer! WOW! How you could not want to see this flick after watching that is a mystery. After watching the movie, it makes you appreciate the trailer even more. See, DOLEMITE has a lot going for it. Because it's so poorly made, it's got that certain level of charm you get when people make a movie with very little money and talent - but they made the movie they wanted to make. You can see that on the screen. I really dig that gumption. Last night I watched it for the third and probably final time.

You also get lots of dull spots that either go on far too long or, more commonplace here, they shouldn't have made it into the film to begin with. There's a scene where Dolemite is confronted by some dues in a parking lot. Rudy Ray Moore suddenly isn't the movie character Dolemite, he's Rudy Ray Moore as Dolemite the stand up comedian. He tells the fellas where he'll be performing next and then placates them with a long rhyming rap about a brother on the Titanic. I guess I'd be OK with this several minute scene if it were, oh, I don't know...FUNNY? Instead it's just a chance to showcase RRM's stand up routine. It happens again near the end when he performs on stage at his club. So is Dolemite a stand up comedian who's also a pimp or is it the other way around? I'm confused.

I guess when it comes down to it, all of that doesn't matter except that they're pretty boring and they bring the picture to a creeping crawl. My memories of this film serve me better (especially when watching the trailer again and again) than the picture itself. I like RRM when he's trying to be a badass. He's a horrible actor when he's not. The acting in this picture is pretty poor but I dig it. I also dig how sloppy the fight choreography is. You could make a drinking game by drinking every time you see a boom mike in the frame. If you were to trim DOLEMITE back by easily a half hour, this would be one outrageously fun picture from start to finish. But what we get is on that is marred by scene after scene I can do without. The memory of DOLEMITE is greater than reality.

The sequel, THE HUMAN TORNADO (1976), fixes that problem by giving you what you want - something they kind of teased in DOLEMITE - more comedy, bad acting, bad film making, action and more outrageous goofiness.


  1. I totally agree. The trailer for this movie is so much better than actually watching the movie. The trailer for The Human Tornado ("Tor-nay-dah!") and Disco Godfather are even better! I haven't seen either of those (yet), but I did see Petey Wheatstraw which was pretty awful (couldn't even finish watching it). By the way, if you like blaxploitation trailers, here's a great compilation that's available to download for free and burn to DVD:

  2. I'm glad you brought that trailer compilation up. It's been a while since I watched it. It's getting fired up tonight along with some Colt 45! Great stuff.