Sunday, April 21, 2013


Directed by D’Urville Martin.
1975. Rated R, 90 minutes.
Rudy Ray Moore
Lady Reed
West Gale
Jerry Jones
Hy Pyke
Vainus Rackstraw
John Kerry
René Van Clief

Dolemite (Moore) is his name. Effin’ up MFers is his game. Just ask him. Actually, you don’t have to. He freely volunteers this and other pertinent information. If you grew up in a black neighborhood, chances are you've come across the character a number of times since he’s become a popular cult figure in the community. His later years were marked by guest appearances on TV shows such as "Martin" and in music videos by Snoop Dogg and others. Along with the rest of us, Moore even referred to himself as Dolemite. If all of this is news to you just know that the character is a kung-fu fightin’, loud-mouthed, super-lovin’ pimp/comedian who often speaks in rhymes. Imagine if Redd Foxx dressed more outlandishly than Superfly and did most of his act in couplets and there you have it. If that doesn't help then look up Dolemite on YouTube. Go ‘head. I’ll wait, you rat soup eatin’mutha-sucka! I’m paraphrasing him, by the way.

Our saga begins with our hero in jail on some trumped up drug charges. He’s two years into a twenty year bid. However, the warden and some higher ups have noticed that the drug problem in the ‘hood has actually gotten worse since Dolemite has been locked down. They do the only logical thing and release him with the agreement he’ll help them catch his nemesis and the suspected kingpin Willie Green (Martin).

If any of this sounds familiar it’s because a decade or so later this basic premise made Eddie Murphy a superstar with the release of 48 Hrs. Unlike that move, there’s nothing in Dolemite that’s remotely as sensible as, oh say, actually working with the police. Our hero is turned loose and works on his own, mostly. By mostly, I mean there is one FBI Agent who knows why our hero is on the streets. His identity is not known to Dolemite but it’s pretty obvious to us. He’s dressed far more conservatively than any other black person in the movie and always shows up at just the right moment. By work, I mean Dolemite gets busy with the ladies, fights off and/or kills the crooked cops that have been trying to put some bullets in him since two seconds after he walks out of prison, gets busy with some more ladies and reclaims his old nightclub from Willie Green, guerrilla pimp style.

Be honest. At this point you think you’re reading a negative review. Nothing could be farther from the truth. This is the type of delicious awfulness for which I mine the depths of the cinematic abyss. As proof, I offer the fact that I've returned to this movie a handful of times throughout my life. I had to. All the tenets of Blaxploitation are gloriously represented. Wild outfits in garish colors? Check. Pimpin’? Check. Badly choreographedkung-fu fightin’? Check. 70s slang? Check. Gratuitous nudity? Check. Awful acting? Check. Easily spotted stunt doubles? Double check. Visible boom mics? Oh lawdy, yes! Check that box three or four times. There is only one thing left to say. It’s so bad, it’s awesome!

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