Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Human Tornado

Directed by Cliff Roquemore.
1976. Rated R, 85 minutes.
Cast:
Gloria Delaney
Herb Graham
J. B. Baron
Barbara Gerl
Ernie Hudson
Jimmy Lynch
Jack Kelly
Howard Jackson
Lord Java


Our favorite rhymin’, kung-fu fightin’ pimp is back in this sorta-sequel to Dolemite. By that I mean that even though our hero is the same and a few other characters return there really is no continuity between the two stories. This time around, Dolemite (Moore) is living the straight life. Kinda. He’s a successful comedian, Moore’s real life gig that started his movie career, with a big house on a hill in Alabama. However, aside from rocking the chuckle huts and donating money to help build a boys’ home, he tricks himself out to the local sheriff’s wife. Of course, this is unbeknownst to Sheriff Beatty (Baron). Lo and behold, during one of Dolemite’s sessions with the local first lady which just happens to occur while there’s a celebration going on at Dolemite’s house at the same time, the sheriff shows up with some deputies. All of them have their guns drawn. By the way, from the outside you can barely hear a peep out of these folks. No loud music, no fighting, nothing. So why did the cops show? It’s rather simple really. He doesn't want any black folks having a party in his town. I’m not joking. Anyhoo, imagine his surprise when he walks in on his old lady knowing Dolemite in the biblical sense.




Needless to say, Dolemite makes a daring butt-naked escape from certain death and decides to head back home to Los Angeles with a few of his guys that also got away. Yes, with their clothes on. By the way, this crew includes the man who would go on to a long acting career, most notably playing the only black Ghostbuster, Ernie Hudson. Since this is only his second big-screen role, I guess we owe Dolemite a bit of gratitude. Thank you, Dolemite.
                                                  
Welp, once back in LA, our hero gets another unpleasant surprise. His good friend Queen Bee (Reed) has had her nightclub forcibly shut down by local mobster Cavaletti (Graham) who also makes Queen and all her girls work at his own establishment. He ensures their cooperation by tying two of them up, throwing them in his basement and threatening to kill them. And you just know Sheriff Beatty makes his way to LA at some point. Somewhere in this mad mix is a rather hilarious theme song performed by Mr. Moore himself. Dolemite to the rescue ensues.


Since our hero hasn’t changed since the first movie, whatever he does only comes after some good hot lovin’. And whatever comes after lovin’ includes kung-fu fightin’. There’s also some shootin’ and yellin’ for good measure. New additions for our viewing pleasure include a sadistic witch who messes with the two kidnapped babes through some mild torture amounting to little more than bondage fetish scenes. Here, instead of some middle-aged dude dressed in leather dishing out the punishment it’s an unbelievably wrinkled old lady and some mafia dudes.

Fear not good citizens, there is even more wackiness. Let’s not forget that this is a sequel. By law, as established in Scream, it has to be bigger and badder than its predecessor. This means everything is amplified to nth degree, for better or worse. The best part is we know we’re in for it right from the start. Remember, that butt-naked escape I mentioned? It includes a jump off a balcony about halfway down a very steep hill. Pretty standard action stunt, right? Wrong. Before he even finishes rolling down the incline we get a freeze-frame as he exclaims in a voice-over (paraphrasing) “You MFers don’t think I really jumped. Watch this!” Yup, we get an instant replay. Still, far and away the best new development is in the kung-fu department.  During fights the footage is often sped up a ridiculous rate making all the combatants look like Keystone Kops. If this isn't downright hilarious your funny bone must be broke. This is even better, or worse, or worse-better, than Dolemite. Yes friends, The Human Tornado is so bad it’s awesome!

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