BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
Rudy Ray Moore is not an actor. He is not a master of Kung Fu either. He isn't even a pimp but his stand-up comedy took a legendary turn when he adopted the persona of Dolemite and started hilariously rapping and rhyming about sex and violence with a bravado that could not be ignored. Rudy Ray Moore as Dolemite, the baddest motherfucker to ever walk the South Central streets, definitely is deserving of the wonderfully awful Dolemite, a blaxploitation feature film from 1975. He is, after all, "the one that killed Monday whupped Tuesday and put Wednesday in the hospital Called up Thursday to tell Friday not to bury Saturday on Sunday."
Need I say more?
Made at the height of his jive-talking persona's fame, this raunchy flick has everything you could possibly expect from Rudy Ray Moore's explicit stand-up. To Moore's credit, Dolemite – in spite of being a flimsy excuse for a feature flick due to some pretty weak direction - never ever gets old and his flamboyant outfits shame the likes of Liberace AND Cher. I've seen it at least a dozen times in my life and fist-pump my way through it each and every time. It's side-splitting entertainment that (Rudy Ray) Moore-than deserves with this deluxe blu-ray treatment from Vinegar Syndrome.
Dolemite has a chip on his shoulder. Framed for a crime he didn't commit, he's got no time for the Warden's shenanigans and lets that "rat-soup-eatin', insecure honky mutha-FUCKA" know it. His summoning to the ridiculously considerate warden's office; however, is just the news he's been waiting for. Dolemite gets officially sprung from his cell solely in order to prove his own innocence. That's how understanding the warden is.
Starring D'Urville Martin (who also "directed" this hot mess), Jerry Jones, Lady Reed, Hy Pyke, West Gale, and Moore as Dolemite, the movie is about restoring Dolemite's pride and his club, The Total Experience, as he and his all-girl army of Kung Fu assassins take the law into their own hands. They search the streets for the real drug-dealing culprits responsible for the crime he's taken the fall for. Armed with funky raps for everyone including your grandma, Dolemite is on a lyrical revenge mission set upon the streets of Los Angeles.
Completely outrageous and wildly improbable, the low budget film proudly wears its bombastic pimp pride in wide and colorful stripes as – once released from the prison – Dolemite strips down to his whitey tightys on the street corner, chucks his prison-selected suit and tie at the guard outside the prison with a "take these cheap motherfuckers and wipe your ass with them" aside, and lets his ladies ooh and ahh over him while they dress him in his outrageous pimp regalia. He then slips into his ride and proceeds to get his groove on before blazing up the streets and making honkeys dance while shooting at their feet.
That's the territory of this cult favorite. When Dolemite isn't rapping, Moore's line delivery is lazy and hilarious and, as he looks higher than shit in a lot of the scenes, it isn't hard to imagine that everyone else (in front of or behind the camera) is too. The herb is love after all. The martial arts sprinkled throughout the flick from the girls to the gun-smugglers to Dolemite himself aren't convincing either but all of that is part of the movie's hazy-eyed charm.
Dolemite, an everyman type of hero, is the original ghetto superstar. It's time to fuck up some muth-FUCKAS! Ya dig?!
MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 90 mins
Director: D'Urville Martin
Writer: Jerry Jones, Rudy Ray Moore
Cast: Rudy Ray Moore, D'Urville Martin, Jerry Jones
Genre: Action | Comedy
Tagline: The hero of the hip-hop generation.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Yeah, I'm so bad, I kick my own ass twice a day. Shit, you ain't sayin' nothin'!"
Distributor: Dimension Pictures
Release Date: April 26, 1975
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: April 26, 2016
Synopsis: Dolemite is a pimp who was set up by Willie Greene and the cops, who have planted drugs, stolen furs, and guns in his trunk and got him sentenced to 20 years in jail. One day, Queen B and a warden planned to get him out of Jail and get Willie Green and Mitchell busted for what they did to him. However, Dolemite is no stupid man and has a lot of warriors backing him, such as his call girls, who are Karate Experts--and lots more....
Available on Blu-ray - April 26, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD)
Region Encoding: A
Vinegar Syndrome prides itself on restoring cult films. Their release of Dolemite is a great example of their quality of work and is the first in a series of expected Rudy Ray Moore restorations, including Petey Whitestraw and The Human Tornado. Fully restored in 2k from a recently discovered 35mm negative, the 1080p transfer is gloriously gritty with eye-catching details, a nice layer of grain, and solid black levels that add a bit more depth to the picture than ever seen before. It is interesting to note that the film can be viewed in two modes: the intended 1.85:1 widescreen version and an alternate full frame 'boom mic' version which made its way onto home video due to a bootleg release that offers more hilarity to the proceedings than ever intended. Ben Taylor's title song is showcased in the film's original mono 1.0 DTS-HD MA soundtrack, which also supplies clean dialogue and a funky soundtrack so you will need to TURN IT UP.
- There is a new historical commentary track recorded by Rudy Ray Moore's biographer, Mark Murray. It is insightful and adds a bit more depth to the movie than expected but, as he shares his own information, really could have and should have included a moderator to break it up a bit.
Vinegar Syndrome has outdone itself with this release. Loaded with cool extras, including a new making-of documentary by Elijah Drenner and featuring interviews with Moore as well as co-stars Jerry Jones, Lady Reed, John Kerry, cinematographer Nick Von Sternberg, the supplemental items add to the overall greatness of the release. Up first is the making-of documentary, I, Dolemite, which should be required viewing for anyone interested in Moore. The extended interview with Lady Reed is another strong featurette and shows just how awesome of a person she is. Finally, the brief look at the filming locations (most are gone) – which includes the historic Dunbar Hotel – is a nice featurette for those interested in jazz landmarks. There is original artwork and newly commissioned pieces in the packaging, as well.
- I, Dolemite Documentary (24 min)
- Lady Reed Uncut (25 min)
- Locations: Then & Now (2 min)
- Dolemite Theatrical Trailer (3 min)
- The Human Tornado Trailer (3 min)