The Human Tornado (1976)

Rating: *
Review Date: 5/18/15
Cast: Rudy Ray Moore, Ernie Hudson, cameo by Howard Jackson

The sequel to Rudy Ray Moore's "Dolemite" (1974) is even more outrageous and incomprehensible than the original. When the local sheriff catches his wife in bed with Dolemite (Rudy Ray Moore), he shoots her and frames Dolemite for murder. Dolemite and three of his friends hijack a car and escape to California, where they can crash at Queen Bee's place and keep a low profile. Conveniently, at the exact moment that Dolemite arrives, Bee's nightclub gets shut down by a local mob boss named Joe Cavaletti and two of her girls get kidnapped and held hostage in a bizarre torture chamber outside of town. Disguised as an erotic art dealer, Dolemite seduces some vital information out of Cavaletti's wife and then single-handedly storms the well guarded horror house to free the girls. Once the girls are safe, it's all-out war as Queen Bee and her posse crash Cavaletti's birthday party. Dolemite concocts a fitting punishment for Cavaletti, and has a final showdown against the sheriff who has been chasing him since the beginning of the film.

"Awful" doesn't even begin to describe this forehead slapping cinematic atrocity. While the production values are considerably higher than the original, the content is far worse. The film opens with one of the most apallingly bad credits sequences I've ever seen, accompanied by Rudy's ridiculous attempts at martial arts. This is followed by five excruciating minutes of Rudy's stand-up comedy routine, where he changes outfits no less than three times and tells crude penis jokes while making fun of fat people in the audience. I almost turned it off at that point. There are several other bizarre nightclub acts thrown in at various points in the film, which serve no purpose other than to pad the running time as far as I can tell. There's a fair amount of nudity in the film, and we see far more of Rudy Ray Moore's naked body than anyone needs to. He definitely has a way with the ladies, and the funniest scene in the movie has him going down on a woman, which then quickly cuts away to him voraciously chowing down on a ham sandwich. No subtlety there... Apart from the strange witch in the torture chamber, the most bizarre portion of the film is when Dolemite "hypnotizes" Mrs. Cavaletti and she fantasizes about an erotic encounter with four big, black, naked bodybuilders that crawl out of a tiny box wearing clown makeup, shot in soft focus with superimposed pulsing lights. Wowzers... I'm sure that drugs must have somehow been involved. All I could do was laugh and stare in disbelief.

And then there's the action, if you can call it that. Dolemite's kung fu is laughably pathetic, and made even worse by extreme undercranking and outrageous sound effects. Rudy's absurd martial arts posturing borders on parody, but he takes himself extremely seriously. It's hard to tell if he's actually in on the joke, or if he really believes that he's as much of a bad-ass as his screen persona is. I can easily see Dolemite as an extension of Rudy's ego, which makes everything even stranger than it already is. Karate champion Howard Jackson shows up as himself, and his brief fight scenes are actually pretty entertaining. Additionally, the "Central American Nunchaku Master" is pretty good (he reminded me of Charles Bonet), but he had to dial down his performance in order for Dolemite to beat him. Now if he had gone up against Jackson, that might have been a really good fight. The car chases are also laughably bad and undercranked to the point of absurdity. It's an interesting product of the times, and the pimp culture and outrageous urban fashions are a hoot. It's also quite shocking to hear "nigger" and "motherfucker" casually mixed into just about every other sentence. For genre enthusiasts only.