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  Human Tornado, The No Rat Soup For Him
Year: 1976
Director: Cliff Roquemore
Stars: Rudy Ray Moore, Lady Reed, Jimmy Lynch, Gloria Delaney, Howard Jackson, Lord Java, J.B. Baron, James R. Page, Jerry Jones, Ed Montgomery, Herb Graham, Ernie Hudson, Kathryn Hayes, Barbara Gerl, Peaches Jones, Marie Carter
Genre: Comedy, Action, Thriller, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Dolemite (Rudy Ray Moore) is a nightclub comedian with kung fu skills and a reputation as a ladies' man, and this act goes down very well with the audiences who flock to see him every night, in spite of his tendency to insult that audience for laughs, or maybe because of that. Away from the stage, today he has been at a party but unfortunately for him and his black friends a couple of racist hillbillies happen to catch sight of a few of them having fun and decide to call the cops on them, no matter that they were not breaking the law. The Sheriff (J.B. Baron) arrives presently with a gun-toting posse and they start causing trouble, with the bigoted Sheriff trying to rape one of the young women there until she knees him in the crotch. But then he sees Dolemite...

Or rather, he sees Dolemite in bed with his wife where they have been thoroughly enjoying themselves, and in the confusion his deputy blows her away with his shotgun, though our hero manages to escape naked out of the house and rolls down a hill, whereupon... well, you get the idea, this was eventful to the point of chaos, but for many Moore fans it was a better movie than the one it was a sequel to, the original Dolemite of the previous year that had been popular enough with African-American audiences to generate demand for this follow-up. You could tell that there had been more cash thrown at it, but also that the budget remained not exactly at blockbuster level as it still looked fairly cheap.

Call it cheap and cheerful, because though this was ostensibly a comedy, it was often funny for the wrong reasons as much as it was for the intended ones. Moore had one quality that marked his movies out as extra-special, which was his absolute confidence in himself and his material; not many film stars would have the guts to appear in nude scenes, and not merely sexual ones either as he spends that chase scene in a state of undress. Quite why he thought we would want to see him so depicted was best known to himself, as an Adonis he was not, yet as he was in this persona's own mind you had to admire his chutzpah, and every so often he would land a truly side-splitting line or invent a bit of business to highly amusing effect.

The plot barely mattered, it was simply an excuse to get the jokes, action and naked women (and one topless transsexual who was given a non-judgemental role involving her eventual meting out of ass-kicking, refreshing for the time) onto the screen, but if you were interested, Dolemite and his pals (including future Ghostbuster Ernie Hudson) flee for California, no matter that they already appear to be in California in the first place, as that dastardly Sheriff chases after him falsely claiming he has murdered his wife. They get there by hijacking the car of a homosexual gentleman who is delighted at the arrangement, he’s always wanted to go there, and despite his stereotypical character the other men don't appear adversely hostile to him once they've spent time in his company.

But when they reach their destination, there's more trouble afoot from Mafia boss Cavaletti (Herb Graham) who is threatening one of Dolemite’s associates' nightclubs. Oh, and he's racist and white too, a definite trend in the bad guys, though there is one police Captain who sees through the Sheriff's attempts to arrest Dolemite and tells him where to go (he also can't make a phone call without starting on a sandwich at the same time). Oh, and that preponderance of nightclubs visited appeared to be down to Moore's desire to get his mates from the circuit into his movie, though how happy they would be with about fifteen seconds each was another matter. But it was the details and setpieces that made The Human Tornado what it was, from the elderly torturer who looks like a refugee from H.R. Pufnstuf, Dolemite shagging the location of kidnapped victims out of the boss's daydreaming wife and destroying her bedroom with his potency, the multiple martial arts sequences speeded up to resemble less Enter the Dragon and more The Benny Hill Show... really, this was a feast for the eyes and ears. You couldn't in all honesty call it good, but it was assuredly entertaining. Music by Arthur Wright.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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