I wanted to end on something light for “Blax History Month”, though I’m still not sure if “light” was Dolemite’s intention. I selected the film because of it’s eccentric star Rudy Ray Moore, one of the strangest yet mostly oddly compelling blaxploitation figures. Moore has this bizarre way of acting where he yells all his lines like a robot practicing to be a human. It’s difficult to tell at times if the former comedian is serious or playing some kind of Any Kaufman-esque joke on everyone. Dolemite is bad but due to the fact that it was made by a former comedian, you have to wonder if that’s part of the joke. On the other hand this could be a comedian trying to make a transition into action and then failing miserably. Either way Dolemite is worth some laughs and has some classic strings of nonsensical dialogue.
Rudy Ray Moore plays Dolemite, an imprisoned pimp who can’t go two minutes without saying, “Muthufucka’”. Dolemite catches a break when the warden and a whorehouse manager Queen Bee (Lady Reed) setup a deal with Dolemite. Framed for drugs, Dolemite is given the opportunity to secure his freedom by busting drug dealer Willie Greean (D’Urville Martin, also the film’s director). The plot makes no sense, it’s like something a kid would come up with at recess if he wanted to play blaxploitation. If Dolemite had any information the police would probably work off of that, not free Dolemite and let him run amok. Once he is released, Dolemite teams up with an army of his hoes and goes around beating the shit out of people. He even makes a guy dance by firing a machine gun at his feet, yeah he definitely shouldn’t be in prison.
I can accept the ridiculousness of the plot considering how low budget the film is. None of the acting is good with Rudy Ray Moore leading the way. The film quality is so-so but if you like boom mics you’ll be happy. And who could forget the fights? Every fight between Dolemite and gang members is so obviously choreographed. They all move so slowly, as if they’re trying as hard as they can to not forget their moves but not actually getting hurt. It’s hilarious, I can’t believe they kept it all in.
A few years back, Michael Jai White made Black Dynamite, a hilarious homage/parody to blaxploitation. Dolemite is the closest I’ve seen to a blaxploitation movie that feels like Black Dynamite. You got the hokey acting, confusing plot, technical errors, I wasn’t aware how on-the-nose Black Dynamite was. Though all in all I did enjoy Dolemite, not because it was good but because it was fun. I ain’t no cynical muthafucka’.