Bitch, Are You For Real?!: A Look At Rudy Ray Moore's The Human Tornado
Article by Aaron Haughton
Long before we got The Human Centipede, Rudy Ray Moore gave us the hilarious sequel to Dolemite, The Human Tornado. The film is an unruly, ribald cyclone of satiric blaxploitation hilarity, full of cheesy karate action, campy thrills, proto-rap, and hilarious one-liners that only Rudy Ray Moore is capable of delivering with his distinct holler that clearly inspired the likes of Mr. T. The sequel lacks a bit of blissful looseness of its predecessor, but manages to be a better film in every respect. Without a doubt, it's the most essential of the Dolemite films.
After coming off a successful comedy tour, Dolemite (Rudy Ray Moore) throws a get-together at his mansion. The party is quickly crashed by bigoted police officers, who find out that the Sheriff's wife is offering Dolemite money for sexual services. When the sheriff catches them red handed, he shoots and kills his wife and pins the murder on Dolemite. Dolemite and company hightail it to California to hide out at Queen Bee's joint, where they find out that the local mob boss has kidnapped two of Queen Bee's girls, forcing her to close her business and work for him. Dolemite then set out on a mission to rescue Queen Bee and her girls, as well as teach his racist ass enemies a lesson all while being chased by the sheriff.
The Human Tornado is a film that doesn't take itself too seriously and wants to have a good time. There are false notes and flat chords sprinkled throughout, but the film never pretends to be something it's not, and it definitely isn't afraid to embrace the weird. Adorned with surrealist flourishes, instant replay footage, high speed karate fights, loads of hysterical over—and under—acting, and a scene where a character literally has sex so well that he causes the roof to collapse on his vanquished lover, The Human Tornado is definitely one of the most delightfully zany blaxploitation films produced in the 70s.
It also has one of the greatest lines of dialogue to ever grace cinema, which is:
The film gets off to a racing start, but loses stamina in the middle. It catches its second wind shortly thereafter, but building to a fizzle with its very long and draining final showdown. However, it's so full of stupidity, madness, and moments like the dialogue delivery above that it's pretty entertaining even when it feels slow and boring. There are several points in the film where you will find yourself wondering what the hell is going on, and you won't ever feel upset about it; the film's personality and charisma is all that it needs to coast on.
The film can quite easily fall off the rails, as there's not much to the plot— it's essentially just a Rudy Ray Moore vehicle. It's full of sequences that have a disconnected feel, functioning more like sketches than conventional narrative. At times, it can kinda feel like a mashing of Soul Train and Def Comedy Jam that runs a bit extended, but the ride is nothing short of amusing.
Rudy Ray Moore is both amazing and awful. His performance is loud and stilted, but is 100% quality schlock. Moore's Dolemite has some serious rhyming skills, and his incorporation of rhyme in his dialogue and delivery (example: "I slept with the man's wife. Now he wants to take my life.") has been cited as one of the earliest forms of hip-hop. The film is also peppered with some quirky side characters and villains that take dastardly villainy to never before seen heights of delicious absurdity (I'm looking at you, Sheriff).
In short, it's not the greatest film in the world, but I do think it is one of the great good bad films, and well worth the watch. The good news is you can watch it right now! The film is currently available on YouTube and can be viewed here right now! So drop whatever you're doing, and get a little bananas!
Rating: 3.5 instant replays outta 5.
What do you think? Do you prefer Dolemite over The Human Tornado? We want to know. Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below, and as always remember to viddy well, sucka!