THE HUMAN TORNADO (BLU RAY) (1976)
Category : BLU RAY REVIEWS
Directed by Cliff Roquemore
Review by David Carter
Released by Vinegar Syndrome
Running Time: 96 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Color format: Color
Audio/Subtitles: 2.0 Mono DTS-HS SDH English/English Subtitles
Region Code: 1, NTSC
Aspect Ratio: 1.65:1
16:9 Enhanced: Yes
Special Features: Two framing options, Making of Documentary, commentary track by Mark Jason Murray & Jimmy Lynch, Audio interview with director Cliff Roquemore & Howard Jackson, German dubbed version, still gallery, radio spot
Trailer Online: Yes
Rudy Ray Moore left us a small but incredibly memorable series of films but movies were only one facet of the multi-talented Moore’s career. Moore initially made a name for himself as a nightclub act, where he would enthrall audiences with singing, dancing, poetry, and – of course – his bawdy comedy. When Moore released DOLEMITE in 1975, he had already spent over twenty-five years in the entertainment industry and released several hit comedy records. These records were based on his legendary live-act, and Moore continued to tour regularly right up until his untimely death in 2008.
THE HUMAN TORNADO, Moore’s follow up to DOLEMITE, begins with several priceless minutes of Moore (as Dolemite) in his element – performing his act for a packed house. Dolemite’s success in the clubs have made him a wealthy man but he hasn’t forgotten his community, as he holds a party to announce that he’s donating his hilltop mansion to be used as a home for underprivileged children. A pair of rednecks passing by sees a group of black people gathered together and immediately calls the police, who raid Dolemite’s home and find the man himself in bed with the sheriff’s wife. A shoot-out and a car chase ensue and Dolemite and company decide that things would be better if they relocated to Los Angeles for a while.
Once in LA, Dolemite heads straight for Queen Bee’s nightclub only to find the previously hot club closed. Queen Bee has run afoul of local Mafioso Cavaletti. Cavaletti has two of Queen’s best girls captive in a torture chamber, and forces Queen and the remaining staff to work for him. Dolemite won’t stand for it, and he quickly goes to work rescuing the girls and devising a plan to fix Cavaletti once and for all. Complicating things is the fact that the vengeful sheriff has followed Dolemite to California, but the presence of all his enemies in one place allows Dolemite to set up a final kung-fu showdown to win the day.
Like DOLEMITE before it, THE HUMAN TORNADO defies narrative conventions and unfolds much like Moore’s comedy. The importance isn’t placed on where the story is going but rather how you get there and even TORNADO’s subplots are full of outrageous action and laughs. Moore was clearly becoming more comfortable in the medium and putting more of himself into the film than previously. Featuring wild love-making, crazy kung-fu, and several classic nightclub acts, THE HUMAN TORNADO comes much closer to the true Rudy Ray Moore experience than DOLEMITE did and is all the better for it.
Vinegar Syndrome has delivered another outstanding release with THE HUMAN TORNADO’s Blu Ray + DVD combo. The print of the film is light years beyond what was previously available and demonstrates the level of commitment the company has made to truly honoring Moore with these releases. The wealth of extras found on DOLEMITE continues here with the second half of documentary began on that release. Moore biographer Mark Jason Murray is back on commentary duty and is joined this time out by Jimmy Lynch. Audio interviews and promotional materials round out the presentation.
There are only a handful of artists that can truly be considered groundbreaking, and a strong case could be made that Rudy Ray Moore belongs on that list. THE HUMAN TORNADO gives an expanded glimpse into the legendary “Dolemite” – a multi-talented entertainer and the original do-it-yourself artist – and as such is an invaluable film document.