His Name Is Dolemite And F*ckin Up Motherf*ckers Is His Game: Dolemite (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review + Screenshots

Whenever anyone thinks of Blaxploitation, they think of crappy filmmaking, horrible acting, and the boom mic showing up in every shot. While some other Blaxploitation films have these "qualities" to them, the film that they are referring to is Dolemite and, while you think that the film is terrible, it has more heart than a lot of the studio funded Blaxploitation films. Readers of this site know that heart goes a long way with me and Dolemite has it in surplus.


Alternate Full Frame "Boom Mic" Version

Before the digital era, many films that were shot in the 1.85:1 aspect ration were shot "open matte" which meant that the film was shot with the full frame of film exposed, but with the framing of the shot to match what the filmmakers intend.

While shooting "open matte" does provide some leeway in terms of moving the framing around to better suit the needs of the director, many filmmakers will use the space in the frame that is not meant to be seen for boom mics and other equipment. Filmmakers saw this as an easier way to get better audio and lighting, but they never thought that when their film showed up on VHS in "full frame", all of that equipment and what not would be seen because there were no "mattes" to hide it with.

Dolemite fell victim to this. People all over the country fell in love with Dolemite on VHS and thus saw scenes where the boom mic is seen a little bit to scenes where you can see the boom mic operator and more.

Vinegar Syndrome has done the smart thing by including both the intended widescreen version, where the boom mic only shows up a few times, but is the way the filmmakers wanted the film to be shown. And then with the "Boom Mic" version, where all the imperfections that were not meant to be seen are there.

This version of the film was not afforded the same 2K restoration that the theatrical version was, but the film still sports a 1080p transfer and looks good.

Historical Commentary with Mark Jason Murray

I Dolemite (24m 1s, HD)

Here we learn the story of the rise of Rudy Ray Moore and the making of Dolemite. We get interviews with Rudy Ray Moore biographer Mark Jason Murray, who leads the way in which this featurette is going. We also get vintage interviews with Rudy Ray Moore, Lady Reed, Jerry Jones, and Jimmy Lynch. Director of Photography Nicholas Von Sternberg and actor John Kerry are among the few new interviews that show up here.

This is a nice featurette that goes over the good and the bad about the shooting of Dolemite while also giving us a brief history of Rudy Ray Moore.

Lady Reed Uncut (23m 14s, SD, 1.33:1)

In this vintage interview, Reed talks about the good ole days of recording with Moore and the making of Dolemite. She also performs a few of her routines.

Locations: Then and Now (1m 47s, HD)

This is probably the laziest of the special features. Instead of doing a Blaxploitation version of Horror's Hallowed Grounds, where host Sean Clark takes viewers to the locations used in famous horror films, the producers of this piece show a very brief clip from the film and then show a brief clip of what that location looks like today. There was a real opportunity to do something very cool and it was blown.

Dolemite Theatrical Trailer (2m 55s, HD)

The Human Tornado Theatrical Trailer (2m 45s, HD)

Both of these trailers show copious amounts of violence and nudity, but the language is bleeped. Very odd.


The front cover presents Dolemite as if he were one of those paper targets that the police use to practice their aim. The title is front and little bit south of center and is only preceded by "Rudy Ray Moore is". The tagline for this newly commissioned artwork by artist Jay Shaw is "They Better Not Miss!"

The reverse side is the film's original theatrical poster. Here the title is made of stone and seems to be breaking apart. The subtitle reads "with his all girl army of Kung Fu killers!" We see a girl jump kicking a guy on one the left side of the poster and on the right side we see a girl throwing a man over her shoulder by his ankle. In the middle is Dolemite holding a gun, adorned by two women. The tag line reads "Bone-crushing, skull-splitting, brain-blasting action!" The background is all white.

P.S. about the above picture: those two holes that you see right above the "D" in Dolemite are hole punches made over the barcode of the other side of the cover. DVD and Blu-ray companies that still send out actual product as screeners hole punch the barcode so that the item can't be returned to a Wal-Mart or Target for cash back or store credit. This item I bought off of eBay. The seller told me that the product was "new". I bought the item for $9.99 with free shipping. When I got the blu-ray in the mail, it was sans plastic wrap. The seller had said that the item was "sealed". It was not. I then saw the hole punches and filed a complaint. After going back and forth it is ruled that since the item was opened I could not do anything with it. It was mine. Honestly, I don't mind too much. I do mind in the sense that I am a collector and this shit is not the way it is supposed to be, but I also look at the fact that I got the blu-ray for ten bucks. We win some, we lose some. I kind of lost on this one, in a sense. Oh well.

The back cover gives us the film's synopsis as well as what the special features are and some technical info at the bottom.

The disc art for each disc is a mirror of one of the two covers with the blu-ray receiving the newly commissioned artwork and the dvd receiving the original theatrical poster.

Both the blu-ray and dvd are REGION FREE


Dolemite shooting a gun while the camera crew's shadow is in the background

Dolemite comes to us in a brand new 1080p transfer taken from a new 2K scan and I have to say that the film looks great. Colors are good and the blacks are deep without any crush. There is a nice level of grain and the whole transfer has a film-like feel to it. There are some scratches that pop up and other imperfections to the master that was used, but they didn't hurt the film in any way. They may have added to the film as far as I am concerned. Vinegar Syndrome did a fantastic job here.

THE SOUND ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

dolemite giving us a great look up his nose

We have a DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track here and it sounds really nice. While there is some overlapping in the sounds and dialogue, that is inherent to the sound mix itself. Everything else sounds nice. Dialogue, for the most part, is clean and crisp and there are minimal distortions, but these are part of the track itself. The track does a fine job of recreating what the film originally sounded like.

THE FILM ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

a staring contest for the ages

Dolemite is a pimp who was set up by Willie Greene and the cops, who have planted drugs, stolen furs, and guns in his trunk and got him sentenced to 20 years in jail. One day, Queen B and a warden planned to get him out of Jail and get Willie Green and Mitchell busted for what they did to him. However, Dolemite is no stupid man and has a lot of warriors backing him, such as his call girls, who are Karate Experts--and lots more....
Dolemite is a very crude looking film, but it wasn't shot with a lot of money, so that is to be expected. The film is poorly acted, poorly paced, poorly edited, poorly directed, poorly written, poorly made. This is one of the worst Blaxploitation films I have seen. But there is something about the film that I was drawn to. I don't know what it was, but I found myself liking this film. Everything about the film told me to stay away, and yet was drawn to it like a moth to the light. Maybe it Rudy Ray Moore who is not all that funny and has some of the worst one-liners I have ever heard, but boy can that man weave a tale.

There are two points in the film where the film stops so that Moore can perform some of his act. The people in the film seem to find what Moore is saying to be incredibly funny, but I wasn't laughing. I was listening to the WAY that Moore told his stories. The man speaks with rhyming pose much like that of Dr. Seuss. Well, an X-rated Dr. Seuss.

The rest of the film is Moore trying to do the best he can under some terrible circumstances. In the making of featurette found on this disc, Moore biographer Mark Jason Murray talks about how first time director D'Urville Martin told the cast and crew that "the film is a piece of shit" and didn't even really try. This put Moore in a pickle: he could shut down production, which he paid for himself, or he could just do his thing and hope that the film comes out alright. In the end, Moore was embarrassed by the film and considered not releasing it. I don't know why he didn't have the director fired, but maybe Moore couldn't have fired him due to some kind of contract.

Despite all of this, Dolemite is an entertaining film. Sure, most of the film's flaws are huge and on the screen, but that just adds to the film's enjoyment. Rudy Ray Moore put his heart and soul into this film and he got to make many more films after this one. The film isn't perfect in terms of enjoyment as the film runs out of steam towards the end, but what came before it is very entertaining. I had a blast watching this film.

OVERALL ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

dolemite airing out his armpits

Despite the film's many, many flaws, Dolemite comes out of the gate running. The film is immensely entertaining and Rudy Ray Moore has a great screen presence. While the film does lose steam towards the end, the stuff that comes before that is great.

The blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome is outstanding. The A/V quality is stunning and the special features are a must for any fan of the film or Blaxploitation in general. This is a must own.'

Theatrical 1.85:1 Version

Alternate Full Frame "Boom Mic" Version

Post a Comment