Monday, June 20, 2016

THE HUMAN TORNADO - Vinegar Syndrome (Blu-ray Review)

Directed By: Cliff Roquemore
Written By: Jerry Jones
Starring: Rudy Ray Moore, Lady Reed, Jimmy Lynch
Color/96 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: May 31, 2016

The Film
It's bigger badder and blacker! It's THE HUMAN TORNADO!

After a successful stand up comedy tour Dolemite returns home and wants to have a party to celebrate. The party grabs the attention of the local hick sheriff because any gathering of black folks just can't be good! Upon breaking up the party the sheriff finds his wife making love to Dolemite which leads to the sheriff shooting his wife and pinning the blame on Dolemite who's now on the run and looking for solace with Lady Bee until he finds out that some local gangsters have taken control of Lady Bee's strip joint and making her girls work for them. Dolemite is now fighting battles on two fronts as he tries to elude capture from the honky sheriff and take down the dirty gangsters who are roughing up his friends.

THE HUMAN TORNADO (or as Dolemite repeatedly calls himself "The Human Tornada") is an action packed, "don't give a fuck" whirlwind of blaxploitation goodness. While this movie wouldn't exist without the first Dolemite film which is a classic of its own, THE HUMAN TORNADO is just a crazier take on what made the first film great. One liners, bad martial arts action that is sped up to cover up the lack of choreography, Ernie Hudson, Ernie Hudson's brother in a bald cap playing Ernie Hudson's character, explosions, titties, sex tornados, torture dungeons and more. It's all here and you have to ask yourself where else you'll see an entire bedroom get smashed to the ground in a sex tornado of Dolemite's sexual prowess. Nowhere!

Director Cliff Roquemore creates a picture that is still rough around the edges as this is still an exploitation film despite having a slightly larger budget. Roquemore's debut film shows more style and natural ability than you may expect as he uses different tricks and techniques to cover up some of the film's technical shortcomings. The cast is good from Rudy Ray Moore on down to karate champion Howard Jackson who lends the the film's lone sense of martial arts credibility. Jackson isn't asked to do much besides show up and kick ass so he's successful in what was asked of him.

THE HUMAN TORNADO is a rollercoaster of emotions - you'll laugh, you'll cry, and you might just discover yourself. Nah, who the hell am I kidding? Grab a 40, pack a bowl and grab some buddies to watch this incredible piece of 70s blaxploitation cinema.

The Audio & Video
It is going to be hard to not compare the transfers of the Dolemite movies as they're released by Vinegar Syndrome so I'll do my best to keep that to a minimum. THE HUMAN TORNADO is presented in a new 16x9 anamorphic widescreen transfer taken from a new 2K scan and restoration from 35mm vault elements. Now, I said I wouldn't compare but it's definitely worth mentioning that you shouldn't expect the damn near pristine PQ that was delivered in the first Dolemite film's Blu-ray. THE HUMAN TORNADO's elements were obviously in far worse condition than that of the first film and where Dolemite was restored from an original negative this film isn't quite as fortunate. The picture quality is decent, with some areas looking good and having really solid detail and sharpness while others show just how rough the elements were. And that of course shows just how much work Vinegar Syndrome put in to this release to make it look as good as it does. There's still scratches, speckling and various other damage but overall this is a big improvement over the decade old DVD that was bordering on unwatchable.

The English audio comes through a DTS-HD mono track that sounds good. The audio was in far better condition than the video and while it isn't the sharpest sounding audio mix you'll ever hear it is clear and mostly free of any damage. The mix is stable and steady and you won't have any issues listening along. Optional English subtitles are available.

The Extras
VinSyn has put together a nice collection of extras including:

-"I, Dolemite part 2" - More documentary interview footage with Rudy Ray Moore and others involved in the Dolemite series. - I really hope these continue through the rest of the Dolemite releases.
-Audio Commentary with Rudy Ray Moore Biographer Mark Jason Murray and Co-star Jimmy Lynch
-Audio Interview with Director Cliff Roquemore and Howard Jackson
-German dubbed version of the film "Der Bastard"
-Radio Spot
-Theatrical Trailers
-Promotional Still Gallery
-Reversible Artwork

The Bottom Line
THE HUMAN TORNADO fits right in line with Dolemite. It's rough and tough and wild as hell! Highly Recommended!


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