Film Review: Warrior of the Lost World (dir by David Worth)

The 1983 Italian film, Warrior of the Lost World, opens with a long title card that explains that society has collapsed, due to radiation, disease, wars, and multiple bank bail-outs.  The world of the future is a dangerous place, where the roads are ruled by dangerous scavengers.  It’s a world where survival is not guaranteed and only those who are willing to fight will live to see another day and….

Well, look, I’ll be honest.  It was a really long title card and, as anyone who knows me can tell you, I don’t have a particularly long attention span.  I read about the radiation and the diseases and then I kind of zoned out.  The important thing to know is that the film takes place in the future and that the film was made in the wake of the international success of The Road Warrior.  In the early 80s, the Italian film industry briefly abandoned zombies to make movies about people driving cars through a post-apocalyptic landscape.  In fact, I initially assumed that David Worth was a pseudonym for someone like Enzo Castelleri or even Umberto Lenzi.  David Worth is actually a cinematographer who worked on a few Clint Eastwood films and who went to Italy to make his directorial debut with Warrior of the Lost World.  After this film, Worth went on to direct Kickboxer and handful of others.

(One thing that’s always interesting about watching these films is discovering that people were speculating about the collapse of society long before 2023.  It’s kind of nice to be reminded that people have always been panicking about something, even while society itself continued to survive and grow.)

Robert Ginty stars as The Rider, a man so tough that he doesn’t even need a name.  The Rider and his motorcycle travel across the country.  The Motorcycle can talk, though it’s screechy voice might make you wish that it couldn’t.  It warns The Rider whenever there’s danger nearby.  When a bunch of punk rock rejects attempt to attack the Rider, his motorcycle identifies them as being “dorks.”  Later, when the Rider is looking at a woman who he has just saved from death, the Motorcycle orders, “Kiss the girl!”  The Motorcycle has a weird quirk where it says everything three times.  The Rider talks back to the Motorcycle but he always mumbles all of his lines, to the extent that it’s often difficult to really understand what he’s saying.  It’s hard not to get the feeling that Robert Ginty couldn’t believe that he was actually having to pretend as if he was a heart-to-heart with a motorcycle.

(The Rider’s bike is actually named Einstein but, to me, it will always by The Motorcycle.)

After the Rider crashes into a wall, he’s nursed back to health by a bunch of old people who are trying to organize a rebellion against the evil Prossor (Donald Pleasence), who rules the State of Omega.  Prossor has kidnapped the rebellion’s leader, Prof. McWayne (Harrison Muller, Jr).  The old people want The Rider to accompany McWayne’s daughter, Natasia (Persis Khambatta), to Prossor’s city.  The Rider whines about being asked but eventually agrees to do so.  I’m not sure why The Rider agrees to help because The Rider seriously never stops complaining about how inconvenient the whole journey is.  While The Rider does manage to rescue McWayne, Natasia gets left behind so, of course, the Rider has to do it all over again.  Fortunately, it turns out that the Omega army isn’t quite as competent as everyone claims that they are.  In fact, outsmarting Prosser is so easy that you can’t help but wonder why no one bothered to it before.

Warrior of the Lost World is not necessarily a good movie but, when watched with a group of friends and with the right snarky attitude, it is a fun movie.  The action and the plotting is just so over-the-top and ridiculous that it’s hard to look away from the screen and Robert Ginty seems so genuinely annoyed by every little thing that happens that it’s hard not to wonder if maybe The Rider read the script before heading off to confront Prossor.  An extended sequence is devoted to everyone singing the Rebellion’s national anthem, the great Donald Pleasence rants like a pro, Fred Williamson has a largely pointless cameo, and the film features what appears to be a 20-minute kiss between The Rider and Natasia.  (The Motorcycle watches.)  If you can’t have fun while watching Warrior of the Lost World, I just don’t know what to tell you.

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Russ Meyer Edition

4 Or More Shots From 4 Or More Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

101 years ago, on the very day, Russ Meyer was born in San Leandro, California.  Meyer would get his start filming newsreels during World War II, with much of his newsreel footage later showing up in films like the 1970 Oscar winner, Patton.  When he returned to the United States, he continued to make films, though the subject matter changed a bit.  Meyer was one of the pioneers of the adult film industry, though his once controversial films now seem rather quaint and innocent when compared to the industry’s later films.  Meyer’s strong visual sense and his intentionally over-the-top plots made him a favorite amongst underground critics.  In the 70s, he was briefly embraced by mainstream Hollywood but, unhappy with having to deal with the studio bosses, Meyer returned to making the type of independent, grindhouse films that made him famous.

Russ Meyer was 82 years old when he died in 2004.  He was acclaimed as one of America’s first and most iconic independent filmmakers.

Here are 4 Safe-For-Work Shots From 4 Russ Meyer Films.

4 Shots From 4 Films

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965, dir by Russ Meyer, DP: Walter Schenk)

Motorpsycho (1965, dir by Russ Meyer, DP: Russ Meyer)

Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls (1970, dir by Russ Meyer, DP: Fred J. Koenekamp)

The Seven Minutes (1971, dir by Russ Meyer, DP: Fred Mandl)

Scenes That I Love: George Smiley Confronts Bill Haydon In Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Today is Gary Oldman’s 65th birthday and, in honor of the occasion, here’s a scene from one of my favorite Oldman films, 2011’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

In this scene, British intelligence officer George Smiley (Gary Oldman) confronts his colleague and Russian mole Bill Haydon (Colin Firth).  This scene is a masterclass of good acting, put on by both Firth and Oldman.  As Haydon tries to justify his behavior, Smiley listens with deceptive calmness.  When I first saw this film, Oldman suddenly raising his voice made the entire audience jump.

Film Review: Heroes (dir by Jeremy Kagan)

The 1977 film, Heroes, tells the story of Jack Dunne (a young Henry Winkler).

Jack spent four years fighting in Vietnam.  Since returning to America, he has struggled to adjust to civilian life.  Though he’s mentally blocked out much of what happened in Vietnam, he’s haunted by nightmares,  When we first meet him, he’s a patient at a mental health facility in New York City.  He has big plans, though.  He wants to open up a worm farm in Eureka, California.  He’s convinced that he can make a ton of money selling worms to fisherman and he wants all of the old members of his unit to join him in the venture.  After Jack escapes from the hospital, he boards a bus heading for California.

He also meets Carol (Sally Field), who is supposed to be getting married in four days but who has decided to board a bus and take an impromptu vacation instead.  When Carol is told that the bus is already full and she’ll have to wait for the next one, Jack bribes the ticket agent to get Carol on the bus.  Once on the bus, Jack makes himself into a nuisance, continually bothering the driver (Val Avery) and embarrassing Carol.  (In the film’s defense, it’s later established that Jack isn’t just being a jerk for fun.  The driver’s uniform makes Jack nervous.  That said, it’s hard not to feel bad for the driver, who is just doing his stressful job to the best of his ability.)  Carol and Jack do eventually strike a tentative friendship.  They’re linked by the fact that they’re both trying to escape from something.

At a diner, Jack tells her that he served in Vietnam.

“I protested the war,” Carol says.

“I fought it,” he replies.

Carol eventually joins with Jack in his quest to track down the three people who he expects to go into business with.  One of them is missing.  One of them never returned home from the war.  And the third, Ken (Harrison Ford), is living in a trailer and raising rabbits for a living.  Ken is also a stock car racer, though he eventually admits that he rarely wins.  In fact, he seems to spend most of his time drinking and shooting off the M16 that he keeps in his car’s trunk.  Meeting Ken sends Jack spiraling into depression but, with Carol’s help, Jack is finally starts to come to terms with the reality of what happened to him and his friends in Vietnam.

Heroes was one of the first films to sympathetically portray the plight of Vietnam veterans struggling to adjust to life back in the United States and it certainly deserves a lot of credit for its good intentions.  (Indeed, it’s implied that a part of Carol’s concern from Jack comes from her own guilt over how the anti-war movement treated the returning soldiers.)  That said, the film itself is an awkward mix of drama and comedy.  The first half of the film, in which Henry Winkler comes across like he’s doing a manic Al Pacino impersonation, is especially uneven.  Winkler and Field are both naturally likable enough that the film remains watchable but, during the first half of the film, most viewers will never buy their relationship for a second.  It’s hard to believe that the driver wouldn’t have kicked Jack off the bus as soon as he started to cause trouble and the other passengers often seem to be unrealistically charmed by Jack’s behavior.  If I’m on a crowded bus and some dude insists on walking up and down the aisle and taunting the driver, I’m probably going to get off at the first stop and refuse to get back on.  Traveling with a bunch of strangers is already nerve-wracking enough without having to deal with all of that.

Not surprisingly, things improve once Harrison Ford shows up.  This was one of Ford’s last character parts before he was cast as Han Solo in Star Wars.  (Heroes, however, was released after Star Wars, which explains why Ford is mentioned prominently in the trailer despite having a relatively small role.)  Ford gives a strong performance as the amiable but ultimately self-destructive Ken.  Ford plays Ken as someone whose quick smile is a cover for the fact that his entire life is a mess.  Whereas Jack wears his emotions on his sleeve (and Winkler never stops projecting those emotions), Ken is someone who has repressed his anger and his sadness and Ford gives an internalized and controlled performance.  Perhaps not coincidentally, Winkler calms down a bit when he’s acting opposite Ford and, as a result, his own performance starts to improve.

After the meeting with Ken, Jack starts to realize that it’s not going to be as easy to start his business as he thought.  Jack starts to come down from his manic high and, even more importantly, Henry Winkler stops overacting and instead, starts to dig into the sadness at the heart of Jack’s life.  During its second half, the film finally settles on being a drama and Heroes becomes a much stronger story as a result.  Even Jack and Carol’s relationship seems to make more sense during the second half of the film.  Things end on a note of cautious optimism, which also acknowledging that life can never go back to what it was before the war.

Today, if anyone watches Heroes, it’s probably going to be for Harrison Ford.  (I imagine the presence of Harrison Ford is the reason why it’s currently available on Netflix.)  It’s a bit of an uneven film, one that feels as if it should have been stronger than it actually was.  Still, it’s a worthwhile time capsule of 1977 and America’s struggle to come to terms with the Vietnam War.  Today, we’re still struggling to come to terms with what happened in Iraq and with the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan and, again, it seems like the country is too busy trying to move on to take the time to take care of its veterans.  It’s sad that so many people only seem to care about the soldiers who fight in popular wars.  Heroes was a plea to America not to forget its veterans.  It’s a plea that still needs to be heard.

Monday Live Tweet Alert: Join Us For Warrior of the Lost World and Copycat!

As some of our regular readers undoubtedly know, I am involved in hosting a few weekly live tweets on twitter.  I host #FridayNightFlix every Friday, I co-host #ScarySocial on Saturday, and I am one of the five hosts of #MondayActionMovie!  Every week, we get together.  We watch a movie.  We tweet our way through it.

Tonight, for #MondayActionMovie, the film will be 1983’s Warrior of the Lost World!  Selected and hosted by me, this film features car motorcycles, explosions, Donald Pleasence, and a timely message about creeping authoritarianism!  The movie starts at 8 pm et!  Here’s the playlist!

Following #MondayActionMovie, Brad and Sierra will be hosting the #MondayMuggers live tweet.  They will be watching Sigourney Weaver in 1995’s Copycat!  Check the hosts’s twitter accounts for a link to the film!

It should make for a night of fun viewing and I invite all of you to join in.  If you want to join the live tweets, just hop onto twitter, start the Warrior of the Lost World playlist  at 8 pm et, and use the #MondayActionMovie hashtag!  Then, at 10 pm et, start Copycat, and use the #MondayMuggers hashtag!  The live tweet community is a friendly group and welcoming of newcomers so don’t be shy.    

Hope to see you there!

Retro Television Reviews: The Weekend Nun (dir by Jeannot Szwarc)

Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Sundays, I will be reviewing the made-for-television movies that used to be a primetime mainstay.  Today’s film is 1972’s The Weekend Nun!  It  can be viewed on YouTube!

By day, Marjorie Walker (Joanna Pettet) is a probation officer who, some might say, cares just a little too much.

By night and on the weekends, she’s Sister Mary Damian, a nun who has taken the three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

Mother Bonaventure (Ann Sothern) isn’t sure that she’s happy about Sister Damian working as a probation officer.  And the tough and cynical Detective Chuck Jardine (Vic Morrow) certainly isn’t happy when he discovers that the reason why Marjorie has never invited him into her home for a drink is because she lives at a convent.  But Marjorie is determined to make a difference, especially in the life of a troubled teen runaway named Audree (Kay Lenz).

Now, this may sound like the premise of a socially relevant sitcom and, indeed, The Weekend Nun is one of those titles that might lead some to expect wacky hijinks and an intrusive laugh track.  However, The Weekend Nun is not only loosely based on a true story but the film also takes itself very seriously.  From the minute that Sister Damian agrees to take part in a program that would allow her to work a real job during the day while returning to the convent at night, she’s exposed to the harsh realities of the world.  She goes from being sheltered to dealing with distraught parents, drug addicts, teen prostitutes, and violent criminals.  Because Captain Richardson (James Gregory) doesn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable, he hides the fact that she’s a nun.  Of course, this leads to be people like Chuck Jardine wondering why Marjorie is so shocked when she witnesses the thing that he has to deal with a day-to-day basis.

And, indeed, the film’s biggest flaw is that Marjorie is often portrayed as being ridiculously naïve.  The film acts as if spending time in a convent is somehow the equivalent of spending a decade hiding out in a bomb shelter or something.  (Speaking as a Catholic school survivor, nuns are usually some of the least naïve people around.)  Marjorie is portrayed as being such a wide-eyed innocent that it’s hard not to wonder why she was hired to work as a probation officer in the first place.  Of course, Marjorie quickly gets an education on just how dangerous and unforgiving life on the streets can be and she soon has to make a choice between being a nun or being a probation officer.  Will she give her life to God or will she potentially give it to Vic Morrow?

Joanna Pettet overplays Marjorie’s innocence but that’s more the fault of the script than anything else.  James Gregory, Vic Morrow, and Ann Sothern are all believable as the authority figures in Marjorie’s life and Kay Lenz has a few good scenes as the teenage runaway who Marjorie tries to save.  Beverly Garland has a small but brief role as Lenz’s horrifically unconcerned mother.  It’s a well-acted film, regardless of any other flaws.

The Weekend Nun is not perfect but it’s still preferable to The Flying Nun.  It’s a sincerely heartfelt film, one that’s earnest in a way that can seem a bit quaint but which is still likable when watched today.  For better or worse, there’s not a hint of snark to be found.

March Positivity: This Is Our Time (dir by Lisa Arnold)

The 2013 film, This Is Our Time, opens with a college graduation and a voice-over from Ethan (Shawn Culin-Young), who explains that everyone goes through four stages when they go to college.  The first stage is being excited about getting away from home and being on you own.  The second and third stages are about settling down, choosing your major, and maybe meeting the person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life.  The fourth stage is all about looking forward to graduation and finally getting to enter the real world.

This Is Our Time follows the story of five friends as they discover what comes after the fourth stage.  For two of them, it’s making a living as corporate workers and being pressured to behave unethically.  For two others, it’s marriage and a new life working as missionaries in India, ministering to the needs of leprosy sufferers and their children.  For Ethan, it means giving up his dream of being a writer and working as a waiter at his father’s bar.  But, as Ethan warns us in his narration, one of the five is not going to be alive in a year.  The movie follows the friends as they deal with death and try to learn how to live.

Some of the acting is a bit stiff and the attempt to capture the feel of corporate America feels rather comical.  (Erik Estrada glowers his way through the role of a dishonest executive.)  But, at the same time, the film does end with a message from the founder of Embrace a Village, which actually does provide support for people dealing with Leprosy and the guy is so sincere that it kind of makes you feel guilty for all the snarky thoughts that you had while watching the movie.  Whatever else you might want to say about the film, the intentions are good and there’s something to be said for that.

Add to that, Eric Roberts is in the film.  Roberts plays Ethan’s father and he brings a lot of genuine emotion to the role.  The scene where he breaks down behind the bar in response to having gotten some bad news is well-done.  Roberts is kind of famous for accepting almost any role that’s offered to him and he’s said that he hasn’t actually watched the majority of the films in which he’s appeared.  Who knows if Roberts actually watched this film but, regardless, his performance was definitely the highlight.

Previous Eric Roberts Films That We Have Reviewed:

  1. Star 80 (1983)
  2. Blood Red (1989)
  3. The Ambulance (1990)
  4. The Lost Capone (1990)
  5. Love, Cheat, & Steal (1993)
  6. Love Is A Gun (1994)
  7. Sensation (1994)
  8. Doctor Who (1996)
  9. Most Wanted (1997)
  10. Mr. Brightside (2004)
  11. Six: The Mark Unleased (2004)
  12. Hey You (2006)
  13. In The Blink of an Eye (2009)
  14. The Expendables (2010) 
  15. Sharktopus (2010)
  16. Deadline (2012)
  17. Miss Atomic Bomb (2012)
  18. Lovelace (2013)
  19. Self-Storage (2013)
  20. Inherent Vice (2014)
  21. Road to the Open (2014)
  22. Rumors of War (2014)
  23. A Fatal Obsession (2015)
  24. Stalked By My Doctor (2015)
  25. Stalked By My Doctor: The Return (2016)
  26. The Wrong Roommate (2016)
  27. Stalked By My Doctor: Patient’s Revenge (2018)
  28. Monster Island (2019)
  29. Seven Deadly Sins (2019)
  30. Stalked By My Doctor: A Sleepwalker’s Nightmare (2019)
  31. The Wrong Mommy (2019)
  32. Her Deadly Groom (2020)
  33. Top Gunner (2020)
  34. Just What The Doctor Ordered (2021)
  35. Killer Advice (2021)
  36. The Poltergeist Diaries (2021)
  37. My Dinner With Eric (2022)

Film Review: Detective Knight: Rogue (dir by Edward Drake)

Once upon a time, Casey Rhodes (Beau Mirchoff) was a football star.  He was a quarterback.  Everyone expected great things from him.  He was going to be the next Tom Brady.  But then a knee injury took him out of the game and a subsequent drug addiction took him out of mainstream society.  Now, Casey makes his living pulling off robberies.  He may be a criminal but he’s not a bad-hearted one.  He may carry a gun but he tries not to shoot anyone who doesn’t shoot at him first.  Working with him are a former baseball player named Mike (Trevor Getzky) and Nikki (Keeya King), who is the smartest member of the crew.

Despite Casey’s attempts to do his job with as little violence as possible, a gunfight does break out during one robbery in Los Angeles.  When Detectives James Knight (Bruce Willis) and his partner, Eric Fitzgerald (Lochlyn Munro), interrupt the robbery, Fitzgerald ends up getting shot multiple times as Casey and his crew make their escape.  With Fitzgerald in the hospital, Knight decides to follow the crew to New York and take out both them and their boss, a former Internal Affairs officer named Winna (Michael Eklund).  It turns out that there’s a history between Knight and Winna.  Knight wants his revenge on Winna but, at the same time, Winna knows some dark secrets from Knight’s past.

Though it works as a stand-alone film, 2022’s Detective Knight: Rogue is actually the first part of a trilogy that follows the adventures of Detective Knight.  (Detective Knight: Redemption was released at the end of 2022 while Detective Knight: Independence came out last month.)  The Detective Knight films were among the last of the movies in which Bruce Willis appeared before announcing his retirement.  It can be strange to watch Willis’s final films, knowing what we know about what he was going through at the time that he made them.  Though he’s definitely the star of the film, Willis is used sparingly in Detective Knight: Rogue and there’s little of the cocky attitude that we tend to associate with Willis’s best roles.  Instead, he’s a grim avenger, determined to get justice for both his partner and himself.  Willis is convincing in the role, even if the film is edited in such a way that the viewer gets the feeling that a stand-in may have been used for some of the long-shots involving Detective Knight.  That said, Willis still looks convincing carrying a badge and a gun and it’s nice to see a Willis film where he’s again playing a hero instead of a villain.

As the football player-turned-thief, Beau Mirchoff gets more screentime than Willis but, fortunately, Casey is an interesting character and Mirchoff gives a strong performance as a criminal who would rather be a family man and who is desperately looking for a way to make up for the mistakes of his past.  Towards the end of the film, he does a flawless job delivering a surprisingly well-written monologue about how he went from being a football star to being a common thief.  Mirchoff’s strong performance adds a good deal of ambiguity to the film.  The criminals aren’t necessarily that bad at heart and, as we learn, the good guys haven’t always been angels in the past.  Detective Knight: Rogue becomes more than just another low-budget thriller.  It becomes a meditation of regret and redemption.

Detective Knight: Rogue took me by surprise.  As directed by Edward Drake (who was also responsible for another effective late Bruce Willis starrer, Gasoline Alley), it’s an intelligent thriller and it’s one that pays tribute to Bruce Willis as an action icon.  It’s proof that a good story can sometimes be found where you least expect it.

Live Tweet Alert: Watch Absentia with #ScarySocial

As some of our regular readers undoubtedly know, I am involved in a few weekly live tweets on twitter.  I host #FridayNightFlix every Friday, I co-host #ScarySocial on Saturday, and I am one of the five hosts of #MondayActionMovie!  Every week, we get together.  We watch a movie.  We tweet our way through it.

Tonight, for #ScarySocial, ArtAttackNYC will be hosting 2011’s Absentia!

If you want to join us on Saturday night, just hop onto twitter, start the film at 9 pm et, and use the #ScarySocial hashtag!  The film is available on Prime.  I’ll be there co-hosting and I imagine some other members of the TSL Crew will be there as well.  It’s a friendly group and welcoming of newcomers so don’t be shy.


The TSL’s Grindhouse: Disco Godfather (dir by J. Robert Wagoner)

“Put your weight on it!” Tyrone Williams (Rudy Ray Moore) shouts at the start of 1979’s Disco Godfather.  It’s a phrase that he regularly employs as he encourages everyone at the local disco to hit the dance floor and show off their moves.  All Tyrone has to do to get people to dance is to shout out his catch phrase.  He’s such a beloved figure in the community that most people just call him, “Godfather.”

The Godfather is the uncle of Bucky Williams (Julius Carry), a promising young basketball star who seems to have his entire future ahead of him.  However, what the Godfather doesn’t know is that Bucky has fallen in with the wrong crowd and they’ve been pushing him to smoke …. ANGEL DUST!  Bucky’s girlfriend tries to warn him that he’s been smoking too much of “the whack” but Bucky doesn’t heed her warning.  Suddenly, Bucky is in the middle of the dance floor, freaking out as he imagines being attacked by zombie basketball players and a sword-wielding witch.  He also sees the Disco Godfather, telling him to calm down, but suddenly the Godfather is transformed into a skeleton!

After Bucky is subdued and taken down to the local PCP recovery center (which is full of users who are all screaming, rolling around on the floor, and generally acting whacked out), the Godfather decides that he can no longer stand by while his community is victimized by the PCP dealers.  With the help of Noel (Carol Speed), the Godfather starts a group called Angels Against Dust and starts a campaign to “attack the whack!”  While the Godfather tracks down the dealers, Noel holds a rally where, at one point, she announces that everyone is going to have to come together and “whack the attack.”

The fact that this obviously flubbed line was included in the final film tells you much about what makes Disco Godfather such an interesting viewing experience.  The film was shot very quickly and with very little money and, as such, second takes were a luxury that the film couldn’t afford.  However, there’s also an undeniable charm to the film’s low-budget style.  It’s amateurish but it’s amateurish in the most likable way possible.  Even in the case of the “whack the attack” line, it’s hard not to appreciate that Carol Speed didn’t let that one flub stop her from giving the rest of her speech.  By that same token, it’s also hard not appreciate that, later in the film, a never-before-seen character suddenly helps the Godfather fight off a bunch of pushers.  This character was played by Moore’s karate instructor and his appearance is totally random and yet totally appropriate.  In the world of Disco Godfather, the chaotic plotting is the point.  The more random the film becomes, the more it suggests a universe ruled by chance and coincidence.  The total lack of logic starts to make sense.  Werner Herzog would probably love this film if he ever saw it.

Rudy Ray Moore, of course, was a famously raunchy comic who was best-known for playing Dolemite in three films.  However, Disco Godfather finds him in a bit more of a dramatic mood, as he tours the local PCP ward and tells everyone he meets that they have to “attack the whack,”  Compared to the Dolemite films, there’s considerably less sex and profanity to be found in Disco Godfather.  There are several fight scenes and Rudy Ray Moore gets to show off his karate moves but the violence is never as over the top as it was in Dolemite.  The problem, however, is that Rudy Ray Moore was a natural-born comic and, as a result, every line that he utters, regardless of how serious the topic, sounds like its building up to a punchline.  Moore gets to do some dramatic acting at the end of the film, when the Godfather is himself force fed the whack and he starts to hallucinate various disturbing images.  “That’s not right, mama!” the Godfather says at one point and indeed, the trip sequence is the strongest part of the film, a genuinely surreal trip into the subconscious of a man who just wanted to encourage people to dance.

Disco Godfather is one of those films that you just have to see.  When Disco Godfather isn’t learning about PCP, he’s telling everyone to “put your weight on it” and, as a result, this film not only features a lot of anti-drug hysteria but it also features a lot of dancing.  This is very much a film of its time.  In one the film’s few deliberately funny moments, the album cover for the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack is seen covered in cocaine.  Of course, the Disco Godfather doesn’t need cocaine to have a good time and he certainly doesn’t need the whack.  He just needs the music and people willing to put their weight on it.

Disco Godfather was not a box office success when it was originally released, with Moore later saying that he made a mistake by toning down his persona for the film.  Moore was probably correct but, seen today, Disco Godfather is an enchantingly berserk time capsule.  Watch it and then be sure to watch Eddie Murphy play Rudy Ray Moore in the Netflix biopic, Dolemite Is My Name.