Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Disco Godfather (1979)

Rudy Ray Moore, a cult-favorite black comic known for his outrageously filthy routines, ascended to B-movie stardom with the pimp saga Dolemite (1975) and its sequel, The Human Tornado (1976), then continued his onslaught of schlocky cinema with The Monkey Hu$tle (1977) and this weird action/drama. In Disco Godfather, Moore stars as Tucker, an ex-cop who grooves on his new career as a discotheque DJ until his favorite nephew, Bucky (Julius Carry), gets mixed up with angel dust. Thereafter, Tucker shifts into ass-kicking mode so he can take down the operation of local dealer Stringer Ray (Hawthorne James). Disco Godfather feels like at least three different movies jammed together. The opening stretch, featuring endless footage of disco dancers doing tricks involving acrobatics and roller skates, is amateurish and confusing but basically lighthearted. Then, once people start having bad angel-dust experiences, the movie kicks into a trippy mode with clunky “hallucination” imagery (generally comprising actors in monster costumes reaching toward the camera). Finally, the picture becomes a full-on blaxploitation action saga, complete with kung fu brawls. In its closing scenes, the movie tries to get heavy because Stringer Ray captures Tucker and pumps our hero full of angel dust, sending him into a crazy series of freakouts and hallucinations. The effect, unfortunately, is far more comic than harrowing. Per the Rudy Ray Moore norm, everything in Disco Godfather is borderline incoherent. Few plot elements make sense, the performances are across-the-board terrible, and the editing is so choppy the movie has a fever-dream quality. Worst of all is the dialogue, which wobbles between formality and hipness. “As you can see, to be a member of the disco squad, you have to be funky and get down.” “I’m personally going to come down on the suckers that’s producing this shit.” “Get the names of all the people who would like to go on a crusade against angel dust.” Especially when considered in the context of Moore’s supersized ego—every single member of the cast and crew is grouped in the credits beneath the heading “Assistants to Mr. Rudy Ray Moore”—the rampant incompetence of Disco Godfather can only be described as astounding.

Disco Godfather: LAME

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