The Last Dragon
"This movie is very special and I highly recommend it for all martial arts, artists and movie fans!!!!"
The Last Dragon (1985)
AKA: Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon
Director: Michael Schultz
Producer: Joseph Caracciolo, Berry Gordy, Rupert Hitzig
Writer: Louis Venosta
Action Director: Ron Van Clief, Ernie Reyes, Sr.
Cast: Taimak, Vanity, Christopher Murney, Julius Carry, Faith Prince, Glen Eaton , Ernie Reyes, Jr., Leo O'Brien, Mike Starr
Running Time: 104 min.
Plot: Leroy Green (Taimak) is a young kung fu student who must reach the highest level of his training. His master tells him to find the wisest of them all, Sun Dum Goy (which we later find out is a computer that prints out fortunes for the cookies). Meanwhile, Sho'nuff, the Shogun of Harlem wants to fight Leroy (called Bruce Leroy by the neighborhood kids) to prove that he is the baddest mofo (master). Also, a sleazy video promoter named Eddie wants to use Video Jockey Laura Charles (Vanity) to air a really awful video made by his brainless girlfriend on her show. Leroy beats up Eddie's thugs in the way. While Leroy must face Sho'nuff's men and Eddie's fighters, he is accompanied by little brother Richie and his parents (who run Daddy Green's Pizza). After all the excitement, we all know that Bruce Leroy is the master and gets the girl at the end.
AMERICAN NINJA'S REVIEW: A disappointing film about a martial artist who seeks to become a master to protect a beautiful DJ from mobsters. A hopeless 'Karate Kid' rip-off with not much of a personality of it's own. However, it's hilarious to see a big guy calling himself the 'Shogun' who is as menacing as a squirt gun. Taimak is an okay actor but a poor martial artist. He looks slow and silly (as do the fights). The climax has to be seen to be believed. Some unintentional humor and bad songs raise TLD's entertainment level a notch.
Footnote:The first Hannibal Lector movie was gonna be called Red Dragon but since The Last Dragon bombed, it was renamed "Manhunter" so it wouldn't be confused with this movie.
AMERICAN NINJA'S RATING: 5/10
ALEXANDER'S REVIEW: Sure, "The Last Dragon" follows the same tired "Rocky" formula of the underdog beating incredible odds to vanquish a heavily muscled bad guy. And yes, the film reminds us (for better or worse) of all the '80s soundtrack-driven films like "Beat Street," "Breakin'," and "Streets of Fire," to name just a few. And does it matter if Vanity gets top billing? Or that Ernie Reyes, Jr., whose star shine most brightly in "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," kicks some serious ass here? Would you still watch if you knew DeBarge's "Rhythm of the Night" essentially IS the film's climax? Would you think me odd if I told you my friends and I memorized all of the dialogue and one of us would pretend to be the last dragon and another would flex his puny muscles and yell, "Who's the master?! SHO'NUF!"
I remember this film fondly for all the afternoons my friends and I would spend planted on the couch watching it on Betamax, trying to pause the film at just the right moment to catch a particularly provocative image of Vanity. We'd study Ernie Reyes, Jr.'s moves and mimic them in the back yard. Yes, the movie is essentially "The Karate Kid" with a less charismatic actor, but the soundtrack rocks, Vanity is hot, and the entire cheesy thing is a hell of a lot of fun, especially if you're a child of the '80s, like me.
ALEXANDER'S RATING: 9/10
GOLDENFIST'S REVIEW: This is one of my all time favorite movies period!!! This has martial arts action, romance, comedy, that 80s funk that I love so much and so much more. The soundtrack kicked some serious @$$. You must see it to believe it. It's such a shame that this rare classic is out of print (you can't buy it on video anymore). Thank the Lord, that I have it. This movie is very special and I highly recommend it for all martial arts, artists and movie fans!!!!
GOLDENFIST'S RATING: 10/10