The Last Dragon (1985)

DVD Cover (Columbia Tri-Star)
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Overall Rating 68%
Overall Rating
Ranked #3,118
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In New York City, a young man searches for the "master" to obtain the final level of martial arts mastery known as the glow. Along the way, he must fight a martial arts expert corrupted with power, and rescue a beautiful singer from an obsessed music promoter. --IMDb
Christopher Murney
Christopher Murney
Julius Carry
Julius Carry
Faith Prince
Faith Prince
Review by Ginose
Added: September 09, 2007
You know, there are only a handful of movies, that I know that of, that people, as a whole, seem to dislike. Why don’t they like them? Oh, they have “good tastes” or “a sense of humor”, well, let me just say that I hate all of you. I believe that any film can be enjoyed if you watch it with the right point of view. I won’t ask you to compromise your movie morality or anything like that, oh dear me no. Just think about it: Someone somewhere loves this movie. Why? Well, you should try to find out. If you don’t want to, don’t bother. I’m not your Cinema-God, I have biases as well. But, 9 times out of 11, I will try to find a way to enjoy a movie.

I was very young when I first saw Berry Gordy’s “The Last Dragon”, my mind full of Spielberg colored dreams of aliens and lost temples. I had not even scratched the surface of what the cinema could be, and, let me tell you, even as I child I found the film lame as hell. It had, what I believed at the time, to be an irrelevant plot, little to know action, and one of the stupidest endings of all time. I’ve recently re-discovered the movie after having a powerful urge to see it once again, lucky for me I have such a close-knit family, my cousin found a copy of it at an electronics store and knew right away that I’d enjoy remembering it. Boy oh boy, did I ever.

The movie opens in typical martial-arts film style in which our hero, Leroy Green (Taimak), is training in his martial arts school. After a short and clichéd conversation with his sensei, he is told that his training is complete, and that if he truly wishes to gain more wisdom, then to seek out a wise old master who (conveniently enough) lives right there, in their city. After receiving a medallion that once belonged to Bruce Lee, Leroy reluctantly leaves his master in search of this wise-old sage. In the meantime, popular television D.J. Laura Charles (Vanity) is being harassed by the oh-so obviously evil entertainment tycoon Eddie Arkadian (Christopher Murney) into putting a ridiculously bad music video on her show. This normally would mean nothing to Leroy until he sees Ms. Charles being abducted by some of Arkadian’s goons, to which he must quickly spring to the rescue, beating them down with his martial arts prowess and immediately earning Laura’s admiration. However he has now made a new enemy in the process, as Arkadian will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Who was his first enemy you ask? Why, none other than the Shogun of Harlem, the strongest, the prettiest, the master Sho’nuff. Sho’nuff only wishes to defeat Leroy in combat and prove that he is the greatest martial artist in the city, and, gain total supremacy and he’s willing to use any dirty trick to fulfill that wish. Sounds like a lot for the young dragon, doesn’t it?

Wow. This movie is so damned ridiculous. You watch it and each moment it only gets funnier and more action packed. Although not much of an actor, Taimak certainly proved he can fight in this film, some of the moves he performs in the few fight scenes he has in the film are simply amazing. The plot itself is extremely cheesy, but certainly not something you can just throw away as you certainly want to know what happens as the film develops. This movie is humorous, not just tongue-in-cheek humor, not just slapstick, not just corny jokes or even solid blaxploitation gags. No, this movie has a clever blend of wit and moronic charm coated with a fine layer of cheese to give it that great b-movie feel. All the players are fine in their roles, none of the acting is too weak (I really enjoyed both Leo O’Brien and Julius Carry in their roles, some would say they overacted, but I think they acted just enough) and the fight scenes, few as there are, are well choreographed and fun as hell to get into.

The biggest beef most have with this movie (aside from the fact that it’s corny as hell) is the fact that they managed to fit 3 full-length music videos into the movie. Now, this would normally be considered filler or even possibly distract from the plot, but it really does neither, it’s just a great soundtrack for a movie of this type (hell, I could listen to “Power of the Night” 10 times over). On a side-note, the several sliced in clips from numerous Bruce Lee movies were truly a treat for me, being as huge a fan of the martial-arts genre as I am, and it was certainly hilarious to here one of the local boys refer to the hero as “Bruce Leroy”. Not to mention that this is one of the single most quotable movies of all time… “When I say who is the master… you say Sho’nuff!” Classic and, in context, just awesome.

All in all I have practically nothing bad to say about this movie. Aside from the fact that some of the acting isn’t great and a few jokes seemed to be a bit forced (and a few that were just dry) this is truly one of the most amusing films I’ve ever seen. If you don’t like it, fine, you don’t like it, but consider why films like this become such cult-classics. Truth is, somewhere in the world, there are people who absolutely loved this movie. I’d put myself up there with them.

Whereas most reviewers would shoot lower, I’ll give this one a 8.2/10, no doubt.
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 09/10/2007, 12:48 PM
What? Most critics love this film, myself included because of how silly and ridiculous is, which is why it has gone down as a true cult classic. Films like this stand the tests of the time because they are unintentionally funny, and that never gets old. 8.5/10.
Ginose #2: Ginose - added 09/10/2007, 05:53 PM
Critics can love this gem ll they want, reviewers as a whole dislike it's hillarity. Jerks.
bluemeanie #3: bluemeanie - added 09/10/2007, 06:03 PM
That's why I read critics and not reviewers. The further you dive, the funnier this film gets.
Ginose #4: Ginose - added 09/10/2007, 06:29 PM
Exactally. Thus why I watch this movie whenever I feel down. Always fun as hell.
lostth0ught #5: lostth0ught - added 09/11/2007, 06:14 PM
I've been trying to remember the name of this movie forever, thanks!! "Who is the master??"
Edd #6: Edd - added 09/15/2007, 12:54 PM
Who's the baddest mother fucker on the planet? Sho nuff!
Ginose #7: Ginose - added 09/15/2007, 02:48 PM
Watched it one more time, had to boost my rating a wee-bit. (by .7 to be percise).
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