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It is in Julius Carry's 'Sho Nuff' character that The Last Dragon finds
biggest laughs. Here is a towering, mean, cartoon character come to life.
Better yet is the fact that Carry, spouting lines that would make even the
most jaded comedy fan laugh, plays the material 100% straight, as do the
rest of the cast in their respective parts.
The Last Dragon is an action/kung fu/comedy film that knows it's a farce but at the same time has the characters play everything dead straight. This works because we laugh at the outlandish plot and characters who, behind the fourth wall, would probably get along well with inmates at an insane asylum.
Tiamak stars as Leroy "Bruce Leroy" Green, a quiet, timid martial artist obsessed with Bruce Lee pictures and obtaining a special level called The Glow, where his spirit takes over the mind's job, in turn creating an awesome force to be reckoned with. But Leroy believes not in using his martial arts for fighting, but for inner peace and strength. And then there's Sho Nuff, the self-proclaimed Shogun of Harlem, who towers over nearly everyone at about 6 feet 5 inches, has wild, afro-like hair, and wears ungodly clothing one might find if MC Hammer invaded a sports store.
Sho Nuff's favorite past times are wandering into packed movie theatres and challenging people to deadly duels because, well, he is just a weird guy, who has an even weirder posse to back him up and to lick his boots at every other step.
Naturally, Sho Nuff has wanted to fight Leroy for some time, and there are several moments in the film where he attempts to gain a rise out of the young martial artist but with no luck. Throw into this mix a night club VJ, a crooked mafia-type with Cyndi Lauper's cousin for a girlfriend, and you've got the makings of an `80s classic.
I love this movie. Tiamak is perfect in the lead as Leroy because he always looks as if he's about to break into a fit of child-like giggles. Vanity is Vanity. Blah. And Leroy's friend, Johnny Yu (Glen Eaton), nearly steals the movie as a martial arts student whose theory of fighting has to be heard for a laugh. But alas, it's Sho Nuff who steals the entire movie. When he's on screen, you can't help but laugh, despite the character playing EVERYTHING straight, and you gaze forth in wonderment - thinking to yourself that maybe beneath that hulking, cartoonish exterior, Carry was laughing inside but never let it show on the outside. Good acting there.
It's silly, over-the-top, jam-packed with `80s nostalgia, and is, above all, very entertaining, with an exciting climax and a wonderful showdown between Sho Nuff and Leroy...
Do I recommend the movie? Sho Nuff!
It's so easy to dismiss a movie from another time-line as pure trash.
Why, if I just pick up any car-chase movie from the 70's, or some old
spy movie from the 60's WITHOUT considering the era & what was in it,
I'd be lost.
The 80's introduced a pop culture focused in music, thanks to MTV. Break-dancing was the norm. Synthesized keyboards backing up great, and some not so great singers were all over. Also, movies in the 80's carried over what Bruce Lee & others had brought from the 70's: martial arts. Lots of movies with the word 'ninja' in it, and of course 'Karate Kid' made a big impact in 1984.
If you were already into the hip-hop scene, & you liked the American dance pop music that was playing all over New York, then going to see 'The Last Dragon' would have been a natural extension for your weekend experience at the movies.
The story is simple- Young kung-fu master Leroy Green (Taimak) must seek his inner-self by obtaining what is called 'the glow', and is faced with wrath of a great, cheesy bad guy called Sho'nuff, along with his gang. Along the way he will learn about his family, himself, and even find love. There's plenty of side stories that include our hero, who, by the ways, eats popcorn with chopsticks. He's a modest, gentle young man who is faced with other challenges you wouldn't expect, like, for example, how to be 'black', and the fact that he's a virgin.
There is some hilarious lines, and I remember the entire theater in a riot with some of these:
Sho'nuff: Now, when I say, "Who's da mastah?" you say, "Sho'nuff!" Who's the Master?"
Leroy Green: "The truth will be revealed only to eyes unclouded by desire."
Sho'nuff: "It's mumbo jumbo like that & skinny little lizards like you thinking' they the Last Dragon that gives kung-fu a bad name."
Those who really watch Kung Fu films are in for a treat, as this one really lays on the Bruce Lee references. The villain, Sho'nuff, is a just oozing with the typical kung-fu bad guy look & sound. There are some good fighting scenes, as Taimak is really an expert in martial arts (there were some karate how to videos he did), but there is one little kid in this movie who really kicks butt. You have to see him in action to believe it.
Nope. There are no Oscar winners in here. You won't see an outstanding story line. No expensive SFX. Just a moderately low budget, flashy movie filled with that decade's influence- like bright colored clothes, neon lights, & music. It's the right blend of kung-fu, fantasy, romance and comedy together with 80's clicks and buzzes that really make this movie. If you like kung-fu, forget the nay-sayers and watch this, you won't regret.
9 out of 10
Lest we forget, this is BERRY GORDY's The Last Dragon. He was the head of
Motown Records. It has the look of a music video for a good reason, it was
produced and directed by music video people. Made to sell soundtracks like
almost every Robert Stigwood movie of the 1970s.
Tiamak play Leroy, often called Bruce LeeRoy in this movie(ouch). It's amazing that he didnt do more in Hollywood than he did, maybe it was a personal choice of his, it certainly does not seem to be because of any lack of talent. He could have been an action hero on the level of a Van Damme in my opinion (with a little acting talent added in...).
Vanity is beautiful, as usual, as the host of a TV video show, remember them? She is very easy on the eyes and the role does not require too much in the way of her acting, so she does very well.
The story line is silly and improbable. All this action and no police ever show up? The movie makers and Tiamak seem to obviously love Bruce Lee movies, and for Lee fans this was a nice way of seeing Bruce back on the big screen after 12 years or so of nothing after his death. The scene where Vanity presents Leroy with a video compilation of some of Bruce's greatest moves is a highlight of this movie.
Worth seeing. Be in a light, silly mood and you will get the most out of it. Be sarcastic and critical and you will have a miserable time. Remember, your children will laugh at your favorite movies as well.
Forget the campiness. Who cares about the less-than-Oscar-nomination acting. I never watched The Last Dragon for these reasons. I watched it because I loved the feeling and spirit. Oh, and Vanity. This movie became such a huge influence in my life that I pursued martial arts lessons so that I could be just like LeRoy Green. Now, nineteen years later, I am nearly ready for my Masters rank in the martial arts. This movie was all about basic things in life: good triumphing over evil, the importance of love, family ties, loyalty and plain, old good fun. I find it interesting that LeRoy could reach the Final Level ONLY after he had found someone else to help; i.e. Laura Charles. Rather like life should be, eh?! Love is truly the ingredient for a rich, fulfilled life. Of course, some serious kung fu adds some spice to life. Just one thing: how did LeRoy practice catching a bullet in his teeth? Did his old master train him by throwing bullets to him? Forget the hoakiness. Just enjoy this awesome (and rather poignant)film.
This movie is like a guilty pleasure- nobody really talks about it, but
every time it comes up in a crowd, within seconds people are using classic
lines like "Who's the master?" and "Hey my man, what it look like?" and
laughing like maniacs.
This was my favorite movie as a teenager and I've probably seen it 100 times. From the hilarious over-the-top performances to the hybrid karate/comedy/musical genre, it's a movie that kept me laughing the whole way through.
If you like classic movies, then don't waste your time- you'd be better off watching "The Sound of Music" for the 800th time. But if you didn't like this movie, odds are you tried not to.
If you occasionally get nostalgic for break dancing, too much
hairspray, De Barge, and Cyndi Lauper-style hair extensions, then this
movie will give you an awesome blast from the past! I watched it on a
Saturday morning and it made me feel like a kid again.
As many of the naysayers have already posted here, this ain't no bona fide martial arts flick. But it does make Tarantino-esque allusions to kung-fu pop culture- namely, Bruce Lee's films- that will be appreciated by 'true' kung-fu fans. And the fight scenes were co-choreographed by Ernie Reyes, Sr., so that gives them some credence.
In my opinion, the "worst" parts of this movie are actually the best because of their kitsch value: Prince protégé Vanity performs a ridiculously bad song and dance number; Leroy finds his inner "glow"; Sho'Nuff and his gang interrupt a screening of ENTER THE DRAGON; the list goes on. I think I'll watch it again next Saturday!
Alright, I acknowledge that there are cheezy scenes. I also realize that the "bad" singer is a Cindy Lauper clone, and that Vanity was a protege of Prince. All that aside, I think the filming was great. The scenes were well shot, the music did a terrific job of matching the scenes and setting the mood, and even the comedy helped to keep the show from being too much of a fight flick - in other words it was more real than most shows. The script was easy to follow (alright, predictable) but it's necessary to reach a broad audience. The fight coreography was well done, and Leroy's struggle to believe what everyone is trying to tell him about himself is the real jem of the show - who among us doesn't struggle with such problems at times?
Why have this movie got so long a rating? It is a clear 10/10. Probably the most funky martial arts movie ever made. An absolute 80s masterpiece. Full of honour for Bruce Lee and that period as well as containing the spirit of Van Damme and the 80s - and afro-american funk as well as saterday night fever dance movies. This movie definitely got the glow!
The Last Dragon had everything a kung fu classic should have. As a chlid this was one of my favorite films. Tamiak surpisply never did another movie but it's still a lot of fun. Soon I'll own the DVD. Check this movie out for a good time.
If you like stupid and fun movies, this is for you. Fun action, retarded yet comical performances by the cast, and a stupid but enjoyable plot. The fxs in the movie are so 80s it is insane, the costumes fall along those lines as well. If you don't like stupid fun movies (example: Evil Dead), then do not bother, but if you do like I said before, The Last Dragon is for you.
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