Monday, February 9, 2009

The Last Dragon (1985)

Director: Michael Schultz

Starring: Taimak, Vanity, Julius Carry

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: He's a martial arts master who refuses to fight. He's a Bruce Lee fan who's so sure he's Oriental that he eats popcorn with chopsticks. His friends think he's too serious. His family thinks he's crazy. His enemies think he's no challenge. But she knows he's THE LAST DRAGON.

Plot: 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 an evil martial arts expert and an rescue a beautiful singer from an obsessed music promoter.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Would I watch it again? In due time

THIS MOVIE IS ALMOST TWO HOURS LONG...and it's a lot of fun. Well, it's a lot of fun with friends. I don't think I could enjoy this one alone. I'll often criticize a film for it's length because it's dull. That's not the case here but it should still be trimmed down some. There are some music videos (one by DeBarge! Christ! That took me back) that are completely unnecessary and are only there to sell the artist.

Julius Carey is a fucking riot as Sho'nuff. Everything he says and does is priceless. The problem is that he's barely in it - the beginning, some middle and the end. That's it! I mean WTF? Here's a taste:

- Well, well, well. If it isn't the serious, elusive Leroy Green. I've been waiting a long time for this, Leroy. I am sick and tired of hearing these bullshit Superman stories about the wassa legendary Bruce Leroy catching bullets with his teeth. Catches bullets with his teeth? Nigga please.

- You just get that sucker to the designated place at the designated time, and I will gladly designate his ass... for dismemberment!

His grand entrance in the movie theater is just too funny. There's so much outrageousness going on you can't soak it in with just one viewing. I mean they're kicking a little kid's ass, knocking people around, imitating Bruce Lee's moves on the screen. You've got fat male bikers wearing pink half shirts, trannies and the main character, Bruce Leroy Green (Taimak), eating popcorn with chopsticks. Classic stupid fun.

Meet the villains from SUPERMAN II

Now then, I've never seen Taimak in anything before so I don't know if his Michael Jackson voice is for real or for the movie but it's gay. His kung fu kicks ass. There's even some little kids that kick ass. Leroy's little brother, Ritchie (Leo O'Brien) was pretty funny. He's something like 10 going on 30 but he delivers his lines like a pro. One of Leroy's students stole the show - Glen Eaton as Johnny Yu. This guy was classic and had a good sense of comedic timing. He's only done one other film besides this one.

And then there's Vanity. Mmmmmmm...Vanity. Niiiiiiice. OK, she's a cutie and she's pretty good in this. You can tell she's more of a performer than an actor. That's OK. Given what this movie is and what it isn't trying to be she does just fine. The corporate villain and his henchmen are the kind of stupid over-the-top silly portrayals I can't stand and that's probably the worst part of the film is getting through their scenes. William H. Macy shows up in a loud, puffy 80s jacket and look quick for a mustachioed Chaz Palminteri. You won't recognize him.

Vanity's song and dance routine is so 80s cheezy that, with more than 20 years to look back on, is bad enough to be entertaining with the right crowd. And that pretty much sums it up for the entire film. It's so bad and cheesy and it's so 80s fashion & music-centric that it's easy to laugh at now. Some of the laughs are intentional and many are not. This is definitely a group experience. If Sho'nuff were in this more with less music video nonsense then I could be fully on board for this one. Oh, well, them's tha breaks.

1 comment:

  1. The Last Dragon is a classic that has a huge cult following. The more you watch it the more you will love it. Obviously I love the film, but you are bang on about Sho'nuff. Would have been great to see way more of him!! Johnny Yu was also very good. After not hearing from Glen Eaton, the guy who played him, for over 20 years I just recently found him on YouTube starring in a Short Film that he co-wrote called "Duplicate". It is actually quite good. Check it out from my Blog dedicated to The Last Dragon: