Sunday, August 29, 2010

#67 - The Last Dragon - 1985

The 4th movie I watched this week is the lovely classic "The Last Dragon" or as some refer to as "Berry Gordon's The Last Dragon". I reviewed this movie back in March so I have attached some of those comments with new ones for a new and more detailed review. I remember watching this one when I was in my New Edition, Ready for the World, Breakin 2 Electric Bugaloo phase. I loved this movie and although I hadn't seen it for awhile I was excited to see it again and loved it just as much as I used to before. I remember seeing this movie when it was available for rental back when I was around 10 or 11 maybe a bit older and I loved this movie, I would watch it over and over and just loved it. Come to find out, I wasn't the only one. This movie would regularly be sold out at the local movie joint and as I grew older I came to learn this was sort of a cult classic, a Kung Fu cult classic. To this day I love watching this movie and for someone who is not at all interested in martial arts that is saying a lot. Below is my detailed review.

This film's star was named Leroy Green and was played by an actor named Tamik. I don't believe this actor has gone on to do much else but I'm sure he will always be remembered for his role in this film. He had such a quiet, respectful, and gracious way about him and that helped shape his role for this character even though he was a kung fu king or master some might say. The character Richie Green was excellent in the film as the sarcastic, blunt, loud mouth younger brother of the Last Dragon (Leroy) but lets be honest the show stopper of this film was Sho'nuff played by Julius Carry. His charisma and screen presence made him the perfect villain for this movie.

The other main stars in this film were Vanity as Laura Charles and an array of others like the good guys, bad guys, family members, and security guards but mostly Leroy Green, Laura Charles, and Sho'nuff dominated this film. As I usually do in most films I'm always amused by some actors who I see in this older movies with smaller parts and that is no different in this one. William H Macy played the role of Laura Charles agent although it was a small role indeed it was still quite odd to see him in such a small role. Other notable actors in this film in small roles was Chazz Palminteri as a limo driver and The Cosby Show's Rudy, Keisha Knight Pulliam as Leroy's sister.

As for the movie itself. Here is the basic jist of this film and the storyline it follows. Leroy Green is a quiet unassuming Kung Fu fighter. He is well known in the community for being a great Kung Fu fighter and this upsets the local bully and bad guy Sho'Nuff and his gang of scoundrels. Leroy's brother Richie is obsessed and in love with TV dance show's 7th Heaven host Laura Charles. Eddie Arkadian is a music producer who feels his girlfriend Angie has star potential and he kidnaps Laura and attempts to force her to play Angie's video on 7th Heaven. There are several instances where Leroy comes to Laura's defense and save's her and this leads Eddie to go out and find someone to take down Leroy, hence Sho'Nuff is called in.

The Last Dragon had martial arts influence, excellent music, a love story, and a final battle scene that was amazing. Like I said it was a classic good vs evil and the movie rarely lagged at any part. The characters were so unique and different and the way they all intertwined to come together was great. None of this would have worked had a mediocre cast been casted but all of the characters were great in their roles especially the hero, the villain, and the girl. Vanity was gorgeous as the entertainer Laura Charles and Taimak's innocence as Leroy Green made his transformation throughout the movie that much more magical.

The music for this film was excellent and I currently have several songs for this soundtrack on my ipod right now! My favorite tracks were Vanity's 7th Heaven and Dwight David's The Last Dragon. Vanity's song 7th Heaven is played earlier in the film and is extremely catchy. I especially dug her monster like dance moves and it reminded me of something out of a Michael Jackson Thriller movie. Very cool and hip. The second track The Last Dragon was most memorable to me because it was at the end of the film during the epic battle between Leroy and Sho'Nuff. I could never hear this song again in my life without thinking of this movie and particularly that final battle scene. I love when music does that to you and becomes that memorable. Its awesome!

There were a lot of great scenes in this film but some that were just funny to me and others that I couldn't figure out. Here are some of the ones I am talking about. Lets start with Sho'Nuff's red dot on his glasses. What is this for? Looks funny to me. In the beginning of the film there is a sequence that takes place in a movie theater and there is a transvestite. Why? Were they popular back in 1985? Heck have they ever been popular anywhere other than West Hollywood?? Personally I don't think this needed to be added to the film. All of Angie's outfits in the film were quite funny to me especially the head light outfits where two big headlights covered her breasts. haha. Very funny. Leroy's Asian friend was funny especially when he called Sho'Nuff a string bean Rick James looking fool. Too funny!! I also like the El Debarge video clips and song they played in this movie for Rhythm of the Night. I loved how the Green family had breakfast for dinner. I just had to say that and yes it makes me want to make breakfast for dinner, I love breakfast for dinner!!

Ok now onto Vanity. I have to admit when I saw this film I began to have a major crush on Vanity. She is gorgeous and she was amazing in this film. I loved when she told Leroy she was looking for a bodyguard and said so seductively "some to guard my body". The she tells him "you look like a master to me". She was great throughout and made a perfect female interest in this film and main female lead. Her dancing, singing, and acting were great in this movie. One of my favorite scenes with her besides the dancing and singing one of 7th Heaven at the beginning was when she was showing Leroy the Bruce Lee video clips before the kissed. Love that scene.

Leroy Green really makes this movie and heck its called the Last Dragon and that's him so it should be that way, right? I loved how he was always so calm throughout the film. There were several scenes that he didn't even flinch at Sho'Nuff's fake punches to him, he just stared and looked at him. That was pretty cool. My favorite scene though was obviously the final battle scene which I speak of so much in this blog. It is easily one of my favorite battle scene's in a movie of all time and it is pure brilliance. Leroy obviously defeats Sho'Nuff and even catches a bullet from Eddie Arkadian after wards. Glowing and all, Leroy's Kung Fu skills in the final battle prove to be too much for the almighty Sho'Nuff and he takes down the bad guys and gets the girl. He even asks Vanity while all donned out in a White Suit holding flowers for her to "show me some moves". Great ending for this great great film!

All in all this movie was enjoyable throughout and it led up to that epic battle at the end that I'm sure most will enjoy. There isn't much I would have changed about this movie and I hear that a remake is already in the works and the name Rhianna is already being tossed around as one of the actresses, no doubt as Laura Charles character and she would be perfect for that. Ill be very interested to see who they cast as Leroy and Sho'nuff. Time to start surfing the web and checking out the rumor mill for that. For this one I give it an easy A!

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