Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Why I Love The Last Dragon & You Should Too

The Last Dragon Poster

For the latest entry in what has apparently turned into a weekly article, I decided to go with a combination of martial arts, music, and the 80's into a delightful blend of a movie.  I am talking, of course, about The Last Dragon (or if you want to be accurate Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon).  Our hero is Leroy Green, also called Bruce Leroy, who is a martial arts student training to attain The Glow, a special power that only those who have "reached the final level" can use. 

Yes, it sounds like any other cheesy kung fu flick.  And it is.  However, it isn't simply a cheesy kung fu flick.  This movie is so much more.  Here are some of the reasons why I love The Last Dragon, and you should too.

1. Taimak

The Last Dragon Leroy

The star of this movie is played by Taimak, a martial artist who should have been huge in the action world.  He should have been as big as Jean-Claude Van Damme.  For whatever reason, be it ego or simply bad timing, his star never rose.  Regardless, he shines in his role as Leroy.  You can take that literally, because of The Glow. 

2. Sho'nuff

The Last Dragon Sho'nuff

Am I the meanest?  Sho'nuff!
Am I the prettiest?  Sho'nuff!
Am I the baddest mofo low down around this town? Sho'nuff!
Well, who am I? Sho'nuff!

The Shogun of Harlem.  One of my all time favorite villains.  We find out early that Leroy and Sho'nuff already have a rivalry going, and that Leroy is thos only one standing in the way of Sho'nuff's total supremacy.

He has some amazing lines of dialogue:
"Keep your money. You just get that sucker to the designated place at the designated time, and I will gladly designate his ass… for dismemberment!"
And he can actually fight.  He isn't just all talk.

3.  The Thing in the Tank

I don't know exactly what is in there, but it's something bad.  It turns this:

The Last Dragon Evil Demon Fishtank

Into this:

Whatever it is, it is one mean fish.  And it's not very big judging from the size of the tank.  So, maybe many mean fish.  The way the water churns when the meat is lowered into the tank is astounding.  I mean, you would think that whatever in the tank would be piranhas, but the way that you never see what is in there and how vicious it/they are leads me to believe it is something far more sinister.  Like, the other bad guy Eddie Arkadian got some water demons from Lo Pan or something.

4.  The Music

The Last Dragon DeBarge

With Berry Gordy involved, you had to know this movie would have an outstanding soundtrack.  Most of the music we hear is original stuff where the singer is telling us about the plot, but the soundtrack also works as a vehicle for DeBarge's Rhythm of the Night.  In fact, there's a big scene featuring the video for the song.  The best song in the movie, however, is Dirty Books, the song that evil producer Eddie is trying to get Laura to play on her show (the same one that featured DeBarge).

5.  The Glow

The Last Dragon Leroy Glow

It shouldn't be a surprise that during the final fight with Sho'nuff, Leroy finally achieves The Glow.  And that it does exactly what you would think.  The actual surprise here is that Sho'nuff has partially attained it as well.

The Last Dragon Sho'nuff Glow

And yes, that is why Leroy gets it.  It's the only way he can beat Sho'nuff in their final showdown.  And it's pretty awesome when he does (the whole final fight is awesome, actually).  Then he ups his bad-assery with what he does with Eddie, which I will not spoil.

There is so much more to this movie, and if you have never seen it before, or never even heard of it before today, I implore you to check it out.  Just be prepared to be crane kicked in the face by the 80's if you do.