I sought the Master and have found him!
If you haven’t ever wanted to be a badass, you will after seeing this film. To learn how just take your cue from any of the baddasses–and yes, I do mean multiple baddasses. This parade of badassery includes: Taimak, Vanity, Faith Prince, Mike Starr, Julius J. Carry, III and the coolest kung fu kid ever, Ernie Reyes Jr.–you know, the kid from Red Sonja! There’s a reason why Motown CEO Berry Gordon and Michael Schultz gathered to create this outrageous kung fu-80s-harlem-cult-classic-bonanza, The Last Dragon.
There’s also a reason why Busta Rhymes, badass that he is, pays homage to Carry’s character Sno’Nuff in his music video for “Dangerous.” The line quoted? “Who’s the baddest mo-fo, low down, around this town? Sno’nuff.” Perhaps now I have gotten across to you the badass foundation and now the review can continue.
Raised in Harlem by the only Black family to own a pizza place that has the mantra, “Just Direct-a your feet-sa to Daddy Green’s Pizza,” Bruce Leroy (Taimak), a dojo master and biggest Bruce Lee Fan ever, is in search for the master Sum Dum Goy to learn the “glow” which will make him a fighting master. Along the way he falls in love with VJ Laura Charles (Vanity) who is sought after by the Arcade King Eddie Arkadian (Christopher Murney) who hires Sno’nuff to kick Bruce’s ass. Complicated enough? Add in a dash of family problems, Debarge’s entire music video “In The Rhythm of the Night,” and William H. Macy as a make-up artist and you have both confusion and a Cult Classic on your hands.
Granted, the 1980s was somewhat about karate films, but The Last Dragon is all about being black and badass while knowing a little kung fu. Oh yes, after seeing this film you will replace “Shaft, Shut-yo’-mouth” with “Am I the prettiest? Sno’nuff! The Shogun of Harlem,” in your pop-culture vocabulary. I’m not saying Shaft could kick Sno-nuff’s ass, but ask yourself one question: does Shaft have a posse of “street thugs,” wear decorative football gear, or glow RED when he is kicking your ass, all while having the balls to declare himself the Shogun of Harlem? Nuff said.
So go buy this movie so that you can ask yourself: “When will I reach the upper level for my mind, body, and soul to become one?” and “Who got Asians in my African Americans, I mean African Americans in my Asians?”
Directed by: Michael A. Schultz (also brought us Tarzan in Manhattan, Which Way is Up?, Cooley High, and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club)
Written by: Louis Venosta (who other than this film was a dancer in Fame)
Cast: Taimak (a bartender on 90210), Vanity (Soul Train), Faith Prince (A lot of TV), Mike Starr (The Money Pit, Summer of Sam, The Black Dahlia), Julius J. Carry III (Boy Meets World,Murphy Brown), Ernie Reyes Jr. (Surf Ninjas, TMNT II, Red Sonja), Keshia Knight Pulliam (Cosby Show and Different World), William H. Macy (this man doesn’t need a reference)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 109 minutes
Average Film Rating: 5 out of 10
Bad B-Movie Rating: 8 out of 10
Bob-o-Meter Rating: My Eyes!!!… Why!?… Meh… Good… Great… Yes!… Badass… Awesome… Holy Shit, Man!