Monday, December 7, 2015

Movie #338: The Last Dragon

The Last Dragon is...well, it lives somewhere between chop-socky, blaxploitation, and concentrated 80s. It stars Taimak, Vanity, Julius J. Carry III, Chris Murney, Faith Prince, and Leo O'Brien.

We open with Leroy Green (Taimak), known to the residents of Chinatown as "Bruce Leroy" finishing his martial arts training and leaving his master (Thomas Ikeda) to find "the Glow," a mystical martial arts woogie power. Here's the thing: Leroy is black, lives in Harlem, and his family doesn't understand his obsession with meditation and martial arts, nor why he talks like a mentally challenged white dude.

But never mind that. The evil Sho'Nuff (Carry III), the self-styled Shogun of Harlem, who romps around with a gang wearing weird costumes, wants to fight Leroy to establish himself as the master. And, elsewhere, slimy producer Eddie Arkadian (Murney) wants to blackmail lovely Lisa Charles (Vanity) into broadcasting his girlfriend Angela's (Prince) tacky-ass video on her dance show.

Of course this all comes down to a fight between Sho'Nuff and Leroy, and...well, look, I can't possibly explain this.

OK, straight up, this movie is terrible. It's very watchable, of course, and it's funny as hell, in a "what the actual fuck" kind of way. But it's terrible. It's got too many characters, everything is way over the top, the music is god-awful (seriously, the best song in it is "Rhythm of the Night"), and there's a sea monster in a tank that violates the Chekov's Gun rule. Sho'Nuff is the most memorable thing in the movie, and the best moment is Angela walking out on Eddie.

The martial arts aren't terrible (Taimak is actually a martial artist), fight scenes are OK, and watch for cameo roles from young William H. Macy and Chazz Palminteri.

My grade: D
Rewatch value: Medium-high, I think

Next up: Last Man Standing