THE GREATEST MOVIE OF ALL-TIME?
Yeah that's right. The Last Dragon is the Greatest of All-Time. Why? For me there are so many reasons. One simple one- The Last Dragon has character! It shouldn't be taken at face value. At first glance you see a cheesy 80's kung fu movie but beneath the surface we find a very spiritual, inspiring and uplifting film. What people don't realize is that it is purposely made to make fun of itself. It's a tribute to Bruce Lee, Martial Arts Movies, the 80s, Motown, Blaxploitation & Chinese philosophy. It demonstrates why we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, or in other words why we shouldn't stereotype- never underestimate or overestimate someone or something based on its appearance. Just like Martin Luther King Jr. said this movie should be judged by the quality of its character. Below is an analysis of Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon that provides some of the other reasons why The Last Dragon is the Greatest Movie of All-Time.
Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon is a comic book come to life. It is a fun, action filled fairy tale like story of Good vs. Evil. I call it a kung-fu/motown/fairy tale. Directed by Michael Shultz, Written by Louis Venosta and Produced by Rupert Hitzig. It is the story of Leroy Green Jr. (Taimak) a young quietly heroic character who aspires to reach the final level in his martial arts teachings. Along the way he learns that love, fear, confusion and vengeance are all parts of life he must embrace before he realizes that the key to the final level and the magical glow comes from within.
When you first mention The Last Dragon many people don't have a clue to what movie you are talking about, but mention one of the characters- Sho'nuff!, Bruce Leroy or Vanity all of a sudden people are like "oh yeah!" and start dropping lines like "Who's the Master!?!" or "Just direct-a your feetza to Daddy Green's Pizza".
The characters are unique and over the top. Even the secondary characters bring back great memories.
Leroy's jive talking little brother who is cooler and knows more about
sex than his brother. In one scene he famously "pops and locks" his way
out of the ropes he is tied up in .
- one of Leroy's Kung Fu students who claims to have mastered "the art of fighting without knowing how to fight"
- young black belt Ernie Reyes Jr.'s first acting role, who went on to star in "The Last Electric Knight" and it's TV Spin off "SideKicks" (beside Gil "Buck Rogers" Gerrard), "The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" Movies, and plays the little guy who beats on the Rock in "The Rundown"
Eddie Arkadian- "the heavy dude" that wants his girlfriend's video played by Laura Charles in "the worst way". He is a napoleon complex having Arcade King from Kew Gardens with dreams of ruling the world
Angela- Eddie's girlfriend- the Cindy Lauper like wanna be rock star also from Kew Gardens
Sho'nuff's lackeys like Beast, Crunch and Cyclone in their urban samurai outfits who are always there to caress Sho's ego by answering Sho'NUFF! To anything Sho'nuff says. i.e.: Am the prettiest? Am I the meanest? Am I the baddest mofo low down around this town? Who am I? etc...
Arkadian's thugs like Rock played by Mike Starr (Mobster in Dumb and Dumber) and Hood #2 played by Chazz Palminteri- the limo driving thug who gets his ass kicked by Leroy while trying to kidnap Laura Charles
In one of his first roles William
H. Macy plays Laura Charles' producer who begs her to meet with Eddie
Arcadian or else he’s gonna get it. He tells Laura “there is a point. The point
of a knife that is pointed at this point on my neck, he'll slit my throat if
you don't do this for me.”
One of Richie's friends is played by a young Carl Anthony Payne II who later starred along side Martin Lawrence as Cole on "Martin" and played "Cockroach" on the Cosby Show.
Leroy's little sister is played by a very young Keshia Knight Pulliam who played Rudy also on the Cosby Show.
THE LAST DRAGON CAST:
Julius J. Carry III - Sho' Nuff!
Vanity - Laura Charles
Christopher Murney - Eddie Arkadian
Faith Prince - Angela
Leo O'Brien - Richie Green
Mike Starr - Rock
Jim Mood - Leroy "Daddy" Green Sr.
Glen Eaton - Johnny Yu
Ernie Reyes Jr. - Tai
Roger Campbell - Announcer
Esther Marrow - Mama Green
Keshia Knight-Pulliam - Leroy's Little sis with multiple names
William H. Macy- J.J.
Chazz Palminteri- Hood#2
Carl Anthony Payne II- Kid in Pizza Shop
Vanity plays a beautiful singer and DJ at 7th Heaven, Laura Charles. If you where a teen aged boy or kid like I was in the 80's it hard not to have found memories of Vanity, man was she beautiful. She pulls of this role with a sexy, flirtatious, confidence. She is a huge part to what makes this movie so memorable. You feel good for Leroy when he wins the fight and gets the girl because the girl is Vanity. Learn more and find out whatever happened to Vanity..
Who's the Master?!?!? A 6'5" charismatic but totally arrogant dude with a bad attitude, big hair, shoulder pads, funky shade glasses, crazy samurai outfits and the martial arts moves to back up his big talks. He takes over every scene. Every move he makes and word he says is hilarious. From "Kiss my converse!" to claiming he's the "Shogun of Harlem" and the "Prettiest, Baddest mofo low down around this town" this character has to go down as one of the greatest Villains of all time right up there with the likes of Darth Vader and Heath Ledger's Joker. Julius J. Carry III who played Sho'nuff passed away in 2008 but his memory lives on as the unforgettable Villain in the Last Dragon. Find out whatever happened to Sho nuff...
"Bruce" Leroy Green Jr. is the ultimate nice guy. It's hard not to root for him. He's corny, thinks he's the Black Bruce Lee, eats popcorn with chopsticks, doesn't always know the right thing to say and dresses like a Chinese peasant but he has huge heart and really kicks some ass when push comes to shove. He proves that nice guys don't always finish last. He's actually only referred to as Bruce Leroy in one scene but that's how people remember his character, the movie and the man who played him. Taimak actually learned to act on set. He was an accomplished Martial Artist but this was his first movie role. Find out whatever happened to Taimak...
A large portion of 80's Black urban culture was obsessed with Kung Fu. The Last Dragon gave us something very rare back then and even today- a Black (biracial) superhero. Add some great kung fu, an unforgettable scene stealing Black villain, a beautiful Black (also biracial) love interest then throw in a little spirituality/mythology, break dancing and Motown music and what do you have- an instant classic. The kind of movie that kids watch over and over again. To this day kids still love The Last Dragon- when I showed it to my little cousins they loved it!
The Last Dragon truly captured 80's black culture. The seemingly mismatched Motown meets kung fu theme was actually a perfect fit. This match made in heaven may have been missed by the critics at the time, but ask anybody that was raised in the 80's and they will remember and probably love this movie. In fact, until recently The Last Dragon was highest grossing kung fu movie of all time! Watch The Last Dragon from our Blog to see what I am taking about.
The Last Dragon contains some of the most memorable quotes in movie history. Gems like "Who's the Master", "Just direct-a your feet-za to Daddy Green's pizza",
"Kiss my Converse!", "Can you show me some moves?" and "Catches Bullets with his teeth! N**ga PLEASE!" I've assembled hands down the largest and Best list of Last Dragon Quotes on the internet in the Last Dragon Quotes
Remember "You are the Last Dragon, you possess the power of the Glow"? no? well how about "Dancing to the Rhythm of the Night" by El Debarge it was made for this movie. This is where the Motown comes in and a big part of what makes this movie so classic. The soundtrack really captures the feel of 80's black culture. The soundtrack is a vibrant mix of R&B and Hip Hop from the time which includes hits from Vanity, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Debarge, Smokey Robinson and Willie Hutch. See a list of the songs on the soundtrack and watch music videos on the Last Dragon Soundtrack page.
How cool is the glow, personally I am still looking for mine. Leroy describes the glow as "the final level where the spirit takes over from the mind and guides the body without thought". Leroy's quest for the glow shows us how we need to find balance to be truly happy. We need to face our fears, recognize our value and believe in ourselves to reach our goals. Most of the time the answers to the most difficult problems lie within. The Glow has become so popular that it is commonly referred to in pop culture i.e: "I Got the Glow like Bruce Leeroy". Just do a search on Twitter for Bruce Leroy or Bruce Leeroy and you'll see what I'm talking about.
NOW DO YOU SEE WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT?
When you look past the on purpose 80's cheese of the movie and give it a chance, you see an entertaining mix of spirituality, family values, friendship, self-respect, discipline, love, comedy, great music, classic lines, memorable characters and off course some great martial arts action.
You need to give this movie a chance; see beyond it's packaging and see it's true character. Just like we need to give people a chance to show their true character, not judge people through their racial, cultural, religious or physical differences. If your going to dislike somebody dislike them for their character not the physical characteristics that make them different from you... a little off topic but you see what I am getting at.