Tuesday, September 27, 2011
The Last Dragon
Plot Synopsis: A young man searches for the "master" to obtain the final level of martial arts mastery known as the glow. Along the way he must fight an evil martial arts expert and rescue a beautiful singer.
I must put this disclaimer up right off. The names, dialogue, and plot have not been changed in this blog to protect the innocent. This is actually a detailed description of this film!
Do you know who Barry Gordy is? He's the genius behind Motown Records. Well, back in the 80's he decided he wanted to be the genius behind Kung Fu films. He should have stuck with music. Let it be known however I saw this film when I was a little kid, and did like it. I still smile when I watch it today.
The Last Dragon is the story of Leroy Green A.K.A Bruce Leroy. A African American master of the martial arts. We know he's a tough guy because he walks around Harlem wearing a rice picker hat, kung fu uniform, and eats his popcorn out of a pox with chop sticks. Turns out that he has just completed his training, and must now go off in search of the final piece of martial arts mastery. The Glow. Sidebar. I studied various form of martial arts for the better part of 15 years of my life. I still to this day have never achieved the glow. Turns out when your a true master you will glow. Yup like glow in the dark. Your body will become outlined in a bright glow.
So Leroy is sitting at a theatre on 42nd street in Harlem, eating his popcorn with his chopsticks and watching Enter The Dragon when suddenly Sho Nuff, The Shogun of Harlem walks in. He's flanked by his gang, who look like kung fu rejects from Breaken 2 Electric Boogalo. Sho Nuf is decked out in Akido pants, a red and black kung fu style shirt complete with shoulder pads, a red sun headband, and purple visor glasses. Yes the kind that look like a pair of window blinds. He wants to fight Bruce Leroy to prove he's the real master. Not sure why though. You think he would want Leroy walking around Harlem as it would draw the attention away from his ugly choice of outfits. Also just who is Sho Nuff? He's a bad guy obviously, but he doesn't run the town, or run drugs, or smuggle weapons, or operate an underground fight club. He must just be a guy who beats other people up because he was probably always laughed at for his poor choice of outfits. But Leroy doesn't want to fight him and walks off. But don't worry, this is an action film so Sho Nuff beats up a bunch of people in the theatre who tell him to be quiet.
Meanwhile across town Laura Charles, played by coked out 80's star Vanity it preparing to host her dance and video Soul Train type show when she learns a local mob boss Eddie Arcadian wants her to play his girlfriends music videos. Well mob boss may be a strong term. I say that because it's never said what type of criminal he is. I think we are just to assume he's some type of underworld boss as he has henchmen, and a piranha in his fish tank. Well the girls videos are awful so she wont play them. He is just about to have her roughed up when Bruce Leroy saves the day, then runs off. He is awkward around girls. Actually he is awkward around everyone. Even his kid broth makes fun of him.
Turns out Leroy is also a thief as he seems to own a Kung Fu school in Watts. Maybe he purchased it from the Black Belt Jones estate. Anyway hes teaching the students, what he learned from his teacher. Not cool, but hey chop sticks don't pay for themselves. So during class Sho Nuff shows up and Leroy still wont fight him. One of Leroy's students trys to stick up for him, but Sho Nuff grabs the guy and puts him in a choke and tells Leroy, and this is a direct quote. "Come on Coolie, get on your knees and kiss my Converse." Leroy doesn't want his student to get hurt so he does. Another side note. Why would you take martial arts and let some guy push you around like that?
Meanwhile Eddie Arcadian goons try to grab Laura again, but shes once again saved by Leroy. Let's see this guy will beat down people to protect a stranger, but wont fight someone who is trying to hurt his friend. While Leroy is busy watching Bruce Lee videos set to a Motown soundtrack with Laura Sho Nuff and his gang decide to pay Leroy's parents Pizza Shop a visit. Daddy Greens Pizza. Yes, that's the name. And the stores motto is "Directa your feetsa to Daddy Greens Pizza" They trash the the place, and even break the juke box. And for some reason they just yell at Leroy for not fighting him, they don't even bother to call the cops.
So now Eddie Arcadian decides he better hire more henchmen to fight Leroy, and who is one of these henchmen you ask? Sho Nuff. So Eddie kidnaps Laura as a trap to lure Leroy into saving her. So Leroy goes to the abandond music studio and has to fight like 100 guys, don't worry though, because Leroy's entire school shows up, and at the same time all the strobe lights and floor lights come on, as we have a huge disco style fight scene set to break dancing music. Of course the last guy Leroy fight is Sho Nuff, who, whats this is glowing Red! Guess Sho Nuff is the master. But wait, whats this, now Leroy has the glow, all he had to do was believe in himself. His glow is yellow, so he starts beating down Sho Nuff, who glow starts breaking apart. Just then Edie finally does what he should have don in the beginning and shoot Leroy, but wait Leroy has the glow so he has caught the bullet in this teeth, and ties Eddie up for the police. Which leads to this other question. Why didn't he just call the cops in the first place and say "He this dude kidnapped this lady and he holding her at her place of work." Ohh well. Leroy Kisses Laura and more Motown Music plays.
Yes, this is really what happened. I have made nothing up. There is even a silly as hell subplot with Leroy going to a fortune cookie factory run by a bunch of Asian guys who act black, and in one scene even try to get Leroy to teach them how to play craps. Sho Nuff is a very cool character, who has achieved cult status over the years. Go to You Tube and type in Sho Nuff, there are even fan made tribute videos of him. There was talk a few years back about remaking this with Sam Jackson starring as Sho Nuff. Bad idea. Like I said, I saw this when I was a little kid and did like it. I like it now mostly for the cheese factor. If you liked it when you were young, pick up the 8.00 DVD. If you've never seen it, you probably should not buy it, but definitely check it out, even if it's just for a good laugh.
Overall 2 out of 5 Stars!