Flashback to The Last Dragon (1985)

Plot: In New York City, 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 from an obsessed music promoter.

The Last Dragon is such an 80’s film and even today it remains a helluva lot of fun. The best thing about it is the over the top characters, especially the scene stealing villain Sho’nuff AKA The Shogun of Harlem, played by the late great Julius Carry. He eats up the screen and manages to be funny, but also intimidating at the same time.

Taimak is our hero Leroy Green; a naïve but likeable dork who just so happens to be a top notch martial artist. Leroy speaks in an almost Old World fashion and is seen as a bit weird by the locals due to his eccentricity.

He is a man of honour though and tries to avoid violence if necessary, but when he sees a damsel in distress, he can’t help himself and must save her. His quest in this movie involves trying to achieve “The Glow” which would mean he has officially become a Master; so he sets off around New York to make his dream a reality.

Leroy’s nickname is “Bruce Leroy” due to him being an obsessive Bruce Lee fan and this really makes the film feel like an homage to Bruce, with lots of references to Enter the Dragon.

There are a bit too many scenes involving rather lame music which go on for too long, killing the pacing but when the fights happen, they are pretty awesome. Taimak studied Chinese goju, goju-ryu, taekwondo and jujitsu so watching him fight is impressive.

The final battle between Leroy and Sho’Nuff is nicely done with a satisfying outcome too.

There has been recent talk of a sequel which would be pretty cool but I don’t know how you could do a similar movie and make it work in a modern setting. It’s very much a product of the 80’s and I think too much time has passed for a follow up.

Overall, The Last Dragon is a difficult film to dislike simply because of its sense of fun and likeable cast. The music and pacing let it down in places but it’s no wonder it has such a huge following. Definitely worth checking out.