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The Last Dragon

The Last Dragon

He Said, She Said Review Site

What He said:

Who’s the master?”  Haha, that’s the first thing that comes to my mind whenever I think of this movie. If you’ve never seen it, you have no idea what I’m talking about (don’t worry I’ll explain). If you have, you’re probably smiling like a boob just like I am at this very minute.


I used to have this buddy who lived down the street from me. His family either had some movie channels with their cable package or rented a lot more movies than we did. It might have been both. I forget. What I do remember is that found out and saw a lot of movies I never heard of because of him. He’d tell me I’d just have to see this awesome movie he saw or show me when I was over his house. This was one of those gems I never heard of, but was grateful for him having introduced me to it.

The Last Dragon

The 80s brought us many things. Colorful clothing, interesting music, and an increased in martial arts were amongst those things. It’s not that interest in the martial arts didn’t exist before or after that time period, but in the 80s, in urban environments, they became a subculture. It was this weird combination of martial arts traditions blended with boom boxes, awful clothing, and this notion that we were all experts in the martial arts because we dressed the part.

Leroy Green – known as Bruce Leroy on the streets – is a teenaged martial arts master from New York City. At least I think he’s a teenager, that part is not totally clear. He appears to be at times – he lives with his parents, looks young, has never had a girlfriend – but also owns his own martial arts studio.  I never quite figured that part out. He’s obviously a student with his own master, but apparently a master to several dozen students, as well as an entrepreneur.  I never noticed it before, but having seen the movie recently as an adult, I noticed it.

The Last Dragon

So anyway, Leroy (Taimak) has recently passed a test placed before him by his Master (Thomas Ikeda). He is now one step away from The Final Step - and becoming the greatest martial artist in the world. His Master tells him he cannot teach him anything else and that the only way to achieve the final step is to seek out the teachings of Master Sum Dum Goy. Leroy is ecstatic at this and immediately begins the final leg in his journey.

Life never cooperates though and Leroy will face many obstacles on his way to achieving his goal.

First thing standing in his way is local gang leader Sho'nuff. The name alone should tell you something about this guy. This jive-talking Kung-Fu practitioner refers to himself as the Shogun of Harlem. He considers himself the baddest guy in town and wants to fight Leroy because word on the street is Leroy is the only guy who stands in his way as far as proving his claim of being undisputed king of the streets. Problem for Sho'nuff (Julius J. Carry III) is that Leroy isn't taking the bait. Leroy is a peaceful warrior and does not fight for things like bragging rights. As a result, Sho'nuff will do anything to goad him into a fight.

The Last Dragon

Leroy also gets distracted by the lady of his dreams. Laura Charles (Vanity) is the host of the hottest show in town - 7th Heaven. It's a dance show that shows all the most popular music videos, while young whipper snappers dance until they can't dance no more. Leroy is not a man of the world, and has no idea of her celebrity status, but sees her one day and instantly falls in love.

Laura is also the object of his little - and much cooler - brother's affections. Richie (Leo O’Brien) is the exact opposite of Leroy. Leroy is peaceful, thinks of others, and is completely oblivious of pop culture. Richie is hip, cool, and a lot more “normal” than his brother.

Laura has recently run into trouble with video producer and small time mobster, Eddie Arkadian (Chris Murney). Arkadian is a wannabe more than anything else, but he is dangerous. He's nuts and has a small crew to back up his wishes; which are to show Laura his girlfriend's crappy music videos and convince her to play them on her show. He will stop at nothing to get Laura's attention, kidnapping included.

The Last Dragon

Leroy must fend off Sho'nuff's threats, as well as rescue the lovely Laura Charles from the crooked "business man" that is Eddie Arkadian.  Oh yeah, and he's still searching for that final step in the process to becoming a martial arts master.

The guy's got a lot on his plate.

There’s a few different things this movie has going for it.

The Last Dragon

First of all, it’s got not one, but two people with one name. Both the male and female lead are named Taimak and Vanity respectively. There’s a certain je ne sais quoi factor going on there. It takes a bit of swagger to go by one name, but to have two people with one name in the same movie? That’s just off-the-charts cool.

The Last Dragon

Additionally, this movie is funny. Taimak (seriously, who does this guy think he is with that name) plays the duel nature of Leroy Green pretty well. The guy is an expert with his hands and feet, but refuses to throw the first punch. Hell, he doesn’t even throw the second or third punch at times. He’s also very naïve in the ways of the world. One might even call him a bit of a doofus. Vanity plays his opposite, love interest, and damsel in distress well too. The movie was quite obviously a vehicle for the both of them. Somebody thought they were going to be big. Julius J. Carry III and Leo O’Brien steal the show though. These two are absolutely hilarious. Throw in the guy playing Arkadian as the sleazy and crazy – but wimpy – brains behind it all, and you’ve got yourself an entertaining little movie.

Kung-Fu, music videos, a little bit of fantasy, and Harlem might not sound like they blend together very well, but the 80s made many things possible. Premises like this are one of them. You’ve got to love that 80s cheese.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was given the He said, She said seal of approval on June 26, 2014.