Thursday, September 15, 2011
Bad/awesome flixxx review: The Last Dragon (1985)
"Now, what did I tell em when they said, 'a black man with a pizza shop in Harlem?' 'Just direct-a your feets-a to Daddy Green's Pizza!'" - Daddy Green
"And in the end, Eddie, you know what? You're nothing but a misguided midget asshole with dreams of ruling the world. Yeah, also from Kew Gardens. And also getting by on my tits." - Angela
"Well, well, well. If it ain't the serious, elusive Leroy Green. I've been waiting a long time for this, Leroy. I am sick of hearing these bullshit Superman stories about the - Wassah! - legendary Bruce Leroy catching bullets with his teeth. Catches bullets with his teeth? Nigga please." - Sho'Nuff
I bought this on DVD a while back thinking I remembered seeing something about a Bruce Leroy blaxploitation movie from later in the '70s. I was a bit wrong. This was basically an attempt by Berry Gordy of Motown Records fame to sell records from some of his newer artists like De Barge with a long player music video. That's a super bastardized version of the tale tho. In actuality its a mid 80s version of a blaxploitation kung fu movie that DID use a good portion of the flick to help sell records. Doesn't mean its unwatchable though. As a matter of fact its pretty good. Directed by Michael Schultz who did CAR WASH, KRUSH GROOVE and DISORDERLIES(!), with a cameo by William H. Macy and starring a lot of unknowns I give you THE LAST DRAGON!!!!
Ok, so "Bruce Leroy" or Leroy Green is a black belt dude living in Harlem in the mid 80s. His family owns a pizza shop, and his lil brother thinks he's weird. His master has taught him all that he can teach him, so he starts his own dojo and trains a bunch of kids. One day he goes to see a viewing of ENTER THE DRAGON and this bad ass dude name Sho'Nuff busts in with his crew claiming he's the prettiest and the baddest dude around, the shogun of harlem. He challenges Leroy every chance he gets, but Leroy chooses the path of least resistance all Bruce Lee style and won't fight unless he absolutely has to, like if he needs to protect someone. Meanwhile everyone in town goes to these dances at night where local celeb Laura Charles hosts the best new dance videos around and Leroy's lil bro goes to party there.
This actor Christopher Murney (the bible salesman in MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE) (remember him for my next review as well, I've been speaking of WEIRD connecting coincidences lately and its BLOWING MY MIND) (my dad thought he was Squiggy from LAVERNE AND SHIRLEY but he isn't) plays a character named Eddie Arcadian. He's a video game entrepreneur that also tries to make money by exploiting other people's talents. Lately he's exploiting his current girlfriend Angela who is like a really bad Cyndi Lauper type character. He wants Laura Charles to play her video and he won't take no for an answer. When Laura refuses, he tries to have his goons kidnap her from the club. Leroy intervenes and disappears. BUT- he drops his amulet given to him by his master who told him the only way to reach the "final level" was to take the amulet and search the city for him.
Laura finds his amulet, Sho'Nuff comes to the dojo and embarrasses Leroy, but Leroy still won't fight him, Leroy tries to find the master at this fortune cookie factory, Eddie Arcadian keeps trying to get Laura to play the vid, and then keeps trying to kidnap her. Leroy keeps foiling his plans. He gets his amulet back. Laura asks him to be her bodyguard. She wants to bang, but he keeps getting pulled away. There are a whole lot of dance sequences. They pretty much play the whole song of "Rhythm of the Night" by De Barge. I KNOW you remember it if you grew up in the 80s. It was all over the radio. I think it may have went to #1. Anyway, Leroy finds out that the fortune cookie shop has no "master" and then he's pissed and confused. Sho'Nuff comes and tears up Daddy Green's pizza shop. Leroy goes to his master and asks him why he bullshitted him. His master says you needed something to push you because I cannot anymore. Leroy desperately wants the "glow" which is what happens when you are the best. Your hands when you are ONE of the best, your whole body when you are THE best.
So Eddie Arcadian in a last ditch effort recruits Sho'Nuff to fight Leroy because he foiled all his plans. He kidnaps Laura, and takes her to the club. Then theres a long scene where Leroy kung fu's everyone on the dance floor. Then Sho'Nuff shows up and they have the final showdown. Leroy is scared cuz Sho'Nuff's hands glow, but then he figures it out last minute and his whole being glows when he reaches the final level. Then he kicks his ass, then he catches a bullet in his teeth! Yeah! Then he learns to dance! ha. well, sort of. Ok, Lucian watched this when we were in Europe and he thought it was almost unwatchable. I say its NOT THAT BAD. I mean its bad, but its certainly watchable. Especially if you like kung fu, blaxploitation, parody, or soul hits from the 80s. I say do it!