Saturday, May 25, 2013
Who is the baddest character until Jules Winnfield? Sho'nuff
The Last Dragon is best known for the hyperbolic characters, fortune cookie wisdom, 80s hair and outfits, and ridiculous dialogue than the story and martial arts scenes. Leroy Green, also known as Bruce Leroy (Taimak), searches for a master to teach him the "final level" of his martial arts training. He seeks the glow, a mysterious kung fu power Green is to discover "by the appearance of a sublime glow all over (his) body." Unfortunately, his journey sets himself against powerful enemies like the crook Eddie Arkadian (Christopher Murney) and Sho'nuff, the self-proclaimed Shogun of Harlem (Julius Carry).
Not everyone he runs into wants to beat him. Popular dance show host Laura Charles (Vanity) is the damsel in distress that Green saves. Her show, Seventh Heaven, show entire videos in spots, including El Debarge's Rhythm of the Night. Charles shows interest in him almost immediately, but his desire for the glow is his sole focus. He runs into Arkadian and Sho'nuff often and always manages to find ways to avoid fighting Sho'nuff and defeating Arkadian every time. Eventually, at the film's end, he is forced to stand up to Sho'nuff. Can he discover the glow and defeat the magnetic presence of Sho'nuff?
Sho'nuff is clearly the star of the picture. He has Bubba Smith's size, Rick James' look, and Mr. T's attitude all in one bad-ass package. It was cool to see William H. Macy and Chazz Palminteri as younger men. Ernie Reyes Jr. was also in it. He starred later in a TV show that I enjoyed called Sidekicks. The cheesiness of this film cannot be denied, and there are certainly dry spots throughout. However, the sum of its parts makes for some entertaining 'only in the 80s' film moments that sparked nostalgia. If it wasn't for this, The Last Dragon would rate far lower.
Rating - 2 and 1/2 Stars