Michelle reviews the '80s cult hit, The Last Dragon.
Black martial artists in films roles have been few and far between and this was even more noticeable in the 1980s. The Last Dragon aimed to change this with an earnest effort to cater to a diverse audience by casting a young black man in the role of the Kung-fu protagonist. The film centers around the trials of a teenager named Leroy Green (Taimak) who has been learning martial arts underneath a Chinese Zen master in order to be more like his idol Bruce Lee. Unfortunately, his excellent fighting prowess comes to the attention of the so-called "Shogun of Harlem" Sho'nuff (Julius J. Carry III) which proves to be nothing but trouble for Leroy and his family. For the most part, the story of The Last Dragon follows classic kung-fu film tropes, but with updates to make it more modern (in the 1980s, that is).
|Dude. I'm glowing. I must be pregnant.|
The Last Dragon was billed as a "martial arts musical film" and it lives up to the title with a diverse collection of '80s R&B and rap songs. The biggest hit from the soundtrack was DeBarge's song Rhythm of the Night which ended up being one of the only hits in his music career. Angela Viracco (Faith Prince) is a character in the film who is meant to be a parody of Madonna and her "songs" in the film are spot-on in that regard. Some music trivia: many years later in 1997, rapper Busta Rhymes released a song called Dangerous in which he is dressed as Sho'nuff and quoted lines from the movie. The Last Dragon has had quite an impact on pop culture since its release.
|Beware the cat claws of doom.|