The Last Dragon

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Is The Last Dragon the greatest kung fu/action/romance/musical produced by Motown founder Berry Gordy and starring karate champ Taimak and sexy ‘80s pop singer Vanity ever made? In a word: “Sho’nuff!” One-name kung fu wonder Taimak plays Leroy Green, a.k.a. Bruce Leroy, a humble kung fu-loving teen obsessed with Bruce Lee and old chop-sockey films. Leroy is a student of the martial arts who has achieved the highest level of skill, but who hasn’t yet found his inner master. Wandering through the streets of New York in a Chinese peasant outfit, he accidentally becomes the protector of beautiful nightclub hostess/video jockey Laura Charles (played by former Prince protégé Vanity), who is being threatened by a height-challenged mobster who wants her to play his girlfriend’s Cyndi Lauper-esque music video. Meanwhile, a lunatic who calls himself Sho’Nuff, the Shogun of Harlem, wants to kick Leroy’s ass and prove himself the baddest kung fu master in town. Add to this Leroy’s smart-mouthed brother Richie (who calls Leroy “the chocolate-covered yellow peril”), a kicking Motown soundtrack (featuring DeBarge, among many other Berry Gordy-produced artists), musical numbers, ninja battles, pseudo-Eastern philosophical babble, static electricity, a jaw-dropping club performance by Vanity and an early appearance by William H. Macy, and you have a hilarious example of why the ‘80s were indeed “totally awesome.” (Dir. by Michael Schultz, 1985, USA, 109 mins., Rated PG-13) Digital