An enjoyable pastiche of martial arts, romance, music, and video, THE LAST DRAGON presents a likable young hero, Leroy (Taimak), who aspires to become a kung fu master. Though black and living in Harlem with his family, Leroy lives like a Chinese. Trouble arises in the form of a huge black man who calls himself "Sho' Nuff, who is determined to prove himself the kung fu master of the neighborhood.
Get ready for some seriously big hair. The Last Dragon
--or, to call it by its full title, Berry Gordy's the Last Dragon
--is a stunning example of 1980s camp cinema. One-name kung fu wonder Taimak plays Leroy Green, a.k.a. Bruce Leroy, a humble student of kung fu who has achieved the highest level of skill, but 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 nightclub hostess/video jockey Laura Charles (played by former Prince protégé Vanity, who also costarred in the trash classic Action Jackson
). She's being threatened by a height-challenged mobster who wants her to play his girlfriend's video (the girlfriend is something of a Cyndi Lauper look-alike, played by Broadway star Faith Prince). Meanwhile, a man 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 dregs-of-Motown soundtrack (DeBarge is a high point), ninja battles, pseudo-Eastern philosophical babble, and a jaw-dropping club performance by Vanity, and you have a hilarious example of why we're all so very glad the '80s are over. Featuring a bit role by William H. Macy (Fargo
). --Bret Fetzer