If there are any
millennials out there who want to experience what the 1980’s were like, you can
do one of two things: build a time machine, or watch “The Last Dragon”.
Motown chief Berry Gordy, and directed by Michael Schultz (“Cooley High,” “Car
Wash,” “Greased Lightning,” “Which Way is Up?”), the 1985 film could be a perfect
example of all that went wrong during the decade – the big hair, the synthesized music, the trashy clothes, etc, and yet
the film has endured.
there is a legitimate real cult following for the film, and there are even websites
and fan made tribute trailers. Part of it is nostalgia, but
another large part is the fact that it’s a silly, truly weird movie that knows
exactly what it is, and makes no attempt to hide that fact.
Starring Taimak, Prince “protégé” Vanity, and Julius Carry
(pictured above), the film, as the official synopsis says, is about “a young man searching for the ‘master’ to obtain the final level of martial arts
mastery known as ‘The Glow.’ Along the way, he must fight an evil martial arts
expert and rescue a beautiful singer from an obsessed music promoter.”
But that doesn’t remotely a real sense of just how nutty this film is. I could call
it a musical-comedy-martial-arts film; but even that description doesn’t say just how intentionally ridiculous and truly oddball
No doubt it’s
corny and campy, and probably outdated by now (it was probably outdated when it
first came out), and it’s clearly aimed at kids, but the film does have an infectious
goofiness to it.
course, there’s the film stealing turn by Carry as the villain, Sho’nuff, the Shogun of Harlem (You see it’s that kind of movie).
And how could I forget Debarge performing
their smash hit of 1985, “Rhythm of the Night” in the film?
a big box office hit when it was released, earning nearly $75 million (in today’s
dollars), and 3 years ago, there was a plan for a remake with Samuel L. Jackson
and Rihanna which, to date, fortunately, never went into production. Maybe a
good thing. You can’t capture lightening in a bottle twice.
So all this
is to say that, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will be releasing “The Last Dragon” for the first time on blu-ray, on August 25th.
about any extras or special features, but since all the major players involved with
the film (except for Carry who died in 2008) are still very much alive, one
would think that the blu-ray will include commentaries and interviews.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a trailer for the film in good condition, and the tribute fan trailers
tend to be condensed versions of the entire film from beginning to end. So, instead, here’s the clip where Sho’nuff “lays down the law.”