Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

Currently Showing at Cinema Steve

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cinematic Black History Milestone:
First Fusion of Hiphop and Martial Arts

The Last Dragon (1985)
Starring: Tiamak, Vanity, Christopher Murney, Julius Carry, Faith Prince, Mike Starr and Leo O'Brien
Director: Michael Schultz
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars

Leroy Green (Tiamak), a young martial artist hoping to reach the ultimate level of Kung Fu and spirituality is instructed by his master to seek the mysterious philosopher Sum Dum Goi in New York City's Chinatown. But between the young man and enlightenment stand the vicious Shogun of Harlem, Sho'Nuff (Carry) and a crazed would-be music producer (Murney), and romance with a gorgeous VJ (Vanity).

"The Last Dragon" is a fun fusion of music, Kung Fu and comedy. I had fond memories of watching this film as a kid and, seeing it again, I was surprised at what had remained with me. It wasn't the kooky characters, it wasn't the Chinese Wiggers, it wasn't even the big fight scenes that close out the movie... no, the thing that stuck with me was the dark secret surrounding by Sum Dum Goi.

I'm not sure why that part of the film stuck with me--it's actually a fairly minor element--but maybe I was startled and amazed by the revelation when I was kid, perhaps even as shocked and disappointed as Leroy when he discovers the truth. But, seeing the film as an adult, I immediately saw that the truth about Sum Dum Goi was telegraphed from the first mention of his name.

Although this film is very much a product of its time, I think it's a movie that kids might be able to enjoy today, as well as a film that adults who are young at heart (or who grew up in the 1980s) might be able to have lots of fun with.

No comments:

Post a Comment