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Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon: 30th Anniversary Edition (1985) - Blu-ray Review

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The Last Dragon (1985)

A magical Motown martial arts movie? Oh, hell, YES! In fact, can I hear a “Sho’nuff” and an amen!

Okay, okay, okay. Admittedly, I’m a little late to this kung-fu celebration. I really am. But, late or not, a film this monstrously kick ass must be celebrated ; it demands you to bow down and pay your respects to Bruce Leroy, played by Taimack, as he goes toe-to-toe with the self-proclaimed Shogun of Harlem, Sho’nuff (Julius J. Carry III), discovers “The Glow”, and learns a couple of night moves thanks to Prince protégé Vanity and her powerful pipes.

"The Last Dragon and its 7th Heaven highs deserve to be proudly displayed on your shelf, not hidden under your bed with all your dirty books"


Maybe it’s the opening montage that had me sold. I mean, from the absolute beginning, this movie is absolutely LIT with purpose, giving its audience exactly what they paid for. It’s both hysterical and heartfelt (the chopsticks workout is a nice touch), and its all backed by a Motown score!

Directed by Michael Shultz, The Last Dragon is a hilarious send-up of the work of Bruce Lee and it does so with righteous style, lots of early 1980’s street swagger, and great music from Motown artists like Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, and features Debarge performing “Rhythm of the Night”. From the minute it starts, the movie will have you doubled over with laughter – the kind of laughter that kills.

Taimack, already a kickboxing master, simply kills it as the young Leroy Green, who wants so badly to be a hero to Harlem and to his family. Leroy is a pure spirit. Hell, he doesn’t even use contractions when he talks. It makes for a pretty funny situation, especially when he falls for Vanity’s VJ character, Laura Charles, but Leroy wants to be like Bruce Lee, his idol, and his master explains that to be a true hero like Mr. Lee one must discover THE GLOW. Generated from within, it forces one to use the energy in their hand to produce a light that emanates from within and can get blasted out when engaged in battle.

Full of straight up comedic gold, there are moments in The Last Dragon that will have you high-fiving the goddamn air around you. The ethnic role reversals here – young black men wanting to be Asians, Asians wanting to be rappers, etc – that defy stereotypes and give lots of people GREAT material to work with, creating a moment in New York history that will not be forgotten . . . especially when the results are this GOLDEN.The Last Dragon (1985)

Produced by Berry Gordy and full of nicely-timed Bruce Lee footage, The Last Dragon is also chockfull of lots of great cult fun. We have fight scenes in movie houses, disco clubs, a restaurant, an abandoned warehouse, and – with loopy digital effects that makes Taimack and Sho’nuff glow – the film achieves a comedic high that simply cannot be replicated, not can it be overhyped. This is a cult classic, folks.

Featuring performances from Chris Murney, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Jim Moody, Ernie Reyes, Jr., Chazz Palminteri, William H. Macey, and Faith Prince, The Last Dragon and its 7th Heaven highs deserve to be proudly displayed on your shelf, not hidden under your bed with all your dirty books. Catch my drift? Sho’nuff!

5/5 beers

The Last Dragon (1985)

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Sony Pictures
Available on Blu-ray
- August 25, 2015
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Korean, Mandarin (Traditional), Thai
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 2.0; Portuguese: Dolby Digital 2.0; Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Single disc; UV digital copy; Digital copy
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

With a smartly remastered transfer and a satisfying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack, this release from Sony is definitely worth your money. The image is crisp and black levels – especially at the pier – absolutely POP. Colors are bold, bright, and shadows are thick with lines and deep blacks. The night scenes – and there are a lot of them – are detailed and heavy with edges. The colors are bold enough. Saturation levels are on point and so too is the restored audio.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Director Michael Schultz offers a great commentary about the making of the movie. Fans will dig it.

Special Features:

We get a retrospective, a trailer, and the commentary from Schultz.

  • The Return of the Dragon
  • Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

4/5 stars

The Last Dragon (1985)

MPAA Rating: PG-13.
Runtime:
109 mins
Director
: Michael Schultz
Writer:
Louis Venosta
Cast:
Taimak, Vanity, Christopher Murney
Genre
: Action
Tagline:
A martial arts master so powerful, he hesitated to unleash that power...until the day he couldn't hesitate any longer.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Don't bug me, fix your face."
Theatrical Distributor:
TriStar Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
October 23, 1987
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
March 22, 1985
Synopsis: We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s (Asher Angel) case, by shouting out one word—SHAZAM!—this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi), courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart—inside a ripped, godlike body—Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong).

The Last Dragon (1985)

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