The Last Dragon (1985) Bruce Leroy And Vanity Vs The Shogun Of Harlem AKA Sho’nuff

The Last Dragon (1985) vhs cassette tape cover video rental

Day 29 The Last Dragon from 1985

Tagline –He’s a martial arts master who refuses to fight. He’s a Bruce Lee fan who’s so sure he’s Oriental that he eats popcorn with chopsticks. His friends think he’s too serious. His family thinks he’s crazy. His enemies think he’s no challenge. But she knows he’s The Last Dragon.

Who’s our hero today?
Martial arts champion and “Walking fortune cookieTaimak steps up to star as Leroy Green otherwise known as Bruce Leroy.

The Last Dragon (1985) bruce leroy green on roof training

Had I seen this one on VHS back in the day?
This was a big one on the must see list back in my teens. Rented it out a few times and later recorded it off the telly. However it must be 30 years since I’ve seen it again. I was smothered in a flood of nostalgia.

Quick plot run down.
Leroy Green lives and dreams everything Chinese martial arts related and obsessively idolizes his hero Bruce Lee. After his master informs him that he’s reached the final level of training and that now he will need to embark on a spiritual journey.  A journey to obtain the mystical power of The Glow. He has to find that supercharge moment on his own. He will have to endue many obstacles along the way. Some bad and some beautiful. Different challenges will be put forth to Leroy as he try’s to find his special power. Can he stay strong and fight all the odds against him?

Does the hero have a day job?
Leroy helps out with the family restaurant business called Daddy Green PizzaJust direct-a your feets-a to Daddy Green’s Pizza!

What’s our heroes special skills?
Apart from politeness and eating popcorn with chop sticks. Leroy is a master of many disciplines from Goju Ryu Karate, Jeet Kune Do, Wing Chun, Hapkido, Taekwondo, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. So best be nice back to him.

Heroes weapon of choice?
If he looks like he’s eaten his Ready Brek and you bad, you had better run for the hills.

Heroes drink of choice?
I’d imagine he’d love a cup of Lotus blossom tea

The Last Dragon (1985) bruce leroy green Johnny Yu (Glen Eaton

Does hero have a sidekick?
Leroy has two sidekicks. Both have equally brilliant moments throughout the film. First up is Johnny Yu (Glen Eaton) one of Leroy’s martial arts students. Johnny is pure comic gold whenever he’s on screen and get’s to deliver one of the best lines from the film. Straight to the face of the big baddie as he stupidly challenges him to a fight. “How about you! You string bean Rick James looking FOOL!
And then there’s Leroy’s little brother Richie (Leo O’Brien). He jives and dives all the over place as he ridicules and disses his “cornball” brother and tries to tell him the ways of the world, like making love moves! “There’s an art to making love and you don’t even have a paint brush! You gotta know the moves baby.

The Last Dragon (1985) vanity video jocky deejay dj music

Hot girl? Damsel in distress or ass kicker?
One of the hottest shows on the New York City street’s is mega star video jock, Laura Charles (Vanity). She runs and headlines the hottest best selling music video’s at her club the 7th Heaven. She’s hugely influential and much loved across the city. When an attempt to kidnap Laura is thwarted by our humble Leroy as he springs into action. It’s not long before Laura want’s Leroy to be her bodyguard and maybe a little bit more………

Who’s the main baddie?
We got two here. I’ll start with the mini and angry balding music producer Eddie Arkadian (Christopher Murney). He wants Laura to broadcast his music video’s featuring his girlfriend Angela Viracco (Faith Prince) alternative music act. He’s willing to kidnap to get what he wants. Eddie has a sidekick himself in Rock (Mike Starr).

But lets all be honest we here for The Shogun Of Harlem or Sho’nuff (Julius J Carry III). He’s the ultimate baddie. Constantly intimidating Leroy and anyone in his way. Surrounded by superfreak bunch of Mad Max and Hip Hop hybrid entourage. “Now, when I say, “Who’s da mastah?” you say, “Sho’nuff!

The Last Dragon (1985) shonuff and his gang

Baddies special skills?
Everything that Leroy has but he’s stronger, badder and can conjure up the glow power to his hands.

Psycho baddies rating out of ten? 9/10
Just his outfit alone takes Sho’nuff up the ranking but this dude is spiteful, menacing and savage all rolled up with outta control wild hair.

Heroes balls of steel and anger ratings out of ten? 9/10
His anger levels are controlled. Cool calm and collective. But this dude can fight when he’s push against a wall.

The Last Dragon (1985) bruce leroy Taimak fighting

Surely it features a training montage scene?
Of sorts! A kind of training session in making out as Leroy and Laura have a bit of a flirt  with a homage to Bruce Lee playing out on the big screen to the sound of Willie Hutch singing The Glow. And the whole beginning has Leroy training with his master as arrows and other weapons come flying towards him.

Does it feature an impossible mission?
It might be easy to get your Soul Glo like in Coming To America (1988) but it sounds like a hard mission to get your whole body to glow!

Does the hero get a chance to show off their muscles?
He works out topless and gets all sweaty for the ladies.

Will I be needing to pause the video player? AKA are there any boobies?
As we know Vanity is a pure smoke show. Damn she sizzles beauty. Unfortunately Vanity isn’t that naughty here but she does like a good flirt. (Whispers) “Hey, (looks from side to side) for the good stuff go check Vanity in Action Jackson (1988) you won’t be disappointed

Sex scene?
The Last Dragon is a pretty good family and is free from any nookie stuff.

Any good totally random surprise scenes?
What is the crazy man-eating fish monster in Eddie Arkadian’s office!

The Last Dragon (1985) shonuff glowing hands baddie

Films body count? Low/Medium/High
Does anyone die? Not sure. Maybe a few but mainly just beat up.

Explosion ratio? Low/Medium/High?
One maybe?

How many stuntmen probably really died making this film?
No death’s I imagine. No really crazy stunt’s but all the fight scene’s are well done and most looked like the actors themselves did a fantastic job.

Any cool car chases?
No car chase in this movie!

Best lines
Sho’nuff –Get him, girls! Maybe you can get a rise out of this limp wimp.

Any other familiar faces and actors pop up?
There’s lots but due to time I’m going to go for two that went on to big stardom. Mike Starr is still turning out tons of films. Here three big ones from his VHS era CV. Goodfellas (1990), Miller’s Crossing (1990) and The Bodyguard (1992)
Then in a blink and you’ll miss him little part is William H. Macy. Here’s two fav’s of mine Fargo (1996) and Mystery Men (1999).

What factoid did I learn today?
That Leroy’s brother Richie played by Leo O’Brien was in fact the younger brother of Guy O’Brien aka Master Gee from the rap group The Sugarhill Gang. Leo was fantastic in The Last Dragon. Sadly I read that he died in 2012.

Production Credits
The movie is also titled Berry Gordy Presents The Last Dragon as he was executive producer and the founder of Motown record’s legend.
Michael Schultz is on directing duties and a veteran in the chair who’s still directing TV shows now. He’s famous for making Car Wash (1976) Krush Groove (1985) and Cooley High (1975).
It’s written by Louis Venosta who’s only other film credit is Bird on a Wire (1990) I think I quite liked that when it came out? A revisit one day? Ummm not sure…….

Cheese-O-Meter! Low/Medium/High?
This is a really fun comedy action film. It’s all over the top for the art of comedy and our entertainment.

IMDB score rating – 6.9/10

Wolfman ACTION & FUN rating – 8.5/10

Wolfman over all film rating – 7.5/10

Closing thoughts………………………………………….
It’s hard not to like the riotous action and comedy going on here. Especially the over the top Sho’nuff. Surprisingly a lot of the cast, like Taimak this was there first time acting and Julius Carry who played Sho’nuff didn’t even know any martial arts. It’s a joy to see that everyone pulled in brilliant performances. Right down to the younger cast too. It was perfect to have some comedy as I come near to the final finishing line of my marathon month. I sat there with a giant smile.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts on the films if you want but please don’t feel you need to as I know it’s pretty relentless this month. However, most important, have fun with the movies.

Keep it filmy…. Mikey Wolf.

Awesome poster

The Last Dragon (1985) superb drawn poster

12 thoughts on “The Last Dragon (1985) Bruce Leroy And Vanity Vs The Shogun Of Harlem AKA Sho’nuff

  1. Well, I must say you got the cheese level spot-on with this one…I first saw this one several years ago, when a friend said I HAD to see it for its tremendous level of cheese. And sho nuff, the cheese factor is HIGH. For me, definitely a best-worst kind of film, but it IS fun to watch, and even more fun when you’re watching with a bunch people. So next time I’m in the UK, we’re watching it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The opening cinema scene is maximum overload of cheese but as you push past that and you realise it’s a comedy spoof it all fits into place. So many fun moments. Especially from his two sidekicks, Johnny and his little brother. Very funny dialogue and scenes with those two. Haha yes I’ll get the popcorn and the beers and we can sit back and talk Dragon cheese! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re really digging out some obscure stuff and this is another I’ve never seen. Kudos. How the heck could I have missed this with Vanity in it? Might have to go grab my copy of 52 Pick Up for another rewatch and imagine I’m Roy Scheider. And not the shark killing Roy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Damn man I need to see 52 Pick Up street straight away now! Purely for Vanity purposes. She is rather divine. … I’d say you are in for a real treat with The Last Dragon. It’s a bizarre mix of comedy, music, kung fu, New York, hip hop and pure crazy. It’s a gem of a film but I don’t know if me liking it so much might be for nostalgia too. Sure it would be a fantastic addition to your vault……. Right off to investigate 52 Pick Up

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Taimak later became a fitness model/gym owner, and seems to take in stride that people still quote lines from this film at him everywhere he goes. Very nice guy from my limited experience.

    Vanity was hands down the most beautiful of all of Prince’s proteges. Fame didn’t sit well on her though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the great info on Taimak. Shame he didn’t do any other films of note after Last Dragon as for a debut film he is most excellent in it.

      Yep you so right she was most beautiful. Cat Glover was knocking at the door but Vanity always melts my heart. 🙂
      All the best

      Liked by 1 person

      • I rewatched the excellent “Sign O The Times” concert film recently, and can definitely understand the Cat Glover appreciation.

        Liked by 1 person

          • “Sign O The Times” was ever released on VHS here in the states, but if you live anywhere in Region 2 encoding territory or have an all region player, there are several decent DVD editions to be found without too much trouble. Blu ray wise there is a gorgeous German produced steelbook special edition, but it’s pricey.

            Happy trails with your historical appreciation 😉

            Liked by 1 person

            • Many thanks for the super info. I’m in the UK so region 2 all good. It’s actually on YT in full at the moment. Looks like it’s held on for 3 months! I always thought the Prince Police shut his works down on there.
              All the best…….


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