Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon
review by Bobby Blakey
As a life-long lover of all things martial arts I will watch anything that focuses on the genre, but there are certain films and stars that always stand out. In 1985 a martial arts flick like no other hit theaters from Motown Record founder and producer Berry Gordy called The Last Dragon. The film starred Taimak, Julius J. Carry III, Chris Murney, Leo O’Brien, Faith Prince, Ernie Reyes Jr., Glen Eaton and Vanity from Krush Groove, Cooley High and Car Wash director, Michael Schultz. Now the film is finally making its way onto 4K for the first time ever.
The Last Dragon follows Martial arts student Leroy Green who is on a quest to obtain the elusive all-powerful force known as “The Glow.” Along the way, he must battle the evil, self-proclaimed “Shogun of Harlem” – a kung fu warrior also known as Sho’nuff – and rescue a beautiful singer from an obsessed record promoter.
I will never forget seeing this film in the theater when it came out. My parents were going with some friends to see Porky’s Revenge and of course I couldn’t watch that so my friend and I picked this film purely on title alone assuming it was about a dragon or martial arts. I was not expecting the action packed, silly, musical wonder that this film is and instantly fell in love with it. I knew it was like nothing else before it and that it was goofy, but the martial arts side was so great and the music fit into perfectly and I couldn’t wait to see it again.
I watch this film on regular rotation and so happy for this new 4K release. For so long it was hard to find a copy of this film then it finally got its DVD and
Blu-ray release years ago. This new 4K release looks great and fully captures the bright vibrant colors of the club and performances as it should be seen. Even without all this the film still holds up to entertain across the board and still holds that special place in my fandom heart.
For those that don’t know this is also Ernie Reyes Jr.’s first film and I was an instant fan being the same age and in martial arts. His action performance here inspired me in my own training and has been one I follow ever since. Taimak’s innocence in the role is endearing and fun to watch while bringing some funny moments to the action comedy that I don’t think would have worked with anyone else. Doesn’t hurt that he carried the action to perfection as well.
I know this movie isn’t for everyone, but I love every moment of it and so happy for this new version. If you have never experienced the martial arts Motown mash-up then this is the perfect chance to grab your copy of Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon available now on 4K in a Limited Edition Steelbook from Sony Home Entertainment.