Film: The Last Dragon

"Who's the master?!"

A 1985 Blaxploitation/Kung-Fu movie, in which the pious martial arts student Leroy Green (AKA "Bruce Leroy") who, having practiced and studied for years under his Master's patient tutelage, finally attains the pinnacle of skill possible while a student. To finally achieve his pursuit of "The Glow", a manifestation of perfect kung fu, Leroy must leave his master's supervision and go out into the world and reach this "final level" on his own. Along the way he saves the local distressed damsel, and goes up against the villainous duo of Sho'Nuff, the Shogun of Harlem, and white business mogul Eddie Arkadian. Quite enjoyable, in an utterly brain-dead over-the-top kind of way.

Not to be confused with the novel Last Dragon.

Contains examples of:

  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy — "Sho'Nuff!!"
  • Arrow Catch - Leroy is deemed ready to leave his training when he is able to catch the right arrow without understanding how he did it.
  • Ascended Fanboy - Leroy is really into Bruce Lee.
  • Badass Boast — "Who's the master?! Sho'Nuff!! Shogun of Harlem!!"
  • Battle Aura - Leroy spends the movie trying to understand how to call upon "The Glow". He is more than a little surprised when Sho'Nuff summons it without effort.
    • But only in his hands. A true Master's entire body glows.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Leroy is generally a kind, respectful, and mild-mannered guy, but harm innocent people or his loved ones and he'll make you pay for it!
  • Blood Knight: Sho'nuff fights only for the supremacy of battle and the spoils of victory. Every action he takes is to goad Leroy into a fight. When Arkadian offers him a Briefcase Full of Money, he refuses it, telling Eddie that the fight against Leroy is payment enough.
    Sho'nuff: "Keep your money. You just get that sucker to the designated place at the designated time, and I will gladly designate his ass... for dismemberment!"
  • Briefcase Full of Money: Offered to and refused by Sho'nuff
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Sho'Nuff and his gang insist on martial arts beatdowns. The media-obsessed Arkadian's desire to "put on a show" is more important to him than immediately winning; he even stops one of his henchmen from shooting Leroy during a big staged fight. Once the show is over, however..
  • Carnival of Killers - Mr. Arkadian's response to Leroy's repeated beatdowns of his thugs.
  • Catch Phrase: Sho'nuff has a call-and-response catchphrase. First he asks "Who's the master?!" then his gang will respond with an emphatic "SHO'NUFF!"
    • In the climax, as he beats the stuffing out of Leeroy he tries to force him to acknowledge defeat by doing engaging in the call and response. Unfortunately for him, Leeroy gets his Heroic Second Wind and instead responds with "I am."
  • Chekhov's Gun: Sho'Nuff mocks the stories he's heard of Leeroy, including that he "catches bullets with his teeth! Nigga please." At the end of the movie, you can probably guess what Leroy does.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Arkadian's carnival of killers (mixed with Sho'Nuff's gang) are easily handled by Leroy and his students. The fight with Sho'nuff is much more difficult for him.
  • Cowardly Lion: Johnny.
  • Delivery Guy Infiltration: Leroy succeeds only because the guards are all drunk and stoned. It's not that they're too blitzed to recognize him either, it's because they had the munchies and he was carrying a pizza.
  • Dumb Muscle: Rock is an odd variant, in that Arkadian uses him like this in spite the fact that he's an absolutely terrible fighter. He also gets in a few good lines.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Sho'Nuff's gang.
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: Most notable in the theater.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Sho'nuff and Eddie. That is all.
  • Foreign Culture Fetish Leroy is decidedly an Asian-phile; wearing stereotypical "rice paddy" garb, speaks Chinese and eating everything (including movie popcorn!) with chopsticks. He's taken it so far that he no longer fits in with his own culture at all, but would probably be perfectly at home in China.
    • Leroy isn't the only one. Consider the Chinese guys who run the fortune cookie factory. They dress and act sterotypically black and speak jive turkey slang. Leroy runs into them part way through the movie. When they meet it could also be considered a Stereotype Flip.
    • Sho'nuff is influenced by Japanese culture; aside from his "Shogun of Harlem" nickname, his costume was influenced by samurai, while his gangs' costumes were based on ninja.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Get him girls, maybe you can get a rise out of this limp... wimp..."
  • Groin Attack: The signature attack of Leroy's little brother. His attempt to take on the baddies is abruptly ended by a Mook with the foresight to wear a cup.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Leroy's lacking in self-esteem, and it's holding him back.
  • High Heel-Face Turn: Angela Viracco (who was Good All Along) pulls one of these while delivering a genuinely badass verbal beatdown to Eddie Arkadian.
  • Informed Attribute: Sho'nuff allegedly all but controls Harlem. However his gang consists of about five people, and even though he has a reputation, no one seems particularly intimidated by him until he starts beating people up.
    • When Eddie recruits Sho'nuff at his dojo, a lot more of his pupils/lackeys can be seen.
  • Informed Flaw: Angela isn't as bad a singer as she's supposed to be, especially considering this is the 80's.
    • Considering her actress has had a mildly successful career on Broadway it's probably Stylistic Suck.
  • Intercourse with You: Vanity's "7th Heaven" is...not a subtle song.
  • It Was with You All Along
  • Kid-anova: Leroy's brother fancies himself as this.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Sho'Nuff's repeated demands for Leroy to acknowledge his greatness.
  • Large Ham: Sho'nuff, Eddie Arkadian and their mooks. Angela and Leroy's brother also qualify.
  • The Last Title: The title.
  • Loved Ones Montage
  • Magic Feather - Leroy's mentor gives him a secret talisman used to unlock "The Glow". It turns out to be a belt buckle.
  • Martial Pacifist: Leroy.
  • The Master — "Sho'Nuff!!"
    • Bruce Leroy.
  • N-Word Privileges: "Catches bullets, WITH HIS TEETH?! Nigga Please..."
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Leroy was a badass and competent martial artist at the start of the film. But due to the events of the plot set largely in motion by Eddie Arkadian, Leroy advances to "the final level" and attains "The Glow". Becoming nearly unstoppable.
  • Non-Actor Vehicle - Vanity remains better known as a singer than an actress
    • The movie centers around Taimak's martial arts skills. He had never acted before in his life and it shows, though his odd delivery actually works pretty well for a guy as socially-awkward as Leroy.
  • Oblivious to Love: Leroy's a bit too eccentric to pick up on Laura's interest in him, at least until she grabs his head and plants one on him.
  • Oddly Small Organization: Sho'nuff and his gang.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Thinking he's knocked out Sho'Nuff, Leroy turns his back on his body. Then there's a yell of "Leroy!", to which Leroy turns around to find Sho'Nuff gone.
  • Oh, Crap: Arkadian and Sho'Nuff when Leroy awakens to the Glow.
    • Leroy also gets one when Sho'Nuff gets The Glow.
  • Power Glows - According to the movie, a true master of Kung-Fu literally lights up when he fights.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Leeroy isn't the wittiest protagonist, but in the climax, he turns Sho'nuff's rhetorical "Who's the master?!" around on him by responding with "I AM!" before unleashing a serious beatdown on the villain.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: The three Asian rapper wannabes. Reversed with Bruce.
  • Punny Name The master Leroy is sent to find is named Sum Dum Goy.
    • His study of martial arts and Chinese culture has earned Leroy the nickname Bruce Leroy. It's actually so pervasive that some people/tropers spell his name Leeroy even when they are leaving out the "Bruce".
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad - Mr. Arkadian's gang of fighters is... colorful.
    • Special mention goes to Sho'Nuff's gang of thugs dressed in camouflage, sporting pads, and silk robes.
      • Albino. Biker. Santa.
      • With a MOHAWK.
  • Scary Black Man — "Sho'Nuff!!"
  • Screaming Warrior: Johnny, one of Leroy's students, theorizes that people are naturally afraid of screaming Asian guys — and discovers that intimidation works better when you don't explain exactly how it works in front of the guy you're trying to scare. Later when he gets dangerous, he incorporates a lot of kiais into his fighting.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Leroy's refusal to fight Sho'Nuff leads to his father's pizza place getting wrecked.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Angela Viracco gave one to Eddie before she left him for good.
  • Trickster Mentor - Leroy's sensei teaches him the deeper meaning of Kung Fu primarily by sending him on wild goose chases.
  • Uncle Tom Foolery: Subverted, as the ''Chinese'' characters engage in this...
  • Unintentional Period Piece: You could not get more eighties if you tried.
  • Urban Fantasy: The Glow is what pushes it over the top.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: As mentioned above, Rock's about to shoot Leroy, but is stopped by Arkadian, who doesn't want all the effort he put into his Carnival of Killers to go to waste. Later Arkadian decides to shoot Leroy himself, but by then Leroy actually can catch bullets in his teeth.
  • World of Ham