The Last Dragon (1985) Revisited + Exclusive Taimak Interview

In 1985, Berry Gordy, a legend in the music industry as the genius behind Motown, turned his attention once again to the silver screen. He had already produced a number of films starring Diana Ross in the seventies, but this would be different. He wanted to make an all-ages blockbuster that would introduce a brand new action hero. Working with director Michael Schultz and screenwriter Louis Venosta, the resulting movie – The Last Dragon – would pay homage to the kung-fu films of the seventies, which were beloved by inner-city black audiences, while also showcasing the latest talent from Motown on the pop song filled soundtrack.

To play the lead, Bruce Leroy, a naive young martial artist in search of “The Glow,” they hired an aspiring 19-year-old actor/martial artist named Taimak. He would star opposite former Prince muse Vanity and Julius Carry, who would play the awesome villain Sho’Nuff. Taimak, who’s still an incredible martial artist and looks terrific thirty-seven years later, is a great guy with many stories to tell. So, in this special episode of Revisited +, we sit down with Taimak for an exclusive interview, who tells us all about making The Last Dragon. Indeed, the film became a major cult hit when it came out in 1985. While the planned sequels never happened, the film became a staple of the VHS generation, and one of the songs off of the soundtrack, DeBarge’s “Rhythm of the Night,” remains a staple of any eighties mix. Join us as we revisit this kung fu classic.

This episode of Revisited was written and edited by E.J. Tangonan, narrated by Travis Hopson, and produced by Adam Walton. Taimak was interviewed by Alex Maidy. Watch previous episodes of Revisited below and let us know how you think The Last Dragon holds up all these years later.

About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.