This film could have been titled “There Will Be Beef.”
"The Last Dragon" opens with its hero learning from his karate master that he has at last touched the final level of realization; he no longer needs a master, because what remains to be learned can only be found within himself. When he achieves the final level, he will know it because of a glow all over his body. This is no idle promise; by the end of the film, the hero glows like somebody who has just tapped into the wrong power line.
Setups like that are obligatory in karate movies; there's an unwritten law that the movie must begin with five minutes of solemn, portentous philosophy before the action can begin. Once past its prologue, however, "The Last Dragon" turns into a funny, high-energy combination of karate, romance, rock music and sensational special effects. It's so entertaining that I could almost recommend it - if it weren't for an idiotic subplot about a gangster and his girlfriend, a diversion that brings the movie to a dead halt every eight or nine minutes.
"The Last, Dragon" stars two remarkably attractive and likable actors, who have one name apiece. The hero is played by Taimak, a 20-year-old karate student who has not acted before, but who has a natural screen presence, and the heroine is Vanity, the rock singer discovered by Prince and used as a warm-up act at some of his concerts prior to the current tour.
Of Vanity, let it be said that she has the sort of rapport with the camera that makes us like her instantly; she has a sunny smile, and what can only be described as a sort of inner happiness, and in the middle of this plot about gangsters and night clubs and bloody fights, she floats serenely, a joy to behold. In less than 12 months, Prince has introduced two electrifying actresses, Appolonia Kotero from "Purple Rain" and now Vanity.