If you ask any black person (if you're bold enough) over the age of 30 if they've ever seen Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon, there's a good chance they'll immediately hit you—with memories of watching that 1985 movie ad nauseam on HBO back when they were kids. This crazy amalgam of martial arts, '80s-era blaxploitation and musical moments—produced by the Motown impresario himself and directed by trailblazing black filmmaker Michael Schultz (Car Wash)—was that kind of movie for black people. It was practically the equivalent of 1974's Black Belt Jones for those who grew up in the golden age of MTV. Wet-behind-the-ears star Taimak plays "Bruce" Leroy Green, a Bruce Lee-idolizing young martial-arts student who does battle with an arrogant karate master named Sho'nuff (ridiculously played by the late Julius J. Carry III), when he's not constantly saving a lady VJ (former Prince protégé Vanity) from impending peril. Did we mention that all this takes place in Harlem? Yeah, it's one nutty movie, complete with a soundtrack featuring songs from such Motown stars as Stevie Wonder, Willie Hutch and DeBarge, who sing their peppy, Diane Warren-written hit "Rhythm of the Night." It's a movie that'll instantly transport many black people back to their blissful, cable-watching childhoods.
—Craig D. Lindsey