You Sure Look Like a Master to Me

It's come to my attention that there are a few folks who didn't get my reference last week to Bruce Leroy and The Glow. Fair enough. I'll take any excuse to reminisce. The Last Dragon is a kind of charter epic poem for 80s black nerdom. I can't do the whole thing justice, but suffice to say the hero, Harlemite and master martial artist Bruce Leroy, is on a voyage of self-discovery.


I'm sure the Last Dragon isn't a "great movie," but I love it because it sort of smirks at The Karate Kid's showy earnestness. For the record, I love The Karate Kid. But Bruce Leroy is all about home. And of course the villainous Sho'nuff--"See it's mumbo-jumbo like that, and skinny little lizards like you thinking they the Last Dragon that gives a bad name," or  "Catchin' bullets with his teeth? Catchin bullets with his teeth?? Nigger, please!" Just what we all wanted--to hear someone exclaim "nigger, please" in a karate flick. Oh and Vanity. My Lord, Vanity...

It's ill watching this now. I always thought of this as a black movie, and it certainly is. But the multiracialism of it is so New York.

Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Does This Child Need Marijuana?

Dravet Syndrome is a severe form of epilepsy that affects children. Could marijuana oils alleviate their seizures?

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Does This Child Need Marijuana?

Inside a family's fight to use marijuana oils to treat epilepsy

Video

A Miniature 1950s Utopia

A reclusive artist built this idealized suburb to grapple with his painful childhood memories.

Video

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her school. Then the Internet heard her story.

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In