Thursday, November 19, 2009

Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon

Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon, made in 1985, is a film about a rising martial arts expert, Bruce Leroy, who has reached the end of his formal teachings with his karate sage. In an attempt to become a full martial arts Dragon, like the famous Bruce Lee, he sets out to answer the question "who is the master?" Through this exploration, Bruce Leroy encounters arch enemy Show'Nuff and must face off with him in the final chapter of his journey toward self discovery. The scene below shows the climactic clash between the two central characters in this movie and Bruce Leroy's final realization of the answer to the question of "who is the master?"

video

The important aspects of this clip that should be noted include:

- The Point of View feel created during the flashback sequence. This is accomplished using water ripples over the images and sound cues to make it known that what we are seeing is happen in Leroy's head and not just for our eyes.

- The Light versus Dark conflict common to many movies. Using yellow, white, and blue to outline Bruce Leroy and his attacks, the director is able to visually imply his role as the good hero as opposed to the evil antagonist Sho'Nuff who is outlined in red and black.

- The Lighting. The bright back lighting on actor Taimak (Bruce Leroy) causes a sharp white outline around him extending the light versus dark motif beyond the computer generated glows of the two opposing characters.

- Slow Motion. Commonly used in action films to emphasize important sequences, the use of slow motion in this film works in the usual Hollywood fashion. Note how it is used right before Bruce Leroy realizes he is the master, and the subsequent use of slow motion with image trailing to highlight his arm movements.

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