East met West for 1985's action-packed The Last Dragon (or Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon, depending on how you want to look at it), a vehicle for Gordy's Motown label that employed Vanity in a lead role as popular veejay Laura Charles, the object of affection for Taimak's talented martial arts hero character Leroy (or "Bruce Leroy," as he was respectfully referred to). By no means is the movie a classic, and neither is the Motown-heavy soundtrack. You'd be missing the point if you thought of them in those terms. The movie was marketed at kids, and it provides good-natured fun and action. And as far as the soundtrack is considered, it was, after all, released in 1985 -- hardly the best year for chart-aimed R&B. More than anything, the soundtrack is known for having delivered DeBarge's "Rhythm of the Night," the feel-good, Carribbean-inflected, Diane Warren-penned summer hit. Motown vets Willie Hutch, Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, and Smokey Robinson (with Syreeta) each provide songs, none of which are entirely notable when compared to the remainder of their discographies. Relative new kid on the block Rockwell punches in with "Peeping Tom" (Were all of his songs about voyeurism, or what?), and Vanity's rockin' "7th Heaven" continues her fixations on the number seven and sexual innuendos "hidden" deep inside metaphors. One minor gripe with the 2001 reissue (released in conjunction with the DVD) is that Motown blew it by not emptying the vaults to include Angela's composition, the charming and willfully irritating post-Cyndi Lauper/pre-Jill Sobule chestnut that her boyfriend/supreme creepo Eddie Arkadian was so hell-bent on having Laura Charles play on her program. But if you really have a problem with that, Sho'nuff has a pair of Converse you can plant your lips upon.
The Last Dragon Review
by Andy Kellman
|8||Smokey Robinson / Syreeta||04:18|
|10||Willie Hutch / The Temptations||07:17||Amazon|