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RIP Denise Matthews Jan 4 1959 – Feb 15 2016

 

Sadly the rumours are true. Denise Matthews, the evangelist formerly known as Vanity, passed away February 15th at the age of 57.

Since becoming born again in the mid 90’s Denise distanced herself from her “Vanity” rockstar persona of the 80’s (and the drugs and sex that went with it) but to fans of The Last Dragon she was always seen as the sweet, lovely & charming Laura Charles and one of the most beautiful women of all-time! 

She had dealt with almost daily kidney dialysis and 23 surgeries since her kidneys failed due to a 1994 drug overdose. According to family she had recently been diagnosed with  an inflammation of the small intestines known as sclerosing encapsulating peritonitis.

It’s a misconception that her 94′ near death experience lead to her finding God. According to an April 2015 interview with AJ Duggar III she actually turned to Jesus about a year prior. Regardless of when she found the church, it ultimately led to her cleaning up her act and changing her life. She toured around the country speaking at churches and would pray for or with anyone she met or who reached her through social media.

TMZ reported that she was in church on the evening before she died and told the congregation she was “ready to go home.”

 

The initial reports started coming in through social media the first we saw was this from @ArtofMusic

Our Facebook page was one of the first places to confirm the talk circulating on social media was true. I spoke with someone close to her before posting this to ensure it was true.

 

Soon after, Sheila E and TMZ confirmed it as well.

 

In one of her last Facebook posts on Feb 10 2016, she explained why she no longer wanted to be known as Vanity:

Denise Matthews explains why she no longer wanted to be known as Vanity

 

The Canadian-born actress, model and singer was best known for her roles in the 80’s classics The Last Dragon and Action Jackson as well as being Prince’s protege and lead singer for his all girls group Vanity 6.

Watch this touching video tribute in memory of Denise Matthews

For more on Denise Matthews check out our in-depth article about The Life of Denise “Vanity” Matthews

 

RIP Denise "Vanity" Matthews Feb 15 2016

 

Many will remember her as Prince’s Protege, “Vanity”, but to the fans of The Last Dragon you will always be the sweet, charming lovely lady Laura Charles… say hi to Julius & Leo for us.

Denise "Vanity" Matthews as Laura Charles in The Last Dragon by Harvey Cahn

Denise Matthews Last Dragon art Tribute by Harvey Cahn

Recent Photo of Denise "Formerly Known as Vanity" Matthews

Recent Photo of Denise “Formerly Known as Vanity” Matthews

RIP Denise Matthews

 

 

Craig Sutton | @thelastglow

 

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TheLastDragonTribute.com is a blog dedicated to The Last Dragon fan community with the aim to Keep The Glow alive! It was started by a fan for the fans. Follow us from the links below for your daily dose of the Glow!

Help Ernie Reyes Jr. Needs a Kidney Transplant Please Support & Share!

 

You know Ernie Reyes Jr. for his incredible fight scenes in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Surf Ninjas, The Rundown and The Last Dragon but right now he is facing the biggest fight of his life and he needs our love and support.

He is suffering from kidney failure caused by undiagnosed high blood pressure and his currently undergoing dialysis treatment 3 times per week for 4 hours a day while waiting for a kidney transplant.  Please share the news to help Ernie find a donor.

Potential Donor Group

Ernie’s Reyes Jr Potential Kidney Donors Group

Ernie’s friend’s and family have created a Facebook group to create a list of potential kidney donors! His blood type is O positive. Please Share to help spread the word!

Kidney Transplant Fund

Ernie Reyes Jr. Official Kidney Transplant Fund

You can also support his kidney transplant fund by donating to the gofundme project his sister Destiny started.

 

Ernie Reyes Jr films include The Rundown with The Rock, The Last Dragon, Surf Ninjas and TMNT 2

 

I was shocked to hear this news and was hoping it was a hoax but a quick check of Ernie’s Twitter account confirmed it was true.

 


I’ve hung out with Ernie several times at Last Dragon reunion events and I can say you will never meet a more humble, down to earth and gracious celebrity. I am not surprised at all to see the out pouring of love and support, but this is just the beginning. The road to finding a kidney donor is not an easy one so please help anyway you can- share, donate, even just passing few kind words to Ernie through his twitter account can help.

 

Ernie Reyes Jr signing my shirt at the 2014 Urban Action Showcase

Ernie Reyes Jr signing my shirt at the 2014 Urban Action Showcase

 

Ernie, 42, has been entertaining us since he made his movie debut at 12 in The Last Dragon. He played one of Bruce Leroy’s students and little brother to Johnny Yu. The scene when he unleashes his tween fury on one of Sho’nuff’s goons then goes on to beat down another thug played by his own father is one of the most memorable in the film.

Ernie Reyes Jr Classic Fight Scene from The Last Dragon

 

His Last Dragon co-star Taimak (Bruce Leroy) showed his support on Facebook:

 

Here’s all the info about Ernie’s situation straight his Sister:

Thank you for taking a moment to see why and how you can make a difference. My brother, Ernie Reyes Jr., was recently in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit)  fighting for his life  suffering from kidney failure. Ernie is currently undergoing dialysis treatment 3 times per week for 4 hours a day while waiting for a kidney transplant. This is a very challenging time not only for Ernie Jr.’s immediate family, but a challenging time for our family as well.

My  father, Ernie Reyes Sr. (Founder of Ernie Reyes West Coast World Martial Arts), is 100% committed to helping Ernie however he can.

You may know or remember Ernie as a child in Last Dragon and Sidekicks, or as that teenager from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. You may also remember him from  The Rundown with “The Rock” or even his most recent star appearance on NCIS: Los Angeles. My brother has spent his entire childhood and adult life fighting in films and television, but now his battle has gone from the screen to reality, fighting for his life.

Regardless of where you have seen or heard of Ernie Reyes Jr., he has impacted peoples’ lives all over the world through his extraordinary performances in television and film.  Please be aware that he needs support during this time of need and recovery of his  life.

Thank you for your support,

Destiny Reyes

www.gofundme.com/erjrofficial

Who Can Be a Kidney Donor

Donors need to be between the ages of 18 and early 70s and can include parents, children, siblings, other relatives, and friends. An ideal donor should have a genuine interest in donating and a compatible blood type with the recipient. 

 

Ernie’s blood type is 0 positive. Potential Donors are encouraged join Ernie’s Potential Donor List on Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/564934446978203/ 

 

Donors should be in good general health. 

Frequently Asked Questions for Kidney Donors

Q & A for Kidney Donors | University of Maryland Medical Center 

 

Ernie Reyes Jr. Highlight Reel!

Featuring Fight Scenes from Red Sonja, The Last Dragon, Ninja Turtles II, Surf Ninjas & The Rundown set to some awesome 80’s training montage music.

 

 

Ernie Reyes Jr Needs a Kidney Transplant

 Please Share and Support Ernie!

www.gofundme.com/erjrofficial

 

Written by Craig Sutton | @thelastglow

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TheLastDragonTribute.com is a blog dedicated to The Last Dragon fan community with an aim to preserve the joy of Berry Gordy’s 1985 Motown meets Kung Fu cult classic The Last Dragon. It was started by a fan for the fans. Follow us from the links below for your daily dose of the Glow!

Video: Ernie Reyes Jr & Taimak Break Boards at Alamo Drafthouse Dallas Last Dragon 30th Screening 

Thanks to my friend & big time Last Dragon fan Majid Afayee for tracking this video down and to rileyc515 for posting it on YouTube.

 

 

In the 6 minute video above you will see Taimak (Bruce Leroy in The Last Dragon) at the request of the moderator punch a board in half. This happens before a sold out 30th Anniversary screening of The Last Dragon at The Dallas/Fort Worth Alamo Drafthouse. The board is held by his Last Dragon co-star Ernie Reyes Jr.

Ernie made his acting debut in The Last Dragon and later went on to star in movies such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2, Surf Ninjas and The Rundown.

In the video Taimak says that he hasn’t broken a board in about 30 years since his teacher at the time, martial arts legend Ron Van Clief, said this sort of thing was a bad idea. Not wanting to disappoint the packed theatre, Taimak obliges the request, while the fans chant “Leroy! Leroy! Leroy!”

Ernie Reyes also re-acts the hand shake he did with Johnny Yu (Glen Eaton) in the film.

Taimak is currently on The Last Dragon’s 30th Anniversary Celebration Tour. You can keep up with all of his appearances from his website: iamtaimak.com and his Facebook Fan Page: Taimak’s Fan Page, Twitter: @iamtaimak or Instagram: @iamtaimak

Keep up with Ernie on Instagram: @erniereyesjr or Twitter: @erniereyesjr

(Featured image courtesy of Saira Ramos)

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TheLastDragonTribute.com is a blog dedicated to preserving the joy of Berry Gordy’s 1985 Motown meets Kung Fu cult classic The Last Dragon & Partner of The 2015 Last Dragon 30th Anniversary Celebration. Follow us from the links below for your daily dose of the Glow!

 

The Art of Fighting Without Knowing How to Fight

 

This article, written by guest writer Illmatical, is based on the writer’s 2014 interview with The Last Dragon’s Glen Eaton. It takes us on a journey about the history of martial arts movies in America, Bruce Lee and his clones, Berry Gordy, the story behind Johnny Yu, behind the scenes of The Last Dragon and of course the art of fighting without knowing how to fight…

The Art of Fighting

by Illmatical | @illmatical

In the 80s I was introduced to flying Chinese kung fu men. Mel Maron; genius, took chopsocky out of seedy theaters in Time Square and placed them in homes across America. At 3pm on Saturdays, channel 5, I met superhuman fighters who flew over walls and had skin that was impervious to blades. Fighting scenes were later re-enacted with my cousin, who promised that he would purchase figurines for me: Chinese kung fu men who could fly over the city bus.

Master Killer Mover Poster

This 80s baby still gets flashbacks on films, introduced to me the year the rock dropped. Perhaps traumatized by something on the streets more dangerous than Shonuff’s glow; I revisit scenes, crystallized in my mind. There was an old samurai film, where a blind child practices clasping a falling sword in the rain; still trying to remember the name of that one. There were enough ninja movies, even a weekly television series: The Master, starring Lee Van Cleef. He introduced America to way of the ninja; Ronald Duncan never got over that.

The Master with Lee Van Cleef

 

The Bruce Lee Imitators

Through rentals on VHS, came my introduction to the clones: A pantheon of Bruce Lee imitators. Truthfully, before I ever watched a Bruce Lee film, I was introduced to his clones. Their names vaguely resembled his, with a slight variation. Despite their bad acting and mediocre fighting ability on camera, collectively they’d help the martial arts community and Bruce’s fans cope with his untimely death; kinda sorta continuing his legacy. Each clone had some dragon in him.

The Clones of Bruce Lee

Through the haze of flying Chinese kung fu men, a period of my life when I was running through the alley with Kevin Scott, a title stayed with me: They Call Me Bruce, featuring Korean actor, Johnny Yune. In the satirical film, Yune’s character stuck his chest out, intimating to suckers, punks and gangsters that he had dragon on reserve.

They Call Me Bruce

 

Glen Eaton

While America met Yune’s version of Bruce, another clone was birthed in California. His dragon was acquired through hours of imitating the flying Chinese kung men of film and TV. He had mastered the art of fighting; without knowing how to fight. He introduced his dragon to small audiences at home and to thugs in the streets. Performances leaving his audience entertained or befuddled. All of this stylized with: A little move, a little scream and lots of attitude.

Glen Eaton Throwback Pic

Glen with friend Robert Gaskell (pic courtesy of Robert Gaskell)

Glen Eaton does a mean Bruce Lee impression, but really doesn't know Martial Arts

Glen Eaton’s Flying Bruce Lee Jump Kick! (also courtesy of Robert Gaskell)

 

Pursuing his dreams, this clone took his dragon to Motown, making his debut in the 1985, martial arts entertainment classic: The Last Dragon.

 

Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon Poster

 

I study Glen Eaton‘s face momentarily, he says he is fifty three; looks a decade younger, radiating an aura of contentment. While speaking of flying Chinese kung fu men, without any coercion on my end, he’d periodically re-enact fight scenes from movies, complemented with sound effects and a barrage of punches to invisible opponents. Glen got that dragon yo.

Recent Picture of  Glen Eaton

 

He explained that when he was still honing his dragon, he’d prefer to be on the receiving end of a vicious play fighting beating, this provided him with more creative expression and freedom to perform. Play fighting allowed his dragon to fly.

 “As a kid, my brother was my inspiration, he was four years older than me. He’s very imaginative, he was always very playful. After watching Kung Fu with David Carradine on TV, after we watch it, that night or the next day, we’d get bored and he’d say ‘Hey let’s play Kung Fu! You play Caine and I play the cowboys.’ We’d do the whole thing, the fake fighting. Fake fighting was my favorite thing. We’d do that for hours” said Glen.

 

Kung Fu with David Carradine TV Show

Kung Fu TV Series (1972-1975)  starring David Carradine

 

Kung Fu the series, featured Caine the wandering Chinese monk, set in mid 19th century America. Caine laid down railroad tracks with his brethren; every episode introducing his fists to a newer Wyatt Earp or William H. Bonney. Glen followed Caine through the desert, until the arrival of the most pivotal martial arts film in America.

“At the time, Kung Fu was on TV and that was the only place you could see martial arts. You had about two fight scenes, Five Fingers of Death comes out and there is fighting through the whole picture… We weren’t use to that and it felt like fighting from beginning to the end” said Glen.

Did the Glow in Five Fingers of Death Glow inspired The Last Dragon Glow?  Sho'nuff!!!

Did the Glow in Five Fingers of Death Glow inspire The Last Dragon?   Sho’nuff!!!

Five Fingers of Death introduced America to a film narrative perpetually emulated by the martial arts entertainment genre: A young protagonist who struggles with his confidence, mastery of a secret fighting style, redemption, rescue of a female love interest and menacing villains. It was Five Fingers of Death that introduced The Last Dragon to The Glow; a visual effect at the climax of the film, when the protagonist has realized his power.

Five Fingers of Death was word on the street; until Bruce Lee arrived.

Bruce Lee Final Fight Scene The Big Boss

“And then Bruce Lee came out with Fists of Fury. After I saw that, I saw Five Fingers of Death again and it bored the heck out of me” said Glen.

 Think of martial arts entertainment from an evolutionary standpoint, envision the scale: Kung Fu the series as the primate; Five Fingers of Death as the more evolved caveman with a spear in his hand, but still hunched over; Bruce Lee was man standing upright: Walking, strutting and jiving.

The Evolution of Kung Fu Movies

“He was the first good guy hero I had ever seen who was so scary when he started fighting, you were afraid for the bad guys, they were the victims” explained Glen. “Bruce Lee inspired: Fight fire with fire! If you’re faced with death, if someone is going to hurt you or your family, you can’t play the Gandhi role. He was the first guy that looked like death itself when you’re fighting this guy.”

Bruce Lee Pointing The Big Boss

 

How Glen Eaton Landed the Role of Johnny Yu

After hours of play fighting and imitation, Glen was ready to deliver his performance to the world.

The year was 1983, Berry Gordy had a vision; Glen Eaton had a dream. Gordy envisioned a martial arts musical masterpiece, fusing fantasy with a pop music soundtrack as he did with The Wiz. The Last Dragon would be grander, as epic as the Star Wars franchise.

Before the streets took him, I built with Leo O’brien in Harlem. He recalled first meeting Gordy. “He’s got this young Japanese chick with hair past her ass, she has her leg on him…”

The woman with hair past her ass, was Glen’s sister; according to him, she didn’t know who Gordy was when she met him.

Rare Photo of Berry Gordy with Glen Eaton, Taimak & Leo O'Brien from The Last Dragon

Rare Photo of Berry Gordy with Glen Eaton, Taimak & Leo O’Brien

 

“She told me this guy she’s going out with is Berry Gordy, she found out he was the creator of Motown… She was determined to set up a meeting with me and him… She believed in my talent. ‘I think you guys would hit it off. Tell him the stories, when you almost get into fights and fake your way out of it by pretending you know martial arts.'”

Glen told one such story, that went like this:

“I went to a Low Rider dance, it was a block away from my house and this little kid was pushing these big guys around. They were being cool about it, and I thought ‘If that kid pushes me, I’m gonna push him back!’ I don’t know what’s wrong with these guys. After the dance, I’m walking out and he shoves me in the back and I turned around… I shoved him as hard as I could. He flew and he got up and he looked surprised, he just ran back in the place. I said ‘You see, that’s how you deal with it!’ I started walking down the street. All of the sudden, I hear these footsteps coming, I turn around and it is him and these three other guys.”

Thinking to himself he said “Oh that’s why they didn’t bother him when he was pushing them, he’s got a gang with him… Shit, I gotta get out of this one.”

Glen practiced his kicks on a nearby tree, combining each strike with an emphatic sound effect.  As he was surrounded, he spoke with a voice, best described as a deep superhero tone, saying “Alright! It will be one at a time.”

“You know martial arts man? You know karate?” they asked.

“I’ve learned a little” Glen replied.

“Oh we don’t want no problems man!”

The gang left. His dragon had them shook. He had mastered the art of fighting, without knowing how to fight.

Glen Eaton as Johhny Yu in The Last Dragon

After sharing his stories with Gordy, who was amused; that or Glen’s sister had bomb ass pussy, he told Glen to write a story based on his experiences and create a character. After a week of trying to formulate a story for his dragon, Glen was stumped. Gordy then created the Johnny Yu name and backstory of him being a student of Bruce Leroy, the protagonist in The Last Dragon. He was no doubt influenced by Glen’s stories, but more likely liberating from Johnny Yune, in name and his character in They Call Me Bruce.

The Last Dragon Behind the Scenes

A year later, Glen found himself auditioning at Berry Gordy’s home. Producer Suzanne de Passe, a fight choreographer and Mr. Motown looked on.

“They were all sitting there… I sparred with this girl, we came up with a routine, she kicked me and I flied. I was doing the whole Johnny Yu act… At one point, halfway through the audition, Berry stopped me and said ‘What are you doing? Where are the kicks?’ I started kicking and I was happy he said that, anything to improve the audition.”

Glen Eaton aka Johnny Yu doing a Kick for Berry Gordy 1985

Glen’s dragon was raw, the production team realized this during his performance. However, they were impressed by his attitude and humility; without question, he accepted the critique of this performance. “That shows a lesson, when ever someone touches your buttons, pushes your ego, it is not a time to be embarrassed or stand up for yourself, it is a time to listen” said Glen.

The right mentality cemented his role in the film; shot in New York City. Glen was on the set for two months, Gordy kept writing in scenes for Glen’s character to appear during different stages of the movie. Had it not been for Gordy’s influence, and his sister’s bomb ass pussy, he would have only appeared in one scene.

Michael Schultz

Michael Schultz is credited as the director of The Last Dragon; truthfully, it was Gordy’s vision which made the film a success. “Michael Schultz in my opinion, from what I see, he is doing the best he can as a director, but when I watch Berry, he is a director.”

Glen intimated that Michael Schultz kept to himself and he related more to Gordy. I’ll speculate: There may have been some tension between Glen and Schultz on the set. Initially, Schultz didn’t believe in Glen’s dragon. Regardless, Gordy believed in him and this provided the confidence he needed.

Recent Picture of Michael Schultz the director of The Last Dragon

Michael Schultz, Director of The Last Dragon

Louis Venosta

Louis Venosta, was the writer who created the original script for The Last Dragon. While on set, Glen remembered Venosta being extremely quiet, “I could tell there was a fire beneath that quietness… as humble as he was and as nice as he seemed, I felt that he’s very convicted to his work, that’s why he’s there, because he wants to see it materialize as he envisioned it.” I’ll speculate: Venosta’s fire was forged by his anger. Gordy wrote a character into the film, that was not included in the original vision. He didn’t want Bruce Leroy’s character to pay homage to Bruce Lee, he wanted a Black clone; serious and intimidating.

Louis Venosta, Writer of The Last Dragon

Louis Venosta, Writer of The Last Dragon

 The Cast

Life on the set was monotonous. Glen was more interested in the streets of New York City. After shooting for the day, he’d walk through Time Square, tracing the footsteps of his idol, James Dean.

Taimak Guarriello

He shared an apartment with Taimak, the protagonist in the film; a strategic move by Gordy, hoping that the two young men would bond. Unfortunately, they didn’t develop a relationship beyond the set. Glen recalls Taimak’s demeanor “I thought he was too easy going… he seemed pretty confident and happy. I don’t know what was going on inside of him, he covered it well.”

Taimak behind the scenes of The Last Dragon (photo courtesy of Hector Martinez)

Taimak behind the scenes of The Last Dragon (photo courtesy of Hector Martinez)

 

Taimak was cool no doubt, due to the reassurance of Gordy and the fact that he was playing a role he was familiar with. He was a martial artist guy, but the guy playing the main villain in the film wasn’t.

Julius J. Carry III

Julius Carry was soul on ice, with a solid acting foundation. Glen reflected on Carry saying “I could relate to him immediately… He’s like a guy from the streets. Down to earth, just a real person.”

Although he didn’t get to know Julius well, there was a memorable exchange:

“We’re sitting there in the office after rehearsal, he looked exhausted and he looked mad.

He said ‘Man, I’m pretty ticked off.’

I said ‘What’s going on?’

‘I got all these bruises from those sticks, I’m exhausted… man I ain’t no martial artist, I’m an actor!’

‘What are you going to do now?’

‘I’m going to Burger King!”

Glen Eaton and Julius Carry Behind The Scenes of The Last Dragon

Glen Eaton and Julius Carry Behind The Scenes of The Last Dragon

 

Following his death in 2008, a Chicago Tribune article noted Carry’s successful career in acting, spanning three decades. Sho’nuff, started out with roles in Hamlet and The West Side Story while in high school.

Denise “Vanity” Matthews

Julius Carey, actor.

Berry Gordy, director.

Taimak, martial artist.

Denise Matthews, star.

Denise "Vanity" Matthews Autographed Photo

Denise “Vanity” Matthews

 

According to the October, 1984 People’s Magazine, she had been romantically involved with Prince; he wanted her to be in Purple Rain and purify herself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka; He wanted her to sing in his girl band and call herself “Vagina,” she probably had bomb ass pussy; they settled on “Vanity.” She later obtained a record contract with Motown and starred in several B films. Denise Matthews arrived on the set of The Last Dragon with celebrity swag.

Denise "Vanity" Matthews Cover of Jet Magazine

“The first time I met her… I personally wasn’t impressed because of her star like presence. She’s very pretty. The feeling I got, she’s been around some important people. She’s very confident at this level. I wasn’t, I wasn’t admiring her, I was respecting that confidence that she had” said Glen.

Glen’s Dragon

Glen Eaton as Johnny Yu in The Last Dragon

 

 

Despite the overwhelming talent around him, Glen had his dragon and his wasn’t intimidated; he was read to glow. He recalls his most memorable moment on the set “I was playing chess with my sister, on the big battle at the end, I did those two kicks and that was the end of my shoot for the day, I had nothing else to do. Berry came up to me and said ‘What are you doing?'”

Glen replied “I’m playing chess, and I’m winning!”

Gordy furious responded saying “I don’t care about that, you should be practicing the scene! Working on something, get a stuntman!'”

“I can do that?”

“Of course you can!”

“I grab a couple of stuntmen, we went in the back office, found some nun-chucks; started choreographing the scene you see in the end with the nun-chucks. I broke the first ones… had one more left, I had to save it for the camera, it took me about 15 – 20 minutes. Berry is standing at the end of the corridor.”

Berry Gordy Talking to Glen Eaton on set of The Last Dragon

Berry Gordy giving direction to Glen Eaton on set

 

“I say ‘Damn, what’s his problem?'”

Gordy asks “What are you doing?”

“You said for me to practice!”

“You should be practicing out here, where for the director to see you!”

It was showtime in front of Gordy, Schultz, cast and crew. Glen’s dragon came through with style.

The art of fighting, without knowing how to fight: In full effect.

“The whole place roared. I looked at Berry and he said ‘That’s the last time I ask you anything!”

Johnny Yu Unleashes his Dragon!!

Johnny Yu Unleashes his Dragon!

Success

In 1985, the Last Dragon made its premier. It was a success within the African American community, taking several years for the film to develop a cult following; surpassing ethnic and racial boundaries.

Johnny Yu Confronts Sho'nuff in The Last Dragon

Glen admits that his early success may have hindered his development as an actor. He took his dragon for granted. “More negative than a positive… Faith Prince, Julius Carey, they had worked their craft, if you work your craft, success is a beautiful thing. I didn’t know my craft.”

"How About Something in a Medium Sized Oriental" - Johnny Yu The Last Dragon

It would take more than a role as Johnny Yu, to solidify himself as an actor. He’d have to get serious about his acting; over the years he’s worked on his craft, taking roles in independent films. These days, the art of fighting is more than a clone with a dragon.

“As an actor now, I’m different. I’ve changed a lot” said Glen.

Glen Eaton 30 years after Johnny Yu

The Next Chapter

In 2015, The Last Dragon is celebrating its 30th anniversary with screenings across the country, Glen didn’t realize the impact the of film and its fan base, until a decade ago. “About ten years ago, I was working at a job, an employee had friends who saw the The Last Dragon…. they said that it is a cult movie… after a while, I started to realize there are a lot of people who like that picture.”

Craig "thelastglow" Sutton and Glen "Johnny Yu" Eaton March 2014

Craig Sutton & Glen Eaton, March 2014 Last Dragon Reunion

When watching The Last Dragon, you would have never known that Glen was neither a seasoned actor or martial artist. That’s how good his performance was. So what, Johnny Yu was a clone of a clone. Glen’s dragon was an essential ingredient to the films’ success; an energetic performance, laced with glimpses of a generations’ fallen hero.

Word on the street is that there may be a Last Dragon sequel, if there is, Glen has to be in it, play fighting and all.  I’m not so sure about born again Denise Matthews. As far as she is concerned, I’ll settle for a Vanity clone; bomb ass pussy and all.

~Illmatical

 

Clarke Illmatical is a writer from Queens, NY. He is the creator, director and writer of the martial arts fantasy fiction story MASTERNEVER AND THE FLOW OF DEATH. In addition to writing for The Last Dragon Tribute; his work has appeared in The Amsterdam News, Norwood News, CLOUT magazine, Kung Fu Cinema and The Streets Are Saying Things.  Twitter: @illmaticalmind

 

More Articles Related to Glen Eaton

The Last Dragon is Turning 30!! Click Here to Find Out About What We are Doing to Celebrate!!

The Last Dragon 30th Anniversary Tour Banner

 

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TheLastDragonTribute.com is a blog dedicated to preserving the joy of Berry Gordy’s 1985 Motown meets Kung Fu cult classic The Last Dragon & Official Partner of The 2015 Last Dragon 30th Anniversary Celebration. Follow us from the links below for your daily dose of the Glow!

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Who Would Interrupt the 30th Anniversary Screening of The Last Dragon??

Sho’nuff!!

 

Who Calls out the film’s hero in the audience watching?

Sho’nuff!!!

 

Who makes the day for hundreds of Last Dragon Fans in Attendance?

Sho’nuff!!!!

 

The Last Dragon 30th Anniversary Screening Interrupted by Shonuff

You didn’t think we  could have a Last Dragon celebration, reunion and screening without the Shogun of Harlem did you!?!

This past weekend the 2nd annual Urban Action Showcase & Expo celebrated the upcoming 30th Anniversary of the cult classic Motown meets Kung Fu: The Last Dragon with a screening of the film with the cast and 400 of its greatest fans in attendance. In classic Shogun of Harlem fashion the screening was interrupted by none other by Sho’nuff, played by Vendetta Pro Wrestler Jimi “Sho’nuff” Mayhem, just as the real Sho’nuff barged in on Enter The Dragon in the film. The fans and Taimak himself loved it! Here’s the Video Clip of Sho’nuff crashing the party…

 

 

There’s a lot more where this came from on our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Come back here soon, TheLastDragonTribute.com is the place for more stories, pictures and videos from The Nov 8th 2014 Last Dragon 30th Anniversary Celebration!!! If you were in attendance and are posting pics on social media please tag your pics with #thelastdragon30th so we can find them to like, share and add to the fan photo album we are creating. You can also send any images or video to thelastglow@thelastdragontribute.com.

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TheLastDragonTribute.com is a blog dedicated to preserving the joy of Berry Gordy’s 1985 Motown meets Kung Fu cult classic The Last Dragon & Official Sponsor of The Last Dragon 30th Anniversary Celebration. Follow us from the links below for your daily dose of the Glow!

 

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Want to see The Last Dragon Blu-Ray get Released? Support The Last Dragon 30th Event!

 

The Last Dragon 30th Anniversary Blu-Ray

 

Sony Pictures owns the rights to The Last Dragon. Unbelievably they have never released a Blu-Ray version of the internationally popular 80’s cult hit. I have always wondered if maybe they don’t know how many people not only like but love this movie or perhaps they do and they have just been waiting for the right time? Could the coming of The Last Dragon 30th Anniversary mean Sony will finally release the long awaited Last Dragon Blu-Ray?

**June 2015 Update**

The Answer to the question I posed back in November 2014 is YES!!!

It’s Official Sony to Release The Last Dragon Blu-Ray August 25th!!! – Read more here

Pre-Order from Amazon here!

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The Last Dragon 30th Anniversary Banner

 

On March 22, 2015 The Last Dragon will turn 30. On Saturday November 8, 2014 The 2nd Annual Urban Action Showcase & Expo (an Action Film Festival in New York) will be honoring this momentous occasion with The Last Dragon 30th Anniversary Celebration. It will be the Largest Gathering of Last Dragon Cast & Fans Ever. Fans have an amazing opportunity to prove to Sony that releasing a 30th Anniversary Edition Last Dragon Blu-Ray would be a profitable venture. Last Dragon fans we need you to come out and support this event. We need to show the folks at SONY how how much we love and support this film.

“In the movie collecting world horror always does well. Studios and distribution companies make a lot of money from collectors when it comes to the horror genre. Small companies like Shout factory have marketed horror cult films for blu-ray and they have been very successful thus far. I know martial arts isn’t as big as a genre but a cult film like The Last Dragon has more to offer than just a typical black film. It’s cemented in the 80s which gives the film it’s charm. Within that lies a great soundtrack and early performances by big stars today. I am certain this will be a big hit amongst movie collectors and general fans of the film around the world.”

“Its a cult classic that deserves a special edition release! I was hoping Sony will announce something to coincide with the anniversary. The only way I see this happening is if they truly move forward with the remake. Then they would put the film out.”

~Majid Afayee, avid retro blu-ray collector & one of the biggest baddest Last Dragon fans around this town

 

My Face When The Last Dragon Comes On

 

Think you are the only one who loves The Last Dragon? Wrong!

People don’t just love this movie they are obsessed with it. On a daily basis I get messages from fans who find my Last Dragon Instagram account or Facebook Fanpage and they are ecstatic to see that there is social media dedicated entirely to The Last Dragon. Almost every one of them tells me about how they have watched the movie hundreds of times or how they can quote every line. Young and old from all over the world its the same story.

“Whenever I watch “The Last Dragon”, a sense of nostalgia takes over. I remember the first time watching it around the age of 9 or 10 with my dad, when you RENTED the old “top-loading” VHS player, and had to set your CRT television to channel 3. This was my introduction to the world of martial arts, became a huge fan of the film genre, and was my kick start for having enrolled in martial arts for 10 years.

From the opening sequence in the movie (when Leroy is in his final training; dodging, chopping, and finally catching an arrow), I was in awe, and was hooked. Julius Carry’s performance is so favorably over the top as the antagonist “Sho’Nuff“, almost as if a comic book villain was lifted straight from the pages of a comic book. The Last Dragon may not have been a blockbuster, but it has gained quite a following, enough to have reached “cult” status, and I believe is very deserving of a re-release in Blu-Ray format.”

~Shane Straub, The Last Dragon fan

 

Celebrities Love The Last Dragon Too!

 


Of course they do. Celebrity or not if you grew up in 80’s and especially if were black this movie was likely a very enjoyable part of your childhood. I’ve seen stars like Floyd Mayweather, Marlon Wayons & Chris Rock, Pooch Hall, the RZA, Jill Scott, Keisha Cole & Michael Jai White just to name a few show love for this Motown meets Kung-fu 80’s classic. Celebrity Endorsements, yet another good reason this Blu-Ray should get released.

 

Floyd Mayweather - The Last Dragon Movie Poster

Support The Last Dragon 30th Anniversary Celebration

Well I have high hopes that Sony does see the gem they have in The Last Dragon and I expect them  to make an announcement soon to coincide with the 30th Anniversary. It’s now or never. Let’s make this decision easy and prove it is the right one by making The Last Dragon 30th Celebration truly an event to remember. If you can’t attend spread the word. We need to make sure every Last Dragon fan knows about this event. Please share this article and use the hashtag #thelastdragon30th

Think about it when will there ever be a chance to watch The Last Dragon in same movie theater as Bruce Leroy! The Last Dragon stars like Taimak  (Bruce Leroy), Christopher Murney (Eddie Arkadian) & Ernie Reyes Jr. (Tai)  among others will be part of the biggest cast reunion ever. This will also be amazing opportunity to ask anything you ever wanted to know about The Last Dragon in a Q&A session after the screening. Personally I can’t wait to ask Mr. Murney what exactly that was in that tank?

Get Tickets for The Last Dragon 30th Anniversary Celebration

 

The Last Dragon 30th Anniversary Blu-Ray Features

Here’s hoping they include commentary from Taimak, Glen Eaton, Christopher Murney, Ernie Reyes Jr., Faith Prince, Ron Van Clief and any other cast members they can find.   How great would it be if Berry Gordy himself added something?

I would also highly recommend a kid friendly version- I would love to be able to show my 3 year old girl this epic tale of good triumphing over evil where the humble underdog hero learns that he must believe himself to unleash the inner power he possessed all along. It holds great lessons for kids and they really get into and enjoy the fairy tale like story, but there are a few (not many) choice words I don’t want my little girl repeating.

 

Pre-Order The Last Dragon 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-Ray Today!

 


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TheLastDragonTribute.com is a blog dedicated to preserving the joy of Berry Gordy’s 1985 Motown meets Kung Fu cult classic The Last Dragon & Official Sponsor of The Last Dragon 30th Anniversary Celebration. Follow us from the links below for your daily dose of the Glow!

 

Facebook Twitter Google Plus Page WordPress

 

The Last Dragon Tribute T-Shirt Gallery

Follow teststamp on Twitter
Like us on Facebook
Follow @TheLastGlow on Instagram for Last Dragon Related Photo's

 

Memories of Julius Carry from the Cast of The Last Dragon

30 years later- Memories of Sho'nuff From The Cast of The Last Dragon.

 

A great action movie is only as good as it’s villain, on August 19th, 2008, we lost the man who played one of  greatest villains ever, Sho’nuff.  Julius Carry the man who brought life to the infamous self proclaimed Shogun of Harlem passed away from pancreatic cancer, ending an acting career that spanned almost 3 decades.

 

The Last Dragon Cast Remembers Julius Carry

I caught up with some of cast just before attending The Last Dragon’s 30th Anniversary Celebration at the 2014 Urban Action Showcase & Expo (November 8,2014 in NYC) and asked about some of their thoughts about and experiences with Mr. Carry. It’s clear too see how much respect and admiration they have for the late great actor.  Here are some of their fondest memories of working with him on The Last Dragon.

Taimak aka Bruce Leroy

Bruce Leroy & Sho'nuff's first meeting

 

 

“I really respected his talent and loved his approach to his work. He brought everything to it, he was 100% full circle and left no stone unturned. I was most impressed with how he owned the role and how on set he worked hard to bring out the best in those around him. He was fun to work with.”

In this March 2014 video, I filmed this while hosting the first ever Last Dragon reunion panel, Taimak recounts a funny story about how Julius successfully helped him stir up some real emotion towards the villainous Sho’nuff:

 

 

Glen Eaton aka Johnny Yu

Johnny Yu and Sho'nuff Behind the Scenes Knuckle Sandwich - The Last Dragon

“Here I’m giving Julius Carey a knuckle sandwich, he took it literally and proceeded to eat my fist!” -Glen Eaton

I wish I had gotten to know him better but Julius Carry seemed to me like a very serious person. Not one for small talk. He didn’t seem like your average Hollywood actor but more from the method days in the 50’s.

One day on set he was getting upset with the fight trainer. He was exhausted from training with the sticks and it was bruising up his arms.

“I’m an actor not a martial artist”, he told me.

“What are you going to do now?” I said and he looked at me dead serious with fierce conviction in his eye’s and said,
“I’m going to Burger King” in that big Sho’nuff voice.

I had the feeling that if I said “oh that’s bad for your health” he would have destroyed me. So I said “Sounds like a great idea!”

Now when I look back I would have loved to talk to him about acting. What you saw on film he would go from serious and introverted to explosive in a second. He made it look so easy, one might not recognize how difficult it is and that’s the sign of a good actor, you think he’s just being himself.

Kirk Taylor aka Crunch

Kirk Taylor - Crunch from The Last Dragon

I remember Julius…

Was he ferocious in his approach to his role in The Last Dragon? Sho’nuff!

In fact, I don’t remember him anywhere near the set NOT in character. He was in the head space of “The Shogun of Harlem” constantly. He shared with me that he was having dreams where he was actually fighting with 2 of our film’s martial arts advisers, waking up drenched in the middle of the night.

Was JC III committed & involved in making this project great ? Sho nuff!

Off camera, through one of his Shogun growls, he personally named me and the other male lieutenants: “Beast, Cyclone…and Crunch!!” So immersed was his approach, that most people are shocked to here that HE WAS NOT A MARTIAL ARTIST AT ALL! But he sold that, with style and bravado, and dared you to think otherwise!

Was he kind & humble, to an even greater degree that he was ferocious & committed? Sho nuff!!!

I was startled by how gentle and peaceful he was once the film was completed. I ran into him at an audition some years later… I actually didn’t even recognize him! Having completed my audition, I was walking out past a group of waiting actors, when I heard a voice whisper, “Crunch?!” It was Julius Carey the third… without braids, weave, or Converse, but with the inner glow that eluded his character in “The Last Dragon”. We hugged, smiled,  asked how the other was doing…  then we gave a final nod,  that in a brief moment, spoke of a special bond and affection;  one forged in the trenches with Michael Shultz, Berry Gordon and the gang. The eyes said it all… we both remembered, and promised to never forget. That was the last time I saw my brother Julius.

And lastly… Will the world be less without JC3 in it? Once again the answer is Sho nuff!!!

The sentiment was expressed well in another film by our director Mr Shultz. “Cooley High”. Glen Turman’s character spoke about the tragic death of his friend Cochise, played by Lawrence Hilton Jacobs… he concluded by saying how the world would never know the greatness, the special grace and talent they would miss out on. And so it is with our fallen brother… what life, what fury, what deep compassion he would have inspired, we will never know. But some of us will always remember… And dream.

 

Janet Bloem aka Sho’nuff’s Woman #2

Janet Bloem - The Last Dragon - Sho'nuff's Woman #2

“One of my fondest memories  is when he told me and someone else that my legs should be insured! Lol. A good guy gone way too soon. RIP JULIUS!”

Lisa Dalton aka Sho’s Woman #3

Lisa Loving Dalton  - Hows about a kiss on my Fist - The Last Dragon

Julius was a very talented actor– I will always remember a commercial he did where he played basketball in a suit and tie–shortly after this film. It was such a contrast to this character (Sho’nuff). He was warm and supportive to his fellow castmates. He collaborated with his gang to helps us create the tight knit ensemble we became. So sad to loose him to0 early.

 

 Ron Van Clief Fight Co-Coordinator & Legendary Martial Artist/Actor

Ron Van Clief Black Belt Mag Cover

“Julius was a great guy. With an amazing sense of humor. I trained him and his stunt double Master T Taylor. Many interesting conversations about women and philosophy. Good times and he was a fast learner. A real athlete, thespian and my friend”

Woman and philosophy; very interesting… so what was his philosophy on women?

“He loved women and was in search of the perfect women. He stated that…

Life is nothing without love. To have art was life! You do the best you can everyday for life

 

 Honorary Tribute to Sho’nuff at The Last Dragon 30th Anniversary Celebration

Am I the Prettiest - Shonuff

 

There are many exciting events happening at The Last Dragon 30th Anniversary at The 2014 Urban Action Showcase & Expo including a Q & A with the cast and a screening of The Last Dragon in the AMC Times Square Theater. Now the festivities will also include a Tribute to Julius Carry at Saturday nights award presentations. Just another reason why every Last Dragon fan should be planning a trip to NYC for this once in a lifetime event!

The Last Dragon 30th Anniversary Banner

**Nov 16th 2014 UPDATE**

I didn’t want to spoil the surprise before the Nov 8th event- Sho’nuff was honored in 2 special ways at the 30th Anniversary Celebration:

1. Guess Who Crashed the Party??

Dressed as Sho’nuff, Vendetta Pro Wrestler Jimi “The Shogun” Mayhem, crashed the screening of The Last Dragon in true Shogun of Harlem style. Read more about that here ~> Who would interrupt The 30th Anniversary Screening of The Last Dragon? 

2. Julius Carry’s Mom was in the House!!

Helen “Mama Nuff” Carry and some of her family came to the celebration to represent Sho’nuff and excepted an award on his behalf. I’ve always wondered if Julius Carry knew how much love people had for his character. I am very pleased to say that when I asked Mrs. Carry this question she gave me a confident “YES!” She added that he used to talk about Sho’nuff & The Last Dragon all the time! I was always worried that Julius didn’t get a chance to see how much Sho’nuff was appreciated; so although its sad that he couldn’t attend the 30th Anniversary Reunion & Celebration having Helen tell me this really made my day.

Helen Carry (Mama Nuff) and Craig Sutton from The Last Dragon Tribute

Helen “Mama’Nuff” Carry & Craig Sutton from TheLastDragonTribute.com

 

More Sho’nuff Related Content on TheLastDragonTribute.com:

Who's DA Mastah!!?!?!

 

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TheLastDragonTribute.com is a blog dedicated to preserving the joy of Berry Gordy’s 1985 Motown meets Kung Fu cult classic The Last Dragon. We also delve into all things Bruce Lee, Martial Arts and enjoy reminiscing about 70′s,80′s & 90′s pop culture. Follow us from the links below for your daily dose of the Glow!

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