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Charlie and his troublesome cousin Paulie decide to steal $150000 in order to back a "sure thing" race horse that Paulie has inside information on. The aftermath of the robbery gets them ... See full summary »
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An inside look at the hectic production of Heaven's Gate, the media circus that turned it into a synonym for movie flop and how it added to the tectonic change that occurred in Hollywood film studios after it infamously flopped.
Using unprecedented degrees of violence, young Joey Tai becomes the head of Chinese mafia in New York and undisputed leader of the Chinese community. Stanley White, the most decorated cop in New York and a Vietnam veteran, is put in charge of Chinatown. Both men are prone to breaking long-established rules and both men are unlikely to make compromises with each other, which leads to unavoidable and bloody conflict. Written by
Dragan Antulov <email@example.com>
Michael Cimino and Oliver Stone first met when Stone approached Cimino to direct Midnight Express. Cimino had to pass, as he was just about to start production on his passion project, The Deer Hunter (1978). Years later, while in pre-production on Year of the Dragon, Cimino remembered how much he loved the script for Midnight Express, and asked Stone to collaborate on the script. See more »
Scene in Stanley's kitchen, where the sink pipe bursts and water spouts on Stanley - water also gets on the camera lens. See more »
Captain McKenna, any leads in the murder of Jackie Wong?
Nothing at this time.
Do you think this killing means there's some kind of war going on in the Chinatown Tongs?
No, I don't. This is basically a situation where the youth gangs are lashing out at the establishment. The community is cooperating. The situation's under control.
See more »
The end credits roll over a squeezed image of the Chinese woman restaurant-singer crooning a Chinese easy-listening ditty. See more »
I first saw this electrifying film when I was thirteen years old. I was way to young to watch it, but it definitely made an impression. Most of it went over my head, but I loved the chaotic feel of the piece and even then I knew Mickey Rourke was fascinating to watch. I have seen the film many times since then and I am still amazed at how fluid and dexterous Michael Cimino's film-making is. The propulsive forward momentum of this movie is not something that just any filmmaker would be able to capture. Cimino goes for a heightened realism that in lesser hands would be laughably over the top. The major characters scream and rage at each other and the dialog scenes are so emotionally violent it is a wonder the characters have strength left for the action set-pieces.
At the center of this wild, carnival ride of a movie stands Mickey Rourke. At this time Rourke was being courted by Hollywood for cross-over mainstream success. He instead took roles that would have scared off more timid actors. For people who relished tough minded movies that pulled no punches every film he did at this time was an event. Year of the Dragon is not a well-regarded part of his filmography, but upon closer inspection it reveals itself to be one of the best vehicles he ever had. His Stanley White is a man at war with the world. For him the job is everything and he throws himself into it consequences be damned. His wife despises him and his cavalier attitude towards their relationship. His superiors hate him because he constantly points out their hypocrisies. To him the job is a ceasless conflict. The fact that he is a Vietnam vet is the key starting point for his character. He wants to win at all costs and he really never left the battlefield. There have been many characters like this, but never played with such world weary and yet heartfelt passion. Rourke's performance is the fulcrum that the entire movie spins around. The way he enters a room or throws his hat around for emphasis is not just actorly business. His characterization is impeccable. Stan White is incapable of speaking in bullshit and he does not care to hear it either. His uncompromising and undeniably racially tinged viewpoint makes the character into a powder keg waiting to explode. He has many showdowns with corrupt local leaders, John Lone's reptilian crime boss and his own police superiors. In all of these encounters it is clear that for Stan White there can be no compromise. He will use every weapon in his arsenal to bring down those who would break the law or attempt to profit from it. His relentless pursuit of a personal brand of street justice gives the character a mythic resonance. Rourke is unafraid to show how truly insane White really is. When an action scene happens it comes as a welcome release from the coiled spring intensity that Rourke brings to his performance.
John Lone matches Rourke measure for measure as the oily, yet seductive crime boss Joey Tai. There is a terrific scene where he basically lays out his world view to the unimpressed Stan White. Joey sees himself as a businessman and if drugs, gambling, prostitution, murder and intimidation are the course of doing business than so be it. He is smarter than Rourke's thuggish cop and what he says makes a lot of sense from a certain point of view. This is not the typical shifty crime boss that we have come to know in gangster movie after gangster movie. He is a civilized and rational man whose stock and trade happens to be drugs and violence. Like all good capitalists he has identified a need and is profiting from it. The moral ambiguity that director Cimino and scriptwriter Oliver stone inject into the proceedings gives the film an intellectual and thoughtful flavor it might otherwise not have. This is exemplified by Lone's sinister, savvy and ultimately tragic performance as Joey Tai. Special mention must also be made of the gifted character actor Dennis Dun's wonderful performance as one of White's undercover officers. Dun finds a million different ways to project uncertainty and anxiety as he comes to understand that Stanley White would willingly and easily sacrifice him to the altar of his crusade for justice.
Year of the Dragon takes off like a rocket during it's major action set-pieces. The violence in the film is sudden and always shocking. These characters truly play by their own rules and will do anything they can to turn the game to their advantage. There is a scene toward the end of the film when Rourke confronts Lone in a dance club that is one of the best action scenes I have ever witnessed in a film. The kinetic intensity and white hot energy displayed in this scene is thrilling to behold.
I know I will never see a better police thriller/crime drama than Year of the Dragon. This is a film that has the brash confidence to tell a compelling story in a stylish and exciting fashion. The visceral excitement this film generates puts modern action films to shame. I hope that there will be a reconsideration of this piece now that Rourke is getting attention for his work again. This movie is an example of the kind of special magic that can happen when a writer, actors and director go for the throat and don't let go.
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