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 ... See full summary »
Butch "Bullet" Stein is a Jewish junkie from the mean streets of Brooklyn, is paroled after eight years in prison. Butch rips off a runner for local drug dealer, Tank, and is soon right ... See full summary »
Bank robbery in small town ends with one of the robbers being wounded. The loot from the robbery is just a asset for the even more spectacular heist. Simon, gang leader and Paris night club... See full summary »
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Craig R. Baxley
When an ambulatory TV news unit live broadcasts the embarrassing defeat of a police battalion by five bank robbers in a ballistic showdown, the credibility of the police force drops to a ... See full summary »
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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 »
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, who hates Asian people since his service in Vietnam, 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Michael Cimino was allowed final cut of the film, but was forced to make one change to the ending. "The only change they asked me to make, which to this day I still find inexplicable because I think it sums up the movie, was to the very last line. At the end of the movie, there's another fight that breaks out on Mott Street, during a funeral parade. Mickey is in the middle of the mêlée, Tracy runs in and picks him up off the ground, they both look like survivors of a war. The camera closes in. If you look closely, you can see that their not saying the line that you're hearing. The last line of the movie was, Stanley looks at her and says, 'Well, I guess if you fight a war long enough, you end up marrying the enemy.' 'Oliver Stone' himself is married to a Vietnamese girl right now. I'm sure you'll see American's with Iraqi women at some point. For reasons that I can't understand, that line was not acceptable, so I took a line from some other place in the movie and I slipped it in and it doesn't make any sense at all. But that line, that sums up the whole movie." See more »
Reflected off the glass of the paintings in the bank. 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 »
Resurrection Symphony #2 (Fifth Movement)
Written by Gustav Mahler (uncredited)
By Bernard Haitink and The Concertgebouw Orchestra
Courtesy of PolyGram Special Projects, a division of PolyGram Records, Inc. See more »
Following the Heaven's Gate debacle it must have been questionable if Michael Cimino would ever helm another epic film. Having shot The Deer Hunter and Heaven's Gate on such a grand scale, you expect that type of film from Cimino. Well, he was given one last shot to work the big screen using his considerable talents to create one last masterpiece. If there is a Michael Cimino trilogy it's his three epics The Deer Hunter, Heaven's Gate, and Year of the Dragon. In all honesty Hollywood does not make a lot of films like these so when they come along they are something special. These are films that show Hollywood at it's best, stretching, pushing the limits, and trying to create something huge fueled by a clear artistic vision. It may fall flat, as Heaven's Gate did, but the risk can be exhilarating. Looking back on Heaven's Gate now, many critics find it to be one hell of a film. There's a simple reason for that, they just don't make 'em like this much any more. So, in retrospect the Hurculean effort now looks refreshing.
Year of the Dragon is a powerhouse film. Where Heaven's Gate meandered on the plains, Year of the Dragon charges across the screen. I believe this was powered by Cimino probably giving his best effort to entertain as well as create on a grand scale. The result is a breathtaking ride and one of the best cop films we'll ever witness. Rourke as Stanley White is in his prime 80's form. There was no doubt about it, in the 80's the camera loved Mickey Rourke. If he had not gone off track it makes you wonder what could have been. His is not the only great performance in the film. John Lone as his prey is nothing short of magnificent. He is everything Al Pacino was in the Godfather films. I would say his performance owes a debt to Pacino and watching the film I wondered if he had used him as a model for Joey Tai. These three elements alone could be enough to make great film, two great actors dueling on screen and a director giving his best effort.
It doesn't stop there though. They are working from an Oliver Stone script which is beautifully composed to blur the lines between good and evil. It's not as simple as good guy and bad guy. These characters are fully fleshed out and complex. White may be the cop but he is deeply flawed as a human being. This script doesn't pander to the audience and you will not like Stanley White much of the time. Joey Tai is not pure evil. He follows a moral code and is an honorable man. This kind of writing is not for everyone and some may be put off or confused by the nature of these characters but that's what makes for great cinema.
Not only are the leads good but the supporting cast is also fantastic. Kava as Connie White brings nice weight to her performance as Stanley's wife. Raymond Barry and Victor Wong are excellent as are the entire supporting cast. There is one often noted exception. Ariane as Tracy Tzu the reporter and White's fling is very wooden. What causes her to stand out is the fact that all the other actors are so good. I believe this was her first film and she is out of her element. She just doesn't have the chops to keep up. Her performance doesn't drag down the film but it does stick out whenever she's on screen.
1985 saw a couple of fantastic cop films in this and To Live and Die in LA, which not surprisingly was directed by another great William Friedkin. Films like these are hard to come by. We were lucky to see Friedkin's film released as a special edition DVD. Year of the Dragon has been sold by MGM to Warner Brothers and now sits in limbo. It would be unfortunate for films like this and Sidney Lumet's Prince of the City (1981) to sit and rot on some shelf. The work of directors like Cimino, Friedkin, and Lumet should not be ignored. It's interesting that each of them made a fantastic film about cops in the 80's. Two of the three films though appear to be lost. Let's hope someone rescues them to DVD.
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