Chinatown, New York City. There has long been an unofficial agreement that the NYPD will leave the traditionally run Chinese triad alone to manage the crime issue in the neighborhood, the triad who is the face of organized crime of Chinatown. The triad also has an unofficial agreement with the Italian mafia, still seen as the major player in organized crime in the city, to be cooperative in a win-win situation in their illegal activities. However, the Chinese youth gangs are disregarding these unofficial agreements, being another violent player in the crime scene in Chinatown, they who take a stand by killing Jackie Wong, the head of the triad. To deal with the matter, the NYPD reassign Captain Stanley White from Brooklyn to Chinatown. Stanley, of Polish heritage, is not averse to slinging slurs toward his adversaries, most of those of a racial nature. This reassignment will not help the already deteriorating marriage he has to his long suffering wife, Connie. While Stanley is ...Written by
Cimino credits Clint Eastwood with his career. Cimino's debut as writer/director, 1974's Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, only got made thanks to Eastwood's belief in him. The contract gave Eastwood the right to fire him after the first three days of shooting, and thankfully he never felt compelled to do so. See more »
After Connie is killed in the bathroom and Kearney and Lou enter Stanley's house to serve him papers, we see the outline of Connie's body with fresh blood on the bathroom floor. Blood turns a darker/brownish color after it is exposed to air, especially the time it took after Connie's murder and the beginning of this scene. 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.
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The end credits roll over a image of the Chinese woman restaurant-singer crooning a Chinese easy-listening ditty. See more »
'Year Of The Dragon' is a dark, brutal thriller about the Chinese mafia's turf wars in the United States. This was once celebrated director Michael Cimino's last attempt to create something daring in Hollywood after his previous film 'Heaven's Gate' infamously bankrupted studio United Artists, but while 'Year of the Dragon' might not the be the masterpiece Cimino's multiple Oscar-wining epic 'The Deer Hunter' was, it is still a very good film and remains one of the best cop thrillers of the eighties - plus it features a Mickey Rourke in absolute top form.
And it's an interesting film for some other reasons as well. For one, the script was written by none other than a young Oliver Stone. For another, it was the first time a Hollywood movie addressed the topic of Chinese gang violence in America, and although it seems rather tame now when compared to the reality of Triad wars, at the time, it was accused of being racist towards the Chinese community. The controversy it caused when it opened, plus the fact that it flopped badly, were the final nails in Cimino's career (he only made 3 more films until his death in 2016). But it's a very well crafted, gripping cop thriller that deserves to be re-discovered. 8 stars out of 10.
In case you're interested in more underrated gems, here's a list with some of my favorites:
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