HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Windom's Way
True Don Quixote, The
Babymother
Mitchells vs. the Machines, The
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Unholy, The
How to Deter a Robber
Antebellum
Offering, The
Enola Holmes
Big Calamity, The
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Settlers
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Kandisha
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Plurality
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
Honeymoon
   
 
Newest Articles
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
   
 
  Year of the Dragon The Chinese Connection
Year: 1985
Director: Michael Cimino
Stars: Mickey Rourke, John Lone, Ariane, Leonard Termo, Raymond J. Barry, Caroline Kava, Eddie Jones, Joey Chin, Victor Wong, K. Dock Yip, Pau Hon-Lam
Genre: Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: There's trouble brewing in New York's Chinatown district, and the cops are alerted to the situation when an influential pillar of the community is stabbed to death in a restaurant. This brings it to the attention of the media as well, so when the funeral takes place through the streets with curious crowds lining the procession, both detective Stanley White (Mickey Rourke) who is attending with the police to monitor the situation, and the reporters led by Tracy Tzu (Ariane) are there to join the jostling throng. And yet neither of them notice an Italian grocer with Mob connections being shot dead at the same time...

After the debacle of Heaven's Gate, Michael Cimino took five years to get another film made, and it was a production based on an Oliver Stone script which they collaborated on. Stone's career was about to go ballistic with Platoon the following year, eclipsing Cimino's, which made Year of the Dragon an interesting halfway point where two talents met, one on the way up and the other on the way down, but sadly if you thought this meant something special then you'd be faced with a mess of themes, variable acting and a confused sense of direction. Was this meant to be an anti-racist movie, for example? Because from some angles the opposite was looking to be the case.

This was a pity, because the subject of prejudice was one worth tackling in film, it was just that it appeared impossible to do so without utilising the most thumpingly unsubtle methods, so much so that one of the finest Hollywood instances of taking down the problem was one of the least sensitive comedies ever made, Blazing Saddles, which practically roared at the audience: "You're racist? THEN YOU'RE AN IDIOT!" Which was good that a joke could be made of the issue in such withering fashion, but not so good if you wanted to address it in more detailed, probing terms and get to the heart of why bigotry seemed to be hanging around when the world was ostensibly moving on to fresh understanding.

Understanding which was noticably absent from Cimino's film, and Rourke's absurdly overwrought performance for that matter. Detective White (hey, was that name supposed to be ingeniously symbolic? Sheesh...) was such a boor that the script offered to deepen the characterisation by making him a Vietnam War veteran, thus explaining his anti-Asian feelings, and somewhat less believably have him fall in love with ace reporter Tracy, who for some reason reciprocates to create one of the least likely chalk and cheese relationships in movie history. Not helping was White's wife Connie (Caroline Kava) as such a ball and chain to him that you had to wonder about the writers' attitudes to women as well.

There is of course a difference between penning a story (or directing a film) about a sexist and racist loudmouth and actually being one yourself, but as this took in all sorts of bits of business from domestic arguments to international drug smuggling, the results were a scattershot flurry of targets which they failed to hit to any great satisfaction. Second-billed John Lone was the main businessman behind the evildoing, but more of a Fu Manchu than some kind of authentic master Triad, and enjoying a complex connection with White which never resolved itself unless it was with predictable violence. The blood flowed freely in places, but such action setpieces were more likely to jolt the viewer out of their stupor than clear up any nagging plot points. The subject of how crime from a nation's ethnic minorities can be tricky to investigate when prejudice is always going to be on the agenda was one which could have given rise to a rich and substantial thriller: this was not it. Music by David Mansfield.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2297 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Michael Cimino  (1939 - 2016)

One of the most controversial directors to emerge from the burst of American talent of the nineteen-seventies. None of those directors had a totally easy ride from the critics or public, but he seemed to suffer the most, having started out moving from advertising to writing scripts for Silent Running and Magnum Force. Once Clint Eastwood noted his promise, he hired him to direct Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, which some still believe is his best effort thanks to Eastwood reining him in. But next was The Deer Hunter, an Oscar-garlanded Vietnam War drama that the world responded to far better than any before, and he had his pick of projects.

Alas, this success went to his head and he became increasingly unbalanced, as the horror stories from his next movie Heaven's Gate would show, a huge flop that still divides opinion on its merits to this day. Cimino resurfaced with Year of the Dragon, a Mickey Rourke cop vehicle tainted by racism, and The Sicillian, an unpopularly benevolent view of an Italian crime lord. The Desperate Hours was a remake laughed off the screen in most places, and his last feature was spiritual drama The Sunchaser, barely seen in cinemas. He was discussing new projects to the end, but it seems his ego continually sabotaged his undoubted talent.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: