Year of the Dragon (1985)

R   |    |  Action, Crime, Drama


Year of the Dragon (1985) Poster

A police detective cracks down on organized crime in Chinatown after the murders of Triad and Mafia leaders.


6.9/10
13,622

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  • John Lone in Year of the Dragon (1985)
  • Mickey Rourke and Fabia Drake in Year of the Dragon (1985)
  • Ariane in Year of the Dragon (1985)
  • Year of the Dragon (1985)
  • Mickey Rourke and Ariane in Year of the Dragon (1985)
  • Mickey Rourke and Ariane in Year of the Dragon (1985)

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17 August 2003 | 2004RedSox
8
| One of the more realistic films about Chinese Americans
When "Year of the Dragon" was released in 1985, it was ripped to pieces by Chinese anti-defamation organizations as being a very racist film. The film was likewise given lot of bad reviews by critics, who probably wanted to be politically correct.

Being a Chinese American who was raised in Boston's Chinatown, I had expected bad things about this film. Even though "The Deer Hunter" is a great film, the depictions of Vietnamese and Chinese in that film are truly horrendous (no, Chinese DID NOT engage in Russian Roulette!!) I expected the same with "Year of the Dragon." I was totally shocked after I saw the film at how realistic the film was about Chinatown. I do understand many Chinese Americans do not want themselves portrayed as drug dealers, gang members, etc. However, I don't think there has been any film in Hollywood history who portrayed the dark side of Chinatown as accurately as this film. I know because I grew up in the area when there lot of Chinese street gangs and mafia activity.

The sad thing is after this film was released, depictions of Chinese Americans has gotten a LOT worse; they are depicted as chopsocky kung fu gangsters (now isn't that ironic!!) in Jet Li and Jackie Chan movies, or as baby killers, rapists, or domineering bigots in "The Joy Luck Club" (by the way, this film is truly truly AWFUL in it's portrayals of Chinese; the ignorant critics however gave this movie great reviews.) Strangely, Chinese anti-defamation leagues has been very silent during these years.

"Year of the Dragon" is Cimino's unappreciated gem. According to my view, it's his second best film. I understand this film has flaws but Cimino was brilliant in showing the side of Chinese Americans that few Americans know. Not all of us Chinese went to CalTech or MIT and became successful software engineers or research scientists.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Michael Cimino was officially 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 they're 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."


Quotes

Tracy Tzu: Captain McKenna, any leads in the murder of Jackie Wong?
William McKenna: Nothing at this time.
Tracy Tzu: Do you think this killing means there's some kind of war going on in the Chinatown Tongs?
William McKenna: No, I don't. This is basically a situation where the youth gangs are lashing out at...


Goofs

Outside Stanley White's house when he is shooting at the escaping gangster, his fellow officer is running towards him down the street with the shotgun. When they cut to White again this same officer is now in the front yard with White and they both jump over the fence.


Crazy Credits

The end credits roll over a image of the Chinese woman restaurant-singer crooning a Chinese easy-listening ditty.


Soundtracks

Resurrection Symphony #2 (Fifth Movement)
Written by
Gustav Mahler (uncredited)
By Bernard Haitink and Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest
Courtesy of PolyGram Special Projects, a division of PolyGram Records, Inc.

Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Action | Crime | Drama | Thriller

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