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4.3 out of 5 stars
32
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 21 August 2017
Been wanting to watch this for the best part of a year and didn't want to buy the DVD of it because why would you? As of 21/08/2017 there is still no UK Blu Ray of this film which is shocking. They really need to bring this out already. Anyway i watched this via MGM's film steaming via Amazon and im glad i did as it is a 1080p transfer with English subtitles on the Chinese sections of the film which is essential. The French Blu ray doesn't have this.

Why this film STILL isn't out in the UK on Blu-ray yet is beyond me. Regardless the film is excellent. Its well filmed crime film with the cinematography of what reminded me of Once Upon A Time In America but with a Neo Noir twist. Its a shame Michael Cimino's career worsened after this film. He was very good at making you care for the characters. Needless to say as well, his films are stunning to look at.

Despite his reputation at the time this film should've been seen by more people. Its just a shame this is one of his films that isn't fondly remembered as much as the highlight of his career (The Deer Hunter) and the unfair bashing and tarnishing of his subsequent film (Heavens Gate).
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on 12 May 2015
very pleased with this item
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on 26 November 2015
Quite a film in its day. Great performances and solid direction made Year Of The Dragon a little bit different from the other films that were on offer about this time. As ever with Hollywood, the technique is superb, along with the special effects and the action. Micahel Cimino (who died recently) did a fine job. My favourite scene was where the bloke got shot in the hand. The acting was good...the Chinese men (sorry and of course all the supporting actors in black turtle necks. The machine gun section was particularly well-staged and I really enjoyed it.
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on 10 September 2008
Perhaps not the greatest film, but I always remember this one because of Rourke's performance as a cop doggedly struggling to do the right thing in the face of impossible odds - including his own arrogance and ignorance. Stanley White is almost impossible to like as a character but Rourke somehow instils beneath all the character's unpleasant attitudes and manner an almost saintly purity of purpose and 'good'. It's a timeless performance of how the cynicism and corruption of the world and the brutality of his nature should make White hopelessly evil, yet somehow he rises above himself to be something better than the 'good' people around him. Harvey Keitel did something similar in Bad Lieutenant, but Rourke was there first.
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on 13 June 2008
In fact, this is not just one of the great crime genre films of the 1980s, it is one of the best films of the that decade full stop.

Rourke is absolutely fantastic, just as he showed in Diner, Rumblefish, Pope of Greenwich Village, 9.5 Weeks, Angel Heart, Johnny Handsome etc. He was the greatest male film star of the 80s - better, more consistent, more vulnerable, cooler and better looking than either De Niro or Pacino. Here, Rourke plays a determined, obsessive, flawed yet vulnerable NY cop out to bring down a Triad gang that is taking over Manhattan from the mafia. For me Rourke has always been a favourite because he wears his heart and emotional vulnerability on his sleeve - compare him to the indestructable leads today. If it were remade perhaps they would have Jason Statham in the lead role? Ha!

If you like grand cinema, epic scenes and (melo)drama, this is an excellent film. People criticise the film for being too long, slow and melodramatic. I completely disagree. To me these are all positives. This film, like The Godfather and The Deer Hunter, is like a good novel - the detail, pace and drama connect you to the characters. I can only imagine that people who criticise YotD or the Deer Hunter, for instance, prefer fast, choppy editing, SFX and plastic babe characters.

The fractious, distant and unloving relationship between Stanley and Connie is brilliantly portrayed. The fact that Connie is not a dolly-bird model makes it all the better - these are real people with real relationships and problems. Again, if this film were remade now, Connie would have to be played by and made to look like a supermodel.

A mention also of the excellent cinematography from Alex Thompson and the score by David Mansfield, both of which are excellent and really add to the atmosphere of the film.

Personally, I love the melodrama in this film. It's what is missing from cinema now - real emotion. The 70s in particular were full of great melodramatic stories like The Godfather, The Deer Hunter, Kramer vs Kramer and the like - they packed an emotional wallop. Now everything is slick, carbon-copy fluff, churned out from a cookie-cutter process with identikit cinematography, pretty cast and SFX in place of humanity.

The fact the film ends with Mahler's Resurrection just makes it even better.

An undiscovered gem of the 80s. I just wish they would release a remastered version on Blu-ray.
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on 29 April 2014
Enjoyed Michael Cimino's venture into Chinatown very much. A great deal of effort went into the making of this film, including a lot of Chinese dialogue (obviously requiring sub-titling) on the part of the leading Chinatown protagonists but this only adds to the film's verisimilitude so you have to stick with it.

The film is very well scripted and directed in all its 'specifics' but somehow, as a whole, there seems to be something 'missing' and, overall, I felt it just didn't quite gel come the end. Can't really put my finger on it but aspects like the denouement with Stanley White and the Chinese reporter seemingly getting together at the end somehow didn't work for me since their relationship hadn't really struck me as being any great love affair - certainly not compared to the emphasis placed on White's marriage by the director (as well as several of the other players in the story) and especially when you consider White's wife, Connie, is horribly murdered by his Chinatown adversaries.

I also found myself 'at odds' with White's whole approach to the Chinatown problem. It's quite obvious that he wasn't 'tasked' by his superiors to go in there and stir everything up with a stick the way he does and yet it's a long time before he gets reeled in by his own people. Highly-decorated cop he may be but resolving a problem such as Chinatown is portrayed to be is hardly a job for a solo maverick with questionable people skills!

That said, I have nothing but praise for Mickey Rourke as Stanley White. Like Burt Reynolds in Deliverance, you feel that Rourke had all the makings of another Brando when you see him in some of his early roles and I thought he did a stellar job here with the Stanley White character. It's really thanks to Rourke that I liked Stanley White at all!

I thought John Lone was brilliant as White's chief opposition and here was another actor who put his heart and soul into the role he played. I'm sorry not to have seen Lone in other sizeable roles as he carried this off brilliantly, I thought. Perhaps someone can recommend another of his performances to me.

To sum up, I found Year of the Dragon to be a very good film - just not a great one (Cimino's Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is the one that does it for me). Whilst you're watching YOTD it's a very involving and atmospheric film but afterwards I found I was left feeling vaguely dissatisfied. Still, that won't stop me from watching it again.
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Michael Cimino said part of the reason he made it Year of the Dragon was to prove that he could come in on time and on budget (which he did) after being fired from Footloose for asking for a very minor increase in the budget (can you blame them after Heaven's Gate?) and seeing The Yellow Jersey and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (a four hour western with most of the dialogue in Sioux? Sure, Mr Cimino, and shall we declare bankruptcy now to save time?) fall through. Tempting fate, Cimino even cast two of the bit players from Heaven's Gate in the leads, Mickey Rourke sporting stylishly grayed hair and Caroline Kava as his ovulating wife.

Yes, the dialogue is highly variable and the epilogue ("He's a good cop but he just won't give up!") is worthy of public ridicule. Yes, the Vietnam parallels are overplayed at every opportunity ("It's just like Vietnam! Nobody wants to win this thing!"). Yes, the plot is pretty much standard-issue. Yes, co-writer Oliver Stone and Cimino show off their research by giving characters big historical speeches about Chinese civilization and the hundred years of discrimination the Chinese suffered in America at every turn. Yes, the motivation is sometimes laughable - they kill Rourke's partners and a family member but it's only when they lay hands on his mistress that he decides that "This time he's gone TOO FAR!" But there's an epic grandeur to the film that's unusual in the cop movie genre. It's not just scenes like the spectacular entry into a drug-dealing Thai general's village either: even the nightclub where Mickey Rourke beats up John Lone (quite excellent here) is large enough to hold an aircraft carrier. Cimino doesn't really do small, and his sense of grandeur gives the film a gravity it doesn't really deserve. And his eye for a good set piece that deserted his subsequent films is still very visible in the restaurant shootout. Overblown it may be, but it's far from being just a guilty pleasure.

Although widescreen, Sanctuary's DVD comes up short on extras - the French edition also has a trailer while the US disc includes a pretty decent audio commentary by Cimino and trailer.
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on 7 October 2010
Year of the Dragon [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

YEAR OF THE DRAGON STARS MICKEY ROURKE AS A DOGGED AND SLIGHTLY UNHINGED COP STANLEY WHITE, WHOM IS GIVEN NEW YORK'S CHINATOWN TO OVERSEE, AND LOWER THE CRIME LEVELS(PARTICULARLY AMONGST THE STREET GANGS), THERE, WHITE FINDS A NEW TRIAD LEADER JOEY TAI--JOHN LONE(ORDERING KILLINGS TO MOVE HIMSELF UP FASTER, AMONGST HIS CRIMINAL FRATERNITY).

WHITE--HIS UNORTHODOX METHODS(ILLEGAL WIRETAPS, BEATING UP SUSPECTS), HARRASSING JOEY TAI--SOON BRING HIM TO THE NOTICE OF HIS SUPERIORS--HIS CHILDHOOD FRIEND PLAYED BY RAYMOND J.BARRY, AND AN EQUALLY TRAUMATIC HOMELIFE, WITH HIS WIFE PORTRAYED BY CAROLINE KAVA.

WHITE, WITH HIS QUITE CLEAR RACIST STREAK, AND HIS PRIDE IN HIS POLISH(OR POLACK)BACKGROUND, IS A MAN OF CONTRADICTIONS AND UNBRIDLED CONTEMPT FOR HIS ENEMIES--STARTING WITH JOEY TAI, AND THROUGH MOST OF THE CHINESE COMMUNITY AND POLICE DEPARTMENT.

CIMINO'S YOFTD, WAS A CONTROVERISAL MOVIE IN ITS TIME--ITS DEPICTION OF WHITE'S ALMOST RELIGIOUS HATRED OF EVERYTHING CHINESE(DATING BACK TO THE VIETNAM WAR--WHITE SEEMS CONFUSED BY THE DIFFRENT NATIONALTIES) ALMOST UNSETTLES THE MOVIE.
ALTHOUGH CIMINO, OLIVER STONE(WHOM WROTE THE SCRIPT) AND ROURKE BRING THREE DIMENSIONS TO WHITE AND THE CHINESE COMMUNITY, THERE IS STILL A NAGGING DOUBT TO IT'S RACISM IS REAL-RATHER THAN A DEVICE TO BE USED TO DRIVE THE WHITE CHARACTER FURTHER.
THE MOVIE THRIVES ON ITS SHOCKS, THERE IS SOME STARTLING VIOLENCE, AND GENUINE HORRIFYING INCIDENTS--WHITE IS THE PRO-ACTIVE COP, WHO MAKES "CHINATOWN BOIL OVER..."--WHITE'S DESCRIPTION, WHICH LEAD TO REVENGE ON BOTH SIDES OF THE LEGALITY.
CIMINO WHOM HAD DIRECTED HEAVEN'S GATE SOME 5 YEARS BEFORE WAS KEPT ON A TIGHT LEASH BY MOVIE PRODUCER DINO DELAURNTIIS(SORRY ABOUT MISSPELLING..)---THE MOVIE COSTS AROUND $22 MILLION, AND WAS SHOT ON A SET (NOT IN NEW YORK AS IT APPEARS...).
SUPERBLY LIT BY THE UK's ALEX THOMPSON(EXCALIBUR), THE MOVIE IS A FRENETIC, SUPERBLY EDITED COP THRILLER, WITH A LEAD WHO IS CHARMING AND ABUSIVE, IT IS COMPELLING VIEWING.
NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED THOUGH.
ROURKE IS SUPERB THROUGHOUT--PLAYING A CHARACTER MUCH OLDER THAN HIMSELF(HE WAS ABOUT 28 AT THE TIME, PLAYING MID FORTIES).
CAROLINE KAVA SUPERB AS HIS HARD PRESSED WIFE, AND RAYMOND J.BARRY OFFER SUPERB SUPPORT, FINALLY TO MENTION TO JOHN LONE--JOEY TAI---WHITE'S NEMESIS, HE IS EXCELLENT, SADLY HIS CAREER IN THE WEST NEVER TOOK OFF AS IT SHOULD, HE WAS A MAJOR STAR BRIEFLY(AFTER "THE LAST EMPEROR"). HIS WRY WIT AND DELIBERATE MIS-UNDERSTANDING OF WHITES INTENTIONS ARE EXCELLENTLY DONE.
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VINE VOICEon 17 January 2005
A searing urban crime movie that ranks right up with the best of the genre. An incendiary script, evocative and explosive direction, and great performances all add up to an unfairly overlooked minor classic. Featuring a powerhouse performance from Mickey Rourke, back before he and director Cimino ('The Deer Hunter') squandered their singular talents, this is an unforgettable experience.
The film ranks as a five-star classic, but is marked as a four due to the total lack of extras on the disc.
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on 14 December 2007
This is the first movie in Rourke's golden years: Year of the dragon (1985), 9 1/2 weeks (1986), Angel Heart (1987), Barfly (1987): every single one underrated IMO. His glory started to erode heavily with Johnny Handsome (1989), really hit an all-time low with Wild Orchid (1990) and confirms that as the Marlboro Man's sidekick Harley Davidson (1991). Nevertheless I'm sorry that his footage was cut out of the Thin Red Line (1998), because I like his style. Michael Cimino (Thunderbolt&Lightfoot, Deerhunter) and cinematographer Alex Thomson (Excalibur, the Keep, Legend) apparently know their way in the eighties as well, although the story plays just before.

Is the recent wave of violence in Chinatown caused by Stanley White, the new (Polish originate) gung-ho sheriff in N.Y. Chinatown, or by the hunger for power by the young chinese gangsters? White, ironically, makes his own job harder because he has serious trouble respecting the Chinese in any way. Stanley hits the crime in chinatown like Popeye Doyle in the tradition of the French Connection, instead of a sheriff with brains. He will have to pay for his callousness and hypocrisy.
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