“Year of the Dragon” (1985) is slightly forgotten gangster vs. cop flick. It’s really fucking good. After Making the sprawling epic “Heaven’s Gate” (1980), a film which was considered, upon its release, to be a self-indulgent, 318 minute long disaster that put the final nail in the coffin of the director driven 1970’s, and killed a studio, director Michael Cimino had to do some time in movie jail. It took quite a while for people to wise the fuck up, and now “Heaven’s Gate” (1980) is generally highly regarded, as it should be. Anyway, armed with an Oliver Stone penned screenplay, Cimino came back strong with “Year of the Dragon” (1985). It stars a bleach-blond Mickey Rourke as Detective Stanley White (Blonde, Mr. White, Polish. I get it, he’s not Chinese). White is a Vietnam vet who is kinda racist and generally a little fucked up due to his war experience (I see you Oliver Stone) He is tasked with cleaning up Chinatown in Manhattan, just as Joey Tai (John Lone) ruthlessly takes over the Triad syndicates. Lone is memorable as the slick mob boss. Tai’s power play attracts the attention of White and the police, who have had a shaky truce with old Triad bosses. White goes after Tai. Shit gets personal. Tai goes after just about everyone in White’s life. White, understandably, gets pretty pissed off. They go to war. It’s awesome. If you like great-looking violent gangster movies, and Mickey Rourke before he looked slightly melted, this movie is for you. – LEE
YEAR OF THE DRAGON – Trailer ( 1985 )
Michael Cimino (Dir. & Co-Writer): Co-wrote the fantastic “Silent Running” (1972). Directed the Clint Eastwood caper flick “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot” (1974). Wrote and directed the incredibly polarizing “Heaven’s Gate” (1980)and “The Deer Hunter” (1978).
Oliver Stone (Co-Writer): Check out some of the lesser known flicks he directed like “Talk Radio”(1988) and “Salvador”(1986). You could go with some his earlier writing efforts like “8 Million Ways To Die” (1986) or “Midnight Express” (1978)
Mickey Rourke: As Charlie in “The Pope of Greenwich Village” (1984). The Motorcycle Boy in “Rumble Fish” (1983). Boogie in “Diner” (1982), and his small, but breakthrough role in the aforementioned, “Heaven’s Gate, (1980)
John Lone: As the star of Bernardo Bertolucci’s epic, masterpiece, “The Last Emperor” (1987). That’s it for him.