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Year of the Dragon (1985)


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Release Date: Aug 16, 1985 Wide



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Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 8,256

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Movie Info

Best known for his 1978 film The Deer Hunter or perhaps the less-successful Heaven's Gate, director Michael Cimino turned to this fast-paced actioner set in an authentic (back lot) Chinatown. This thriller stars a rogue Polish-American cop (Mickey Rourke) out to not only keep Chinatown safe for the local consumers, but to dismantle its deep-rooted crime and drug cartels as well. No one backs the crusading cop in the latter objective, and as he faces a suave and wily crime boss (John Lone of The


Drama, Action & Adventure

Michael Cimino, Oliver Stone, Robert Daley

May 31, 2005

MGM Home Entertainment

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All Critics (19) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (9) | Rotten (6) | DVD (8)

A stunning, hard-edged crime thriller from Michael Cimino with a mesmerizing lead performance by Mickey Rourke. An incredibly gutsy effort that's my favorite film of 1985.

October 10, 2005
Fantastica Daily

Bullets, blood, and bodies fly, but little rings true.

May 28, 2005 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Screwy but fascinating.

December 1, 2003 Full Review Source:

Forget it, Jake: It AIN'T 'Chinatown'

June 26, 2003
Kalamazoo Gazette

A hyped-up, by the numbers cop thriller.

January 16, 2003
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Year of the Dragon sometimes look like an incoherent combination of many different movies.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Year of the Dragon

Many people claim that The Deer Hunter is Michael Cimino's only good movie. However, this is just as good if not better. Probably one of the greatest crime epics to ever be made, this really has it all. Mickey Rourke shows his muscle and stubbornness, his manliness is almost off the scale. It takes the concept of a one man war on crime and really puts it to a realistic test. You can't win anything without losing some too. The action in this movie is flawless, violent yet somehow incredibly tasteful. It's almost like a French Connection type of cop mentality thrown into Chinatown.
November 30, 2010

Super Reviewer

Now here's a classic example of a picture that could have been so much better!

And upon reading the credits one would really think they have a winner. Why wouldn't anyone expect a great film, with a screenplay co-written by Oliver Stone, directing done by Michael Cimino of "The Deer Hunter" fame and Mickey Rourke in the lead role of a tough cop!

But unfortunately what we end up getting is a run-of-the-mill cops and gangsters story, which, although begins on a promising note for most of the first half hour, finds itself going on a downward spiral of the sameness that were the 80s!

Mickey Rourke stars as Stanley White, a police captain assigned to New York's Chinatown where the Chinese mafia is running amuck with their organized crime and broad daylight shootouts in public places. Joey Tai (John Lone) is at the center of this gangster empire, as a ruthlessly ambitious young gangster who quickly rises up to become the head of the Chinese triads; a character that reminds one of Tony Montana.

So throughout the film, Rourke is constantly on the hunt trying to get his hands on these gang of crooks through some or the other means.
When he is not very busy doing that, he manages to take some time off and make some romantic advances towards Tracy Tzu (Ariane Koizumi) who plays a television reporter but does a really bad job of acting while she is at it.

White's pursuit of Joey Tai soon takes the shape of a violent bloodbath and continues until the ultimate showdown between the two tough-as-nails men on either side of the law.

"Year of the Dragon" is a film that suffers from some shoddy film-making with "80s" written all over it. There is some over-the-top violence, some ridiculously implausible scenes, terrible acting from the female lead, Ariane Koizumi and a few more negatives.

That said, this film does have some very good movie moments and some very engaging scenes, but then a few good scenes aren't enough to make a great film as a whole.

What this film draws most of its points then, is from a stellar, mesmerizing performance by Mickey Rourke.

Rourke, as a bad-ass cop shines bright and flies much higher and saves "Year of the Dragon" from being entirely unwatchable.

Watch it for Rourke, if nothing else. Here's one actor who was perhaps born in the wrong era and deserved much better in his screwed up career.
November 8, 2010
Aditya Gokhale
Aditya Gokhale

Super Reviewer

Year of the Dragon is something of a little known masterpiece. It is well written by Oliver Stone, and directed by Cimino at a turning point in his career. The centre piece, however, is Rourkes performance, which was caught while he most likely was at the peak of his acting ability's. You will be totally blown away by the realism of his acting, and it's even more noteworthy that the film was made while Rourke was youthful while making this and was made to look more senior (that grey hair is dye). A heartfelt performance from an actor playing a cop with "scar tissue on his soul", will never be forgotten once seen. While the main character is far from perfect, it is just that which makes him believable as well. Stanley White is on a crusade and would die for his principles, which effects all those involved with him. It is a complex film, often talky, which is punctuated throughout with explosive violence, well shot with use of excellent set pieces. Bloody in places and above all gritty and realistic, in parts it is even beautiful. The film works on many levels from it's slow burn beginnings with emphasis on conspiracy to the final pay off on the dock yards. Well drawn characters are everywhere in this film, and it never losses its hard edge. Rourke has seen a much needed and deserved return in recent years. He may have lost his handsome good looks due to boxing and due to too many face lifts, but the guy will never lose his acting ability. We, the true fans, never gave up on this chance. And now he's finally gaining popularity with a new generation, who need to see and experience The Year Of The Dragon, To believe the hype. Also check out his other classics Angel Heart and Barfly.
April 10, 2009

Super Reviewer

Not quite bad thriller of an obsessed cop takes on the Chinese mafia, determined to reassert America's supremacy at home, having failed in the East. John Lone should become a major movie star. Mickey Rourke gives a good performance. Director Michael Cimino has talent to burn... his work is smashing.
February 10, 2008
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • L'Année du dragon (FR)
  • Manhattan sur (ES)
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