Year of the Dragon | Chicago Reader

Year of the Dragon

Police captain Mickey Rourke finds himself reliving his service in Vietnam when he takes on a Chinatown heroin racketeer (John Lone). Michael Cimino's film (1985) gives full rein to his personal tics—Southeast Asia, male bonding, mass social ritual (no less than three funeral scenes in this one)—as well as his usual weaknesses—lumpy narration, rhetorical inflation, wooden dialogue—while staying well within the standard outline of the violent urban thriller. Cimino's talent is at least 50 percent hot air, but the part that is not—his superb feel for movement across the Panavision frame—seems especially valuable. Say what you will about his overstuffed, overdetailed images, they at least represent a notion of cinema, as opposed to the flat television aesthetic that dominates Hollywood, that no film lover can afford to ignore.


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