Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tuesday's Overlooked Movie: Year of the Dragon

I watched Michael Cimino's 1985 film from an old VHS cassette, afterwards I threw the cassette away. Why? Because I want to get rid of my old cassettes - of course only those that can be replaced. But seems like everything is replaceable nowadays. I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or not.

I'd seen Cimino's film earlier - some 20 years ago, or even longer ago - and it hadn't made much of an impact on me. The same thing happened also at this time. One might blame the fact that I watched the movie from a worn cassette with possibly a wrong picture ratio. But still I find I wasn't very intrigued with Cimino's script and his characters. I'm not sure if I ever want to try to see this on big screen.

Even though there might be much to like in the film for someone who likes his crime fiction heroes despicable. Mickey Rourke is not bad in Year of the Dragon, but he's overdone with his fedora and long overcoat. His motivations are not very satisfactorily explained and he almost comes off as the hero, even though he's shown to be a bully and racist. This is a very contradictory film at its heart.

There are many great scenes in the film (such as Chinese drug lord John Lone's visit to Thailand, also the shootout near the end is expertly done), but there's also the stacked-on ending, which is really unfitting. And then there's the scene in which Rourke almost attacks a woman after which the said woman starts kissing Rourke... You'd think they wouldn't have done these things in this way in 1985, but hey, what do you know?

More Overlooked Films here. (Seems like only later on.)


Todd Mason said...

Too much later, but finally together! Thanks. Cimino never quite resonated with me.

Todd Mason said...

Yep, my faded memory of this one was correct...co-scripted by Oliver Stone, sadly the perfect partner for Cimino.

jurinummelin said...

Thanks, Todd! Yes, I should've mentioned Stone, who at this time was already pretty well established as a screenwriter. I've liked THE DEER HUNTER, but I've yet to see HEAVEN'S GATE many like Cimino's best film.