Mickey Rourke, as per usual, grabs the attention of all who view this film. There is no supporting cast or honorable mentions, there is only . Your gaze will be transfixed on a 30 year old Rourke playing a 50-something year old Vietnam vet. Analyze this, Harley Davidson & the Marlboro Man without Mickey Rourke would be as caring for a child that isn't your biological spawn. Sure, the instinct for parental nurturing would still exist as would the film Harley Davidson but the passion and excitement from the adventures of a former A-list actor would be void. Face it, it would harness the credibility of a recent Dolph Lundgren Straight-to-DVD title (Sorry, Dolph.) For a film of its nature, you'd think that press, no, even cult film lovers could approach this film open-armed but it appears that Year of the Dragon has been shunned into obscurity because of "an offending portrait of Chinese-Americans." Never mind the blurb at the opening of the film disregarding all "stereotypes" portrayed in this film. Since then, Year of the Dragon has never sat well with the chinks and please, disregard their portrayal of the "white demon." For once I wish I could write something as loud and angry as Cimino's Year of the Dragon. Rather, Rourke's Year of the Dragon.
Audience discrepancies will linger after the foul approach of showing the Chinese-Americans as being the soulless parasites they are. Moving over to our country and adopting their thousand year old traditions in a place of law and justice. This doesn't sit will with Captain Stanley White as he endangers his own life and the life of all who care for him as Year of the Dragon explodes into a rip wave of unexplainable bloodshed and shocking climaxes at every turn. Captain Stanley White is the most bizarre of protagonists. Layered plentifully, the more we learn about his character, the more solace we garner and the more trust we put in his judgment. Then when the proverbial shit hits the fan, we find ourselves reaching out to silence his continuing mistakes and realize that he isn't the great guy we thought he was, over and over again. And that is just one of the reasons that I feel Year of the Dragon is a marvelous film for what it is - an effervescently chaotic scripture of backwards racism and the perfect amount of needed misogyny.
I occasionally dine at Chinese/Japanese buffets and sit baffled wondering where in context could the harmonic, yet infuriating, mandarin music could be properly squeezed into its soothing and proper effect. Year of the Dragon sporadically incorporates these similar sounds while perusing through the extensive Chinese crime families while heavy percussion accompany most of the Polack-American scenes of brutal detective work. A gripe comes to mind when assessing the Chinese half of the film, it's not so much as a gripe with Year of the Dragon but my own inability to maintain memories on which Lee-Hung family belongs to which Triad while Johnny Cho is out with Walter Wang. Since Tremors debuted some time ago and devastated the rental market, I've found myself lampooning the similarly named Chinamen. As I stated, my problem but my personal fulfillment as well. Ariane's perfomance didn't help my intolerable Oriental condition either, with her performance as wooden as my love for Legally Blonde spinoffs.
(Pictured left to right, Lone, Woo, Chin, Wong, Wang....or something)
In conclusion, Year of the Dragon is a rousing and voracious view into stereotyped crime syndicates. So much may be true while the rest lingers upon notations hidden in books long forgotten but that's the problem with adaptations and their "contemporary redesignings," so you'll see little complaint from me. To call Year of the Dragon "racist" is to say Tom Hanks has too much screen time in Cast Away. These media vultures love digging for subversion and uprooting it into some big fiasco. Attention whores, all of them! Year of the Dragon isn't an intelligent film per say, but an emotional one for sure. Many times throughout this gem I found myself appraising Captain Stanley White for being such a cool cat while the other times I felt as if a similar tragedy were shared psychically. That right there is one of the many definitions of movie magic.