Things are changing in Chinatown as whilst the old members of the community want to hold on to their traditions a younger wave of Chinese Mafia has taken control of things with young Joey Tai (John Lone) in charge of the Triads. But that isn't the only things which has changed in Chinatown as Captain Stanley White (Mickey Rourke) is new to the area and he is determined to clean up the streets even if it means breaking the rules. But it is not just the streets he needs to clean up as his marriage is in a mess and he finds himself attracted to TV reporter Tracy Tzu (Ariane).
Percentages, I remember being taught percentages at school and even today I find myself using percentages when analyzing a movie. I found myself thinking in percentages when watching "Year of the Dragon " and the lowest percentage in this movie was the story which is actually only about 20% with an old story of a copy trying to clean up the gang activity and of course he is tough and a law breaker who is having an affair. Maybe the original prose was much more riveting but here Cimino has used just as a vehicle for everything else.
What else? Well the next 30% is the styling with this weird mix with a look that says the 1950s has been transferred to the early 80s and it is a look which doesn't work. But it is not just the mixed up look that we get as we also get action with Cimino really trying to get in to the thick of things and almost glorifying the violence which fills the movie. The trouble is the stuff in between the action is not overly engaging and so when the action arrives it is like being punched in the face out of the blue.
There is though another 50% and whilst a few percent of that accounts for the acting of the rest of the cast the majority of it is Mickey Rourke and it is Rourke who dominates the movie. He literally walks through the movie with a look on his face which is more I am sexy and I knot it that tough cop with domestic issues. It is completely wrong and when you combine that with his 1950s detective look it just adds to the mess which "Year of the Dragon" ends up.
What this all boils down to is that "Year of the Dragon" didn't do it for me and the whole thing seems confused from the look to the casting. Now I know there are many years between these movies but when you compare "Year of the Dragon" to "American Gangster" you can see how wear and confused Cimino's movie is.