Using unprecedented degrees of violence, young Joey Tai becomes the head of Chinese mafia in New York and undisputed leader of the Chinese community. Stanley White, the most decorated cop in New York, who hates Asian people since his service in Vietnam, is put in charge of Chinatown.
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The Deer Hunter and Heaven's Gate both have their moments, but I have to say that this is probably my favorite Cimino, and IMO, his most underrated. It has another outstanding Mickey Rourke neo-noir performance and some great action sequences. And I love those blue-tinted shots of New York from Tracy's apartment.
Michael Cimino, Oliver Stone and Mickey Rourke lunge for viewer's throats with this ferocious, kinetic, uncompromising, fast and brutal thriller! Rourke is in peak form playing the volatile Stan White, swaggering about, throwing his hat around for emphasis as he battles the whole world. "Dragon" takes off like a rocket during it's violent set pieces. It's blunt crime cinema of superior force and propulsive intensity.
The bold decisions feel applied with a paintbrush. Thus adorned, Stanley clashes against crime in reverse, wherein he and everyone he interacts with are thrust into tragedy, this a consequence of behavior and universal truths rather than whims of frivolity. Smartly directed, beautifully masked.
O Michael, what were you thinking.. Cimino was never the same after the Heaven's Gate debacle and he lost all discipline on this rambling follow-up feature. However, there are scenes of almost operatic Leone/Peckinpah-like splendour among the difficult-to-swallow dialogue scenes of the Stone-assisted screenplay and Rourke is mesmerizing as easily the most unlikeable anti-hero in '80's cinema. A curious curate's egg..