Year of the Dragon DVD

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Garry Cowell, Feb 14, 2003.

  1. Garry Cowell

    Garry Cowell Stunt Coordinator

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    After years of looking for this film on any format. I stumbled on R3 HK release whilst doing my monthly shop of HK DVDs.

    Anyway. Couple of weeks later and I've got it!

    This isn't a review of the film I ain't seen it yet. :b

    But I'm sure even those people who haven't heard of it would be interest in a Oliver Stone scripted, Michael Cimino directed film, starring Mickey Rourke in his prime.

    Well here goes...

    Only sampled the first 30minutes or so but it looks great...

    NTSC, Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1), Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)

    Multiply selectable subtitles even to the extend there's two English ones, one that just subs the chinese characters speaking, and one that subs the whole movie. Basically the only thing that makes this different to a release you'd expect in R1 land is the fact it encoded R3.

    Only extra is the original trailer which is anamorphic too.

    Here's a scan of the whole cover.

    One difference of note from the old VHS copy, is the removal of a disclaimer that used to state 'This film is not intended to give Asian Americans a bad name, etc. etc.'. Ironic as the only decent DVD copy in existense is the Chinese/HK one. [​IMG]
     
  2. David Coleman

    David Coleman Supporting Actor

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    I would so love to have this film on DVD. It's always been my favorite gangster movie next to THE GODFATHER films.
     
  3. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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  4. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    Want a region 1 DVD version [​IMG]
     
  5. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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  6. Piers C

    Piers C Stunt Coordinator

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    Garry, when do we get a review?

    thanks!
     
  7. Garry Cowell

    Garry Cowell Stunt Coordinator

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    I bought it from Hivizone for $19

    I also believe it's out on Brazilian DVD (r4?) see here.
     
  8. Garry Cowell

    Garry Cowell Stunt Coordinator

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    [​IMG]

    Well I've finally watched it. (Twice)

    ...and now I've had time to digest my thoughts, I gotta say this is one cool movie despite itself.

    The plot by now is cliché. Misfit outsider cop wages war on ruthless villain (who in this movie is a member of the New York Triads). What makes this movie above average are a number of things...

    For one, Mickey Rourke's braggadocio performance as racist cop Stanley White (aided by Oliver Stone's venomous dialogue) works really well - especially in these far too politically correct times. His opening monologue, as the new Police Chief of Chinatown, to the Triad leaders is jaw-dropping.

    John Lone is cool as ice playing Joey Tai the wannabe triad boss, whacking out everyone in his path, whilst still finding time to put his people through college. He's comes across like an immaculately dressed Chinese Michael Corleone. In fact they could have easily made the whole film just about him.

    Add to that some great direction from Michael Cimino, one gets the feeling that a lot of money got spent on this. They simply don't make crime movies as epic as this anymore. Indeed worth the price alone, especially now it's finally available in a great looking transfer, is the luminous (2.35:1) 'scope photography. Shot with true anamorphic lenses, non of this (all too common these days) Super35 pseudo-shit, this is one beautiful movie. Whether it’s the interior shots or on location every thing looks larger than life. The steadicam shots following people around bustling streets and back alleys are particularly memorable.

    Now for the bad news....

    Anyone who's ever read a review of this movie would no doubt have heard about the poor performance by Araine. She plays a Chinese American reporter who Rourke's racist cop falls for despite himself. Well I went in expecting the worst and guess what!? I wasn't disappointed! To be fair her dry monotonous delivery works fine when she's a TV reporter talking to camera, but the same voice when talking to EVERYONE?!, Ughhh! It doesn't help that her role was always going to be a particular difficult one to pull off. Alas she just stinks up the movie every time she's on the screen. Cimino might as well have cast Jar Jar Binks in the role! [​IMG]

    Anyway.

    As I said this is a cool movie despite its flaws, the music is surprisingly non 80's (thus doesn't date it), there's some inspired casting for smaller roles (a Mafia boss sans a voice box is one particular standout), plus some hard hitting violence that one expects from movies of this period, ok so it's a tad melodramatic at times, but still…

    So in conclusion while no masterpiece this is still a criminally under seen film that’s really worth picking up. I think Cimino was aiming for a Chinese take on The Godfather and ended up falling in-between Dirty Harry and Out for Justice [​IMG] :p)

    The DVD looks and sounds great. [​IMG]

    Here’s some screen grabs…

    Vietnam Vet.
    Boss Trouble
    You don't change Chinatown, Chinatown change you!
    Chinese Godfather
    How wuude!
    At the Shooting Range
    New York. New York
    Chow Yun What?
    Mean Streets
    Make that rice to go.
    Thailand
    Stairway to heaven?

    …and choice dialogue. (WARNING!!! Colourful language)
     
  9. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    Man, u stink [​IMG]

    This one of my most wanted titles.

    Thanks for the screenshots.
     
  10. Piers C

    Piers C Stunt Coordinator

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    Garry,
    Thanks for taking the time to provide such a detailed review! The pro's & con's are appreciated.

    Its been many years since I saw this but my recollection was that it was somewhat of a disappointment at the box office & critically (due in part to some of the issues you highlight above). Agree that its uneven. I probably won't recommend a blind purchase here, but its good stuff if only for downtown NYC location work. Your screenshots sure capture some of this!

    Very happy to read that the picture & sound were well presented on this disc.

    Thanks again for the review!
     
  11. David Coleman

    David Coleman Supporting Actor

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    I need this flick to be a region one releases badly! I haven't seen this one in so long!
     
  12. Garry Cowell

    Garry Cowell Stunt Coordinator

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    Shameless bump!

    Well my obsession for this movie's spawned a website dedication.

    Fans of Year of the Dragon check out...

    www.cityonfire.com
     
  13. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    Maybe we should start a petition. Does MGM own the US rights?
     
  14. Garry Cowell

    Garry Cowell Stunt Coordinator

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  15. David Glenn

    David Glenn Second Unit

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    "YOTD" and "To Live And Die In LA" are two of my most anticipated releases.
     
  16. Piers C

    Piers C Stunt Coordinator

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  17. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    Good work on the site Garry. [​IMG]
     
  18. John Kilduff

    John Kilduff Screenwriter

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    No, MGM doesn't own the U.S rights anymore...

    This title ended up being owned by Turner Entertainment, so therefore, it's now in the possession of Warner Home Entertainment.

    You can search the website of Turner Classic Movies to confirm it.

    Ask Warner about a possible release of this...At least you're given a near-total guarantee of a widescreen transfer with them.

    Sincerely,

    John Kilduff...

    I hope I got this right.
     
  19. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    yep great site indeed

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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