Before I review the DVD copy of The Last Godfather, I should mention that the previews that preceded it had me scratching my head. They played Bad Santa and Scary Movie, and I’m going, “What the heck?” Then they played Everything Must Go and I say, “Oh, Okay.” It was just disconcerting to see films from such divergent time periods slapped together like that.
The film stars Harvey Keitel, Michael Rispoli and Jon Polito, who are respectable actors we would expect to see in a Mafia movie. It also stars Jason (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) Mewes, John (You go NOW! )Pinettte, and our writer/director/star Hyung Rae Shim. Here it is again, divergent disparities.
So you come into this film knowing it is a goof just by seeing the cast list. The question then becomes, “Is it a good goof or a bad goof?” It’s not important that we know that Hyung Rae Shim is a big fat Korean superstar (he does like to show off his belly) because since this is an English language film set in New York City it is meant to broaden whatever international appeal he may have. They are probably hoping for the next Jackie Chan.
I’ll tell you up front that Hyung is a comedian, but the kind of comedian that would probably make Jerry Lewis blush with embarrassment. I’m not necessarily saying this is a bad thing, but I’m just saying that he would make Ace Ventura Pet Detective look like The Merchant of Venice. This is a Mafia story, and they are relatively faithful to the tradition but in a broad comedic fashion.
Still, I’d hate to see what would happen if the heads of the families saw this.
I think I have sufficiently warned you that this is one extremely silly movie.
Strangely enough, Keitel doesn’t phone in his performance and gives a professional approach to his Marlon Brando impression. Jason Mewes, on the other hand, has never been a good actor, but he’s made a nice living doing Kevin Smith movies, who probably ripped him a new one on his blog. As silly and stupid as this movie is, it’s probably on a par with most Jackie Chan movies. It’s innocent, goofy fun, but I don’t think Hyung will ever be anywhere near a star of Jackie Chan’s stature. First, he is too old. Second, he doesn’t do amazing stunts. He does a decent pratfall now and then. On the plus side, I’ve never seen anything quite like it, with its awkward culture clash. Rush Hour seemed far more believable, but The Last Godfather has a charm of its own because it’s far less modern in its approach.
The colors, lighting and sound are all competent, bright and crisp. Everything looks professional except maybe the acting. All in all, the film is harmless except maybe to the reputation of the mafia.