The Last Godfather
Director: Shim Hyung-Rae
Starring: Shim Hyung-Rae and Harvey Keitel
Legendary South Korean comedian and filmmaker Shim Hyung-Rae directs himself in a Korean-American crossover comedy co-starring Reservoir Dogs star Harvey Keitel.
Set in 1950s New York, the don of a powerful mafia family (Keitel) decides to step down, passing the power to his son - a Korean man named Younggu (Shim). However, the heir apparent is not very bright, meaning the don and his underlings must train him to think and act like one of them before he can ascend to the top, something that proves harder than they first thought. While it has a cute premise, after the first 25 minutes the story descends into what feels like a slapstick marathon.
The comedy is executed well and director/star Shim captures the essence of early 20th-century American comedy fairly faithfully, but as a whole, the film feels like an anachronism. Shim chases his hat in the style of Chaplin, drops guns and has a mishap with a vacuum cleaner, all of which is perfectly innocent fun but not especially clever or amusing to a modern audience. The writing relies on mafia stereotypes and Shim's antics, both of which are out of date, and although not offensively bad, there is little to recommend this knockabout comedy.
Published: August 24, 2011 04:00 AM