The Last Godfather Review

The Last Godfather is a vanity piece for Korean comedian Hyung-rae Shim who writes, directs and stars. Hyung-rae is not well known in the West, and if he keeps making films like this, he’ll remain unknown, which would be the best thing he could to for the West. This film is an attempt by Shim to introduce American audiences to his Young-Gu character. Shim made a series of Young-Gu comedies in Korea during the 1990s, which were apparently very popular over there. Never having seen any of them, I can only guess that they were better than The Last Godfather.

The film takes place in 1950s New York, when aging mafia Godfather Don Carini (Keitel) shocks his clan by announcing that he wants to retire and turn the family business over to his secret son Young-Gu, who he sired while in hiding from a rival mob in Asia decades earlier.  The rest of the family, especially the Don’s expected successor Tony V (Michael Rispoli) are stunned when they meet the dim-witted Young-Gu.

Young-Gu is not jump dumb, he is a complete imbecile (Some descriptions of the film call him mentally impaired, which makes this a tasteless mocking of the developmentally handicapped) and, as you might expect, is totally unsuited for the position of a mafia chief. He attempts to enforce the family’s will by intimidating the local businesses but only ends up helping to invent the mini-skirt and the Big Mac. 

Young-Gu is not only child-like, he is also getting along in years, so his Romeo and Juliet relationship with youthful Nancy Bonfonte (Played by Levi’s model Jocelin Donahue) the daughter of rival gangster Don Bonfonte (Jon Polito) seems rather creepy.

Shim plays Young-Gu with a stereotypical broken-English accent that would make Mr. Miyagi cringe, so the film embarrasses Koreans as well as the mentally handicapped. The movie is meant to lampoon the gangster film genre but Shim doesn’t seem to understand the genre he is parodying, so most of the gags fall flat. His style of humor seems to be lost in translation.

DVD Bonus Features

There are no DVD extras included

"The Last Godfather" is on sale August 9, 2011 and is rated PG13. Comedy. Directed by Hyung Rae Shim. Written by Hyung-rae Shim. Starring Harvey Keitel, Hyung Rae Shim, Jason Mewes, Jon Polito, Michael Rispoli.

Rob Young

Robert is obsessed with movies. He has a background in advertising and a long history of freelance writing but there's nothing he loves to write about more than movies. Let him dissect a film and he's a happy man. His favorite movie stars of all time are the Marx Brothers. He hates Cheech and Chong.


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