The Last Tycoon (2012)
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Critic Reviews for The Last Tycoon
The Last Tycoon is one of the most explosive films to come to DVD and Blu-ray this year, but it's a bit disappointing that it features two of Hong Kong's most iconic action stars without letting them put that on display as often as you'd like.
Audience Reviews for The Last Tycoon
This is something like the Chinese version of James Cameron's Titanic. What I mean by that is that the film is divided into two parts. There's the romantic melodrama for the women, or those who may be inclined to enjoy such things, and the action for the men or, again, those who may be inclined to enjoy it. But to be perfectly honest, outside of some really corny and awfully sentimental moments, in a weird way, I think both of these elements come together fairly effectively. The film will remind crime film fans, in parts, of The Godfather Part 2, just the way the story is structured as you get to go back and forth between the present and the past, seeing how Cheng rose from to the top of his profession that he wouldn't have ever been a part off if not by one chance encounter with his cellmate. The more romantic aspects of the film, with the love triangle and what have you, reminds one of an old 40s romance starring Humphrey Bogart, for example. I don't that, at any point, this film ever really concerns itself with developing its own identity, it's content to borrow from other, classic films in order to weave its story. But, it doesn't feel so much as a ripoff, it honestly feels more like an affectionate tribute to these films. Of course the story of the Japanese occupation of Shanghai gives it own flavor but, stylistically and structurally, this borrows heavily from the classics. I will say that the production values themselves are top-notch. Some of the special effects themselves are pretty lame looking, like some of the explosions, but other, practical, explosions look absolutely impressive and would give Michael Bay a run for his money. The costume design is excellent and really does give off the feel of the era they were trying to convey. A lot of that is also cinematography, but the costume design certainly helps a lot. The action, for what it essentially a romantic drama at its emotional core, is actually surprisingly violent and bloody. While I didn't have much of a problem with this, it does feel kind of at odds with the rest of the film. With that said, I do think that the story of the Japanese occupation of Shanghai, plus Cheng's and Qui's plans to do something about it, with the entire romantic triangle plot around it all adds up to a pretty decent package. No one will ever mistake this film for one of the classics. But these very disparate elements come together in a fairly cohesive manner. One doesn't undercut the other and vice versa. I don't know what could've been done to make the romance a little less cheesy, sentimental, and melodramatic, but it works in the time period the story takes place in. Not much else I can say. It borrows heavily from other sources, but it's a pretty decent action/romance film. Acting's solid, action's bloody, melodrama is very melodramatic. What more can you ask for? Well, I mean, other than the film to be good. Acceptable watch if you've got Netflix, I wouldn't really spend money to watch this.
A spectacular film. An explosive mixture of action, politics, drama, suspense and romance. It echos of Casablanca. A masterpiece from Director, Wong Jing. One of the best movies he has ever made. A dazzling and action-packed thrill-ride that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Its gorgeously filmed and has an outstanding classic feel to it. A beautifully tasteful and tragic piece of work that has all bullets blazing. A heart-pounding and heart-breaking conclusion that you have to see. Chow Yun-Fat gives a tremendously riveting and tasteful performance. The king of action keeps his cool intact along with his deep emotional side. This movie shines like a classic.
Well the trailer for "The Last Tycoon" caught my attention. It was being produced by Andy Lau and pairing up legends Chow-Yun Fat and Sammo Hung both actors that I like seeing. To bad the film doesn't bother to do anything great with the talent given to them. Set in Shanghais Gangster era of the early 1900s, THE LAST TYCOON tells the tale of CHENG (Chow Yun-Fat), a young man who is set up by the chief of police (Sammo Hung) and must leave the life he knows and QIU (Monica Mok), the woman he loves, to start again. After escaping prison CHENG quickly and violently moves his way up the ladder of Shanghais criminal underworld to become on the most powerful mob bosses in Shanghais history. But fame and notoriety take their toll when CHENG finds himself stuck between the looming Japanese army and the scheming local secret service. Matters are only made worse when he bumps into the love of his life QIU, along with her writer husband. Will love re-kindle in the dusk of an era? The film plot is cliche, a bit to melodramatic, and the romance is not focus enough to care about. The film tries to say something significant about a historical event, but fails at it. Not enough to context is given to know exactly what that is. The film feels like it's directed by Michael Bay. More emphases on explosion over telling a storytelling. The staging for the shootouts can be lazy. There's a shootout in a church where two of our heroes kill around 40 baddies without taking cover once. I will disbelief logic in a action movie, but that's pushing it too much when our heroes walk in the line of fire without anything touching them. No action scenes can't be enjoy. To many times the camera is too close to tell what's going on, frequent jump cut that make you feel your life is flashing before you eyes, and heavy on the slow motions for padding. The music is okay, but makes things feel cheesy and corny during the romance scenes. The only good is the acting and production design. It's unfortunate that Chow Yun-Fat and Sammo Hung are not in enough scenes together and when they are they are very short scenes. The Last Tycoon feels like a miss opportunity given it's huge budget, talented cast, and interesting enough premise. Everything falls apart thank to the director taking ques from Michael Bay focusing a huge chuck of that budget in meaningless explosions and big spectacles sacrificing any substance that would justify it.
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