The Last Tycoon - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Last Tycoon Reviews

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½ April 3, 2015
I have never been afraid of anything in my life.

Cheng Da Qi is tied to his master Hong Shou Ting as they came up through the Shanghai slums to build and empire that rules the gangs of Shanghai. Their rise has made them invincible but they hurt a lot of people upon their rise to power, especially females. They are now about to settle down when the city is about to be invaded by Japan. The police force, who are controlled by Cheng and his master, come to them and ask for their aid in defending the invasion. They decide to not help the police force but the invasion impacts them worse than they anticipated. The family becomes fractured and Cheng will need to fix it.

"What's your name?"
"I'll tell you if we both make it out alive."

Jing Wong, director of The New Legend of Shaolin, God of Gamblers, City Hunter, Crying Heart, Set Up, Infernal Unfairs, and Last Hero in China, delivers The Last Tycoon. The storyline for this picture is very well done. I really enjoyed the action scenes and the cast delivers wonderful performances. The cast includes Chow Yun-Fat, Sammo Hung, Li Yuan, Monica Mok, and Kunjue Li.

"I am laughing because someone in Shanghai still has the guts to threaten me."

I found this on Netflix and added it to my queue and thankfully finally got around to seeing it. This isn't your classic Chow Yung Fat and Sammo Hung martial arts action picture. This is a gangster film more like SPL or Andy Lau films. I really enjoyed the intensity of the action scenes as well as how the drama ultimately unfolds. The fact that it's a true story is also compelling. I consider this a must see and a nice addition to your DVD collection.

"Can I be your girl?"

Grade: A
Super Reviewer
½ March 28, 2015
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.
½ March 15, 2015
Interesting story with several story lines and an interesting setting, but somehow the suspense is missing. Although the movie doesn't properly show the rise to 'fame' in the beginning, it makes up for this with an interesting and near the end unexpected love story.
Super Reviewer
½ May 26, 2014
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.
May 9, 2014
Quite interesting and full of action. Thought with this kind of cast it will be very boring but it turns out to be a very good and interesting story.
April 17, 2014
Better than I thought, Chow Yun-Fat proves he is a remarkable actor
½ April 4, 2014
Isn't there a rule stating Gangster Don't Cry... if not there should be!
½ January 6, 2014
This certainly seems like it should be an exciting film ... produced by Andy Lau and starring Chow Yun-Fat and Sammo Hung. Unfortunately, it's really not. It's a fairly routine war melodrama. Not bad by any stretch, but not memorable either.
September 21, 2013
There were Chow Yun fat, Sammo Hung and Francis Ng. But Wong Jing somehow screwed it up.
July 19, 2013
Missed Opportunity for a stellar cast of Sammo Hung, Chow Yun Fatt and Huang Xiaoming. Too much melodrama, not enough sentiment. Too much action, not enough impact.
½ July 12, 2013
Pretty good period gangster flick, as long as you can ignore propaganda undertones.
½ July 12, 2013
(2013/07/12/web) not bad...(especially the director is Wong Jing...)
½ June 27, 2013
As always Chow Yun Fat as the last gangland mafia is a common story. But overall it's a good story about brotherhood, loyalty till death.
½ June 16, 2013
You can call this the "Godfather" of the East. Chow Yun Fatt still packs the swagger of Kingpin caught in a battle of patriotism and love. The details become sketchy toward the end as though Wong Jing just pressed the fast forward button albeit stylistically shot. There we have it. The romantic triangle is stereotypical of Chinese films and was expected eventhough many would have thought it was clichéd.The formula is there, the swagger is there, the stylistics is there.
May 25, 2013
An epic story on loyalty at the crazy era of Shang Hai. Love to watch it again.
May 12, 2013
You must take into account that it's Chinese, so has to be a bit cheesy. Fortunately the amount of propaganda is negligible. Visually rather pretty. Might be interesting for someone interested in Asian movies in general.
March 24, 2013
yun fat's latest! jing pulls out all the tricks to tug at our heart strings in this rousing grandsweeping shanghai epic! the a-list cast own it with some 'the killer' moments too :D MUST SEE, MUST OWN, 5 stars, a+++ movie!!
Super Reviewer
½ March 11, 2013
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.
½ January 28, 2013
Watchable and somewhat entertaining, if ultimately rather pointless. The flag-waving isn't as painful as many HK/China productions have been, but it's still pretty obvious. Ugh.
January 8, 2013
Well worth the trip to the cinema for this movie. Chow Yun-Fat again didn't disappoint. Bravo!
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