The Last Tycoon Reviews
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?"
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.