Caesar's Review of The Last Tycoon
The Last Tycoon(2012)
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.