DVD Review - The Last Godfather

Writer-director Hyung Rae Shim also stars in this comedy about a Korean who has to learn how to be a gangster in an Italian mafia family because his father is soon going to turn over his organization to the Korean.

Harvey Keitel co-stars as Don Carini, a mobster who reveals that he has a secret son who's Korean and that son will be the Don's successor. The Don is retiring and he wants his Korean son to be the head of the organization.

We think we're perhaps going to get either Kim Jong-Il or something out of a Park Chan-Wook film. Instead, we get Younggu, played by Hyung Rae-Shim, who is not the most handsome or smartest Korean ever. He looks older than the Don, though shorter. He has no table manners. He's like a human garbage disposal. He snores loudly and he's reportedly a total moron.

Members of the Don's organization begin to train Younggu in the ways of the mafia. It turns out to be like training Forest Gump or Mr. Magoo. While training, Younggu ends up saving Nancy from a mugger. He immediately falls in love with Nancy, but, like out of West Side Story, Nancy is the daughter of the Don's rival mafia family.

Younggu is a bumbling fool. Almost every encounter he has with anyone that involves physical conflict or contact results in slapstick. Most comedies made in the past decade or two involve some slapstick. People will get physically hurt, hit or fall down, but the slapstick humor here is like The Three Stooges or Laurel and Hardy. It's classic slapstick, which Rae-Shim really embraces.

The entire movie is more or less a parody of films like Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather or Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas, but it's in the style of The Naked Gun. Hyung Rae-Shim could be considered a Korean Leslie Nielsen. Except, his verbal skills in English aren't there. Jokes are made over his inability to speak English. These jokes, however, cease to be funny very quickly.

This movie has a slew of supporting characters who offer up great laughs. Jason Mewes and Debra Mooney in particular offer up some. There's even a duo that provides an Abbott and Costello-like routine that's amusing. What wasn't amusing though were the sets used. The various street scenes looked very fake, very much like a movie set, which may have been the point. Yet, the movie runs out of steam after about a half-hour and the same jokes are repeated to diminishing returns.

Two Stars out of Five.
Rated PG-13 for brief sexual humor.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 40 mins.


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