Posted on Tuesday, March 8th, 2011 by Angie Han
Roadside Attractions has released a new trailer for The Last Godfather, directed by and starring South Korean comedian Shim Hyung Rae. The film features Harvey Keitel as a mob boss who decides to retire and pass on the torch to his illegitimate son Younggu (Shim), a bumbling idiot he fathered while hiding out in Korea. Keitel’s character asks his men to prepare Younggu for the new role, and slapsticky hijinks ensue. Blake Clark, Jason Mewes and Jocelin Donahue also star. Watch the trailer after the jump.
A little background: Younggu is a lovable simpleton character that Shim became famous for in South Korea during the ’80s, when he was in his 20s. Shim describes Younggu as “the Korean version of Mr. Bean,” and would like to see Younggu become an international icon like his British counterpart. The Last Godfather is his attempt at making that happen. The film opened in Korea late last year and was a success, despite negative reviews from the Korean press.
Of course, all of this history will be lost on the vast majority of American audiences, who will only be able to judge what they see onscreen without nostalgia or affection to cloud their judgment. And based on this trailer, I’d say… yeesh. I think I can understand what Shim is going for, and on paper a slapsticky sendup of gangster films sounds like a fun idea. In practice, however, this character appears to cross the line from amusingly dumb to cringingly stupid, and the jokes we see are cheap and stale — a fart joke, really? It’s possible that this is just a badly cut trailer and that the actual movie will be better than this looks, but I’m not optimistic. And no, I don’t know what Harvey Keitel is doing here either.
Shim’s previous film was 2007′s D-War (also known as Dragon Wars), a fantasy action film that also did very well in Korea and reasonably well in the U.S. despite being panned by critics on both sides of the Pacific. The Last Godfather will open in the U.S. on April 1 in select cities, including Los Angeles and Vancouver.
Discuss: Am I just being humorless and snobbish? Did any of you think this looked enjoyable?