25 July 2013 | alisonc-1
Over the Top? Sure, but Entertaining!
Cheng Daqi (played as a young man by Huang Xiaoming and as an older man by the legendary Chow Yun-Fat) is a village boy in 1913 China who loves Ye Zhiqiu (Feng Wenjuan), an aspiring opera performer. A blunder on Daqi's part lands him on death row, where he is taken under the wing of Mao Zai (Francis Ng), who subsequently brings him to Shanghai, where Daqi signs up with Hong Shouting (Sammo Hung), the town's leading gangster. Fast forward 24 years and it's 1937, and Daqi is himself a renowned gangster, blood brother of Hong; he is married to the lovely Bao (Monika Mok), but when Zhiqiu comes to town with her husband, the old sparks begin to fly again. But this is 1937, and the Japanese Imperial Army has designs on Shanghai, and all of China.... Well. The above synopsis only covers a part of the very complicated story of "The Last Tycoon," and I wasn't always certain about who was who and what was going on; that said, it's a wild and action-packed ride – knife fights (with umbrellas), gun fights, fighter jets dropping bombs, things blowing up real good, all pushed up to 11. Getting to see Chow Yun-Fat get back to his filmic roots, all guns blazing and tenderness toward the women in his life, is a real treat, and of course, the anti-heroic, good bad guy is a wonderful role for him. I'm not sure that I understood everything that went on, but I enjoyed it to bits!