I’m just going to say it: this trailer for The Last Godfather looks awful. Starring Harvey Keitel doing his best Robert De Niro impersonation and Jason Mewes, the movie also stars Korean comedian Shim Hyung-Rae as the illegitimate Korean heir to a mafia throne, acting as a cross between Charlie Chaplin and Mister Bean. Needless to say, if movies were to be judged on the trailer alone, the film looks to be on the same lost-in-translation caliber as Troll 2, or maybe a cheap mafia comedy version of Rebecca Black’s Friday.
But a quick glance at the IMDB page reveals some interesting things: Shim Hyung-Rae is cast as the comedic lead, sure, but he’s also the writer and director of the movie; the film boasts a Korean cast of directors and producers. The website for the movie has a Korean subtitle. In other words, this is a Korean movie made for Korean audiences, but with a distinctly American subject, American actors and spoken in English. The mere fact that it opened up in American theaters almost seems like an afterthought rather than an attempt for Shim to make a name for himself in Hollywood. (Think BoA, but without the hip hop moves.)
Which begs the question: what magical powers convinced Harvey Keitel — he of Reservoir Dogs and Bad Lieutenant — to be in an awkwardly written South Korean movie that has fart jokes? Maybe they’re convinced that they could get international fandom and some opportunities to do some media tours overseas; hopefully, they know how to say “2.4 out of 10 stars on IMDB” in Korean.
UPDATE: 8Asians reader Kareem brings some pretty interesting insights on our Facebook page:
I’m sure Keitel was less interested in international fandom then he was in a large paycheck for little work. The film is actually a Korean-US coproduction and produced by CJ Entertainment, the largest movie company in Korea which has actually churned out some pretty good stuff… along with really low-grade commercial flicks like this one. I’m actually most surprised that Roadside Attractions, which has a pretty good track records of distributing good movies picked this up for the states. Seems like the plan is to distribute it to cities with large Asian populations — in which case if marketed well enough, it could actually do okay.