The Last Tycoon

(Hong Kong/China, 2012)
North American Premiere
107 minutes, DCP, in Cantonese with English subtitles
Directed by: Wong Jing
Starring: Chow Yun-fat, Huang Xiaoming, Sammo Hung, Francis Ng, Yuan Quan, Yasuaki Kurata
Cinematographer and producer Andrew Lau will attend the screening.

Finally! Chow Yun-fat is back where he belongs: in an awesome suit, a gun in each hand, and busting caps. CYF is the star of this MGT (Major Gangster Tragedy) directed by Wong Jing and shot by (and some say ghost-directed by) Andrew Lau of Infernal Affairs fame, which also stars Sammo Hung, Mainland stud Huang Xiaoming (An Inaccurate Memoir), Hong Kong’s great character actor Francis Ng (The Mission), and old-school karate star, Yasuaki Kurata (A Life of Ninja). This is a posh, big budget blockbuster set in 1920’s Shanghai, based on a true story, and overflowing with street ambushes, epic gang rumbles, and shoot-outs during bombing raids.

The film is actually a biopic of Du Yuesheng (played by Chow Yun-fat as an adult and Huang Xiaoming as a kid), a real-life godfather who has officially been banned from history books by the Chinese government. Du shot like a meteor through Shanghai’s underworld as one of its legendary Three Shanghai Tycoons. He was a major financial backer of the Kuomintang in their fight against Mao and his Communist rebels, but when the KMT lost the war and the Communist Party took over China, Du fled to Hong Kong where he died in exile. THE LAST TYCOON kicks off in 1913 with Du (in Huang Xiaoming mode) thrown in the slammer for a crime he didn’t commit. He’s rescued by the deeply corrupt, deeply cool cop, Maozi (Francis Ng), the second of the future tycoons. Soon afterwards, he meets Sammo Hung playing the third tycoon, Huang Jinrong, Shanghai’s top cop who kept his pockets lined with kickbacks and who kept organized crime efficiently organized.

The movie jumps back and forth between Huang Xiaoming playing Du at the start of his career, and Chow Yun-fat playing Du at the end of his career. Both men are obsessed with the woman they loved and lost (Joyce Feng), and both of them are trying to stay alive. As the story of young Du (Huang Xiaoming) races forward to collide with the legend of old Du (Chow Yun-fat) past and present are dropped in a particle accelerator and covered in gunpowder, rushing towards an inevitable final conflagration. But it’s more emotional than ballistic, with Chow Yun-fat mourning the life he could have had if he hadn’t become a gangster, while Huang Xiaoming rejects the life he should have had for the glamor and danger of being a crime boss.

Part of Hong Kong Cinema Now & Beyond

Thursday July 4, 5:30PM Walter Reade Theater Buy Tickets