The Mobfathers (2016)
As the New York Asian Film Festival celebrates its 15th Anniversary, I have unfortunately had little time to catch nearly as many films at this festival than I normally do. This was the third film I have caught of the 50+ they are playing over 18 or so days, and I plan to catch another 4 at least before the festival ends.
Originally I was going to skip this movie, as I am a bit burnt out on mob/triad movies, but I noticed that one of my favorite actors, Anthony Wong, was in this one. He has starred in fun movies like The Untold Story and The Ebola Syndrome, among others, and he has started to become a favorite of mine. So I figured at the very least I get to see another one of his movies.
The set up is a very typical mob story. Two rival organizations go up against each other and the leaders of both end up in jail together. One keeps trying to kill the other for the whole 5 years they are there. Chuck, the leader of one group, has become peaceful, and is thinking of quitting when he gets out, as his wife had just found out she was pregnant the night he got arrested, and he has never seen his child.
While they are preparing to be released, the Mobfathers convene to decide who will be the next in line for a coveted position in the organization. Upon release a gang of motorcyclists attack Chuck and his rival and Chuck sees that he should get out while he can. When he gets home though, he finds his wife is not thrilled with him, his kid doesn't know him, and he starts to feel the mob is the only choice he has. Once he gets his fortune told, he decides to run for the position.
What follows is pretty much standard fare when it comes to mob movies. Backstabbing, double crossing, scheming and lies form the basis for the rest of the movie. Although we, and probably even Chuck, can see where this is going, there is no deviation, just a straight shot until the end. If you like this sort of thing, then you might like this movie, though there are dozens better than this one, if you ask me.
The lead guy, Chuck, is played by Chapman To, who looks like an accountant during some of the scenes. I was reminded of Fred Williamson's accountant brother in Black Caesar during those scenes. It worked when he was a money man to Fred Williamson's tough guy, but in this movie he was supposed to be the tough guy, and looking like an accountant does not champion that idea. There was also a ton of CGI blood, and some gore in this movie. It was poorly done and very distracting, and kept taking me out of the movie. The acting was fine, and while Anthony Wong was great as usual, this is an older and more subdued Anthony Wong.
All in all this was a bit of a disappointment to me, as Hong Kong films about triads and organized crime have always been fun to watch, and this one felt a bit pointless.
6 out of 10 stars.