The Last Don II (1998, TV mini-series)


‘Power. Passion. Betrayal. It’s all in the family’

Directed by:
Graeme Clifford

Written by:
Mario Puzo (characters from the novel The Last Don)
Joyce Eliason (Teleplay)

Cast:
Jason Gedrick (Crucifixio ‘Cross’ De Lena), Patsy Kensit (Josie Cirolia), Kirstie Alley (Rose Marie Clericuzio), David Marciano (Giorgio Clericuzio), James Wilder (Billy D’Angelo), Conrad Dunn (Lia Vazzi), Jason Isaacs (Father Luca Tonarini), Michelle Burke (Claudia De Lena), Danny Aiello (Don Domenico Clericuzio), Joe Mantegna (Pippi De Lena)

When Don Domenico Clericuzio dies, his family has to face its many enemies. Son Petie gets killed soon after and an underworld war begins. Giorgio brings back Cross from Paris to lead the family. Cross only agrees to come back after his wife Athena Aquitane is blown up by a bomb meant for him.

You have to wonder how necessary a sequel to The Last Don really was. It is not like that film set the world on fire although it was a decent effort. There was no source material left from the Puzo novel, so the writers had to come up with an original story. They fail in this, as the story hardly contains anything new in the genre. They even copy The Godfather plotlines in a too obvious and non-convincing way.

Less prominent characters from the first film now have to carry this sequel. Aiello, who’s only in the first five minutes is sorely missed as the Don. Jason Gedrick simply does not have the acting skills to carry this film as leading man. The best character is probably Lia Vazzi, Cross’ murderous, Sicilian henchman who is out for revenge after his family gets killed.

Kirstie Alley has her moments as the tragic Rose Marie. Especially in the second half she is quite touching at times. Patsy Kensit does her best, but is not the spectacular addition to the cast that this film needed. Daryl Hannah obviously didn’t feel the urge to return, so her character Athena in her short screen time is played by unknown actress Mo Kelso. Joe Mantegna does come back and appears in some mediocre dream sequences as Cross’ father.

What really gives this film it’s deathblow is the ridiculous Hollywood side plot in which Cross’ sister Claudia runs a studio that produces the supposed hit movie The Fumigator, starring the terrible Schwarzenegger clone Dirk Von Schelburg who is named in the film as ‘the most famous actor in the world’. Really embarrassing. Action fans might find some value in this film, except that the acts of murder, betrayal and violence are stretched out over the too long three hour running time. Better use that time to watch The Godfather for the thirtieth time.

Rating:

Quote:
LIA VAZZI: “We can’t afford to be soft. This is not the time to be soft.”

Trivia:
Mario Puzo died on 2 July 1999 from heart failure. About a year after this film premiered.

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