The Godfather Part II (R) - 1974 - Runtime: 200 minutes
Starring: Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
I was hoping for a really, really good movie after I watched the first Godfather, a movie I did enjoy, but thought it was waaay overhyped. I've heard the the second part is even better, so I was really hoping to be won over and really enjoy this one. But alas, I was sorely disappointed by the meandering, hard to follow plot and the extreme melodrama involved with the Corleone family.
The plot pretty much takes off where the first movie ended and Michael Corleone is in charge of the family affairs in Nevada of all places. He finds himself caught up in an assassination plot that was put together by another rival boss, a Jewish man named Hyman Roth. The movie deals with their struggle for power and also flashes back to Michael's dad's (played this time by Robert De Niro) early years of his rise to prominence and power in New York. I found myself enjoying the flashbacks a lot more than Michael's problems. It was just really interesting to see how things came about for Vito and his struggle from being a wanted man in Sicily to a renewed man in America as an Italian immigrant. It's a great story to tell and I'm glad they told it in this movie, otherwise I would have been extremely upset at the waste of time I spent with Michael Corleone.
There are several problems I have with the main plot of this movie. First of all, the location is Nevada. Not even Las Vegas, Nevada but a ranch out in Lake Tahoe. This setting is not nearly as captivating or relatable as the thriving metropolis of New York. It's just dull and I found myself wondering where all the people were and how can you build an empire when you're surrounded by desert? It seemed lacking.
My second problem with the movie? The "villain" is an old, old Jewish man who seems to have an endless supply of goons. What I don't get is that why doesn't Michael just wait for the old man to wither and die - he's clearly on his last breath. Yes, he tried to kill Michael, but that's only because he's got traitors in his midst. If he just takes care of his own business and holes up for maybe one year, then he can really take over New York again if he wanted. The whole conflict pales in comparison to the five families that are struggling for power in the first movie.
And third, I found the family problems to take second hand to the mafia problems. Which is too bad, because I think there was some great stuff to portray about his wife and family who are caught up in all this. Sure, there's some scenes that deal with his wife leaving him and taking the kids, but it came out of nowhere and there's wasn't enough to really make me feel too bad about things. There's just too much going on and of course this plotline gets second fiddle.
All in all, it wasn't a bad movie - once again the acting is fantastic - but I wouldn't sit down to watch this movie again, whereas I would with the Godfather. In fact, this movie made me appreciate the first one even more - mainly because of how dull the conflict is, but also because of the flashbacks to Vito's early life. I thought that fleshed out a lot of great character development. It's a good backstory and I really do appreciate the first movie! But I don't think I would ever watch this one again.
Rating: Not Worth Paying For!