Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) is back in another variety of chairs in this, the Godfather of disappointing movies.
Just when Francis Ford Coppola thought he was out (having bought a vineyard with the profits from The Godfather) they pull him back in, seemingly on the condition that they let him cast his daughter Sofia as Ivanka Trump AKA Mary Corleone. In hindsight she should probably have directed, so glaringly weak is her performance and her father’s direction. Where the first two films were characterised by unparalleled attention to detail, the director’s sloppy execution here robs potentially emotional moments of their impact.
Set some 20 years after the events of The Godfather II, this 1990 sequel inserts Michael into the real-life death of Pope John Paul I and the Papal banking scandal – and that’s not even the most ridiculous thing about it. That dubious honour goes to Pacino’s “Hoo-ah” performance, apparently forgetting all the subtleties of a once-great character whom the movie reduces to a diabetic Barry Manilow; the sight of the Godfather shoving a Curly Wurly into his gob is about as welcome as a horse in the bed.
Equally unnecessary is the incest subplot between Mary and her cousin Vinny (Andy Garcia), who’s well cast but makes little sense as a character. The other new players aren’t properly introduced, making the protracted plot difficult to follow. The strongest links are Diane Keaton and Talia Shire but even their characters are rendered inconsistent, with Kay inexplicably still in love with Michael and Connie now so trigger-happy that she makes Sonny look like Cher by comparison.
The style also diverts from the elegance of its predecessors into a more Bond-like tone (there’s an opera-based action sequence and an over-the-top massacre by helicopter), while scenes from the other films are jarringly inserted in a failed attempt at providing continuity. This means The Godfather Part III feels neither like a continuation of the story nor the real conclusion to the trilogy, culminating in a laughable final shot and an overall sense that the project should have been Vitoed.