The Last Tycoon (2012 film)

The Last Tycoon

Film poster
Traditional 大上海
Simplified 大上海
Mandarin Dà Shànghǎi
Cantonese Daai6 Soeng5-hoi2
Directed by Wong Jing
Produced by Andrew Lau
Connie Wong
Written by Wong Jing
Phillip Lui
Manfred Wong
Starring Chow Yun-fat
Sammo Hung
Francis Ng
Huang Xiaoming
Music by Chan Kwong-wing
Cinematography Andrew Lau
Jason Kwan
Edited by Azrael Chung
Distributed by Distribution Workshop
Release dates
  • 22 December 2012 (2012-12-22) (China)
  • 3 January 2013 (2013-01-03) (Hong Kong)
Running time
118 minutes (Singapore)
107 minutes (China)
Country Hong Kong
Language Mandarin
Box office ¥126 million (China)

The Last Tycoon is a 2012 Hong Kong period drama film directed by Wong Jing, starring Chow Yun-fat, Sammo Hung, Francis Ng and Huang Xiaoming. The film was released in mainland China on 22 December 2012, and in Hong Kong on 3 January 2013. The story is loosely inspired by the life of Du Yuesheng, a prominent mob boss in Shanghai in the 1920s and 1930s.[1][2]


The story begins in the 1910s in early Republican China. Cheng Daqi, a young fruit vendor from Chuansha, is arrested and imprisoned after being framed for murder. He is saved by Mao Zai, an agent working for the secret police. He travels to Shanghai in search of a new life. In Shanghai, he meets Hong Shouting, a mob boss, and becomes one of Hong's apprentices. He also falls in love with Bao, a singer whom he eventually marries. His true love, however, is actually Ye Zhiqiu, an opera actress from his hometown. At one point, Hong unknowingly offends the son of a general and is captured by the general's men. Cheng negotiates with the general and succeeds in making a deal with him to release Hong and invest in their bank. Hong feels so grateful to Cheng that he becomes sworn brothers with him.

Some 20 years later, a middle-aged Cheng has become an influential tycoon and mob boss in Shanghai. He maintains close ties with Hong and Hong's wife, Ling Husheng. At the same time, he has a shaky relationship with Mao Zai, who is now a high-ranking officer in the National Revolutionary Army. He meets his old flame, Ye Zhiqiu, when she visits Shanghai, but she is already married to Cheng Zhaimei, a member of an underground resistance movement. They are caught up in the events of the Second Sino-Japanese War, which breaks out in 1937. Mao arranges for Cheng, Ye and her husband to escape to Hong Kong in the midst of the Battle of Shanghai, but keeps Bao as a hostage with him. After the fall of Shanghai, Mao defects to the Japanese and becomes a provincial governor. The Japanese general Nishino intends to make Cheng the puppet mayor of Shanghai, so Mao suggests to him to keep Cheng's loved ones alive and use them to lure Cheng back to Shanghai.

Cheng returns to Shanghai and reluctantly cooperates with the Japanese. He makes secret plans with Ye Zhiqiu to save their loved ones and allies, and assassinate Nishino. One evening, while Nishino and Mao Zai are distracted by an opera performance in a theatre, Cheng and his men break into the prison to rescue Hong Shouting, Ling Husheng and the others. After returning to the theatre, Cheng and his comrades attack the Japanese and kill Nishino. Mao manages to flee to the backstage, where he holds Ye hostage at gunpoint and threatens to kill her if Cheng does not put down his pistol. Just then, Bao shows up and saves Ye from Mao, but dies in the process. The furious Cheng vents his anger on Mao by shooting him repeatedly. Cheng carries Bao's body and walks out of the theatre with Ye, only to find themselves surrounded by Japanese soldiers. They take shelter inside a car and die together when the soldiers unleash a volley of gunfire on them.


Actor / Actress Role Inspiration(s) for the character
Chow Yun-fat Cheng Daqi
Du Yuesheng, a prominent mob boss in Shanghai.
Huang Xiaoming Cheng Daqi (young)
Sammo Hung Hong Shouting
Huang Jinrong (黃金榮), a prominent mob boss in Shanghai.
Francis Ng Mao Zai
Dai Li, the head of the Nationalist Government's intelligence agency;
Zhang Xiaolin (張嘯林), a prominent mob boss in Shanghai.
Yuan Quan Ye Zhiqiu
Meng Xiaodong (孟小冬), an opera actress in Shanghai.
Feng Wenjuan Ye Zhiqiu (young)
Monica Mok Bao
Kimmy Tong Bao (young)
Yuan Li Ling Husheng
Lin Jiasheng (林桂生), Huang Jinrong's wife.
Gao Hu Lin Huai
Lin Huaibu (林懷部), Zhang Xiaolin's bodyguard.
Xin Baiqing Cheng Zhaimei
Yasuaki Kurata Major-General Nishino
Han Zhi General Lu
Lu Yongxiang, a warlord in eastern China.
Qi Ji Lu Xiaojia
Lu Xiaojia (盧筱嘉), Lu Yongxiang's son.
Zheng Yitong Xiaolanchun
Lulanchun (露蘭春), an opera actress in Shanghai.
Yang Dapeng Xiaopang
Gao Tian Officer Pei
Lai Xi fruit stall owner
Li Xintong fruit stall owner's wife


The film was shown at the 2013 Hong Kong International Film Festival.[3]


The film's music was composed by Chan Kwong-wing.[4] The theme song, Ding Feng Bo (定風波), was composed by Leon Ko and sung in Mandarin by Jacky Cheung, with its lyrics written by Chris Shum. Ding Feng Bo won the Best Original Song at the 32nd Hong Kong Film Awards.[5]

Yi Sheng Shou Hou (一生守候), another song from the film, was performed by Joanna Wang.


The Last Tycoon earned HK$5,787,307 at the Hong Kong box office[6] and has grossed ¥126 million in mainland China as of 6 January 2013.[7]

Awards and nominations

32nd Hong Kong Film Awards
7th Asian Film Awards


External links

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