16 years after winning an Oscar for directing "The Godfather Part II", Francis Ford Coppola made a belated, ill-advised return to the scene of his greatest triumph and churned out a film which, in every respect, is a pale shadow of its predecessors.
Sympathetic filmgoers may find something of merit in Al Pacino's portrayal of a grey-haired, rueful Michael Corleone, or Andy Garcia's showy turn as Vincent, the bastard son of Sonny Corleone in the first movie; and the complex plot involving fiscal corruption at the Vatican.
But anyone with memories of "The Godfather" and its 1974 sequel will shudder at how Coppola reduces their powerful iconography to the level of a daytime soap, and how his self-conscious allusions to King Lear and grand opera falter in the face of lax storytelling and implausible scenes of wholly unjustified mayhem.
Pacino is easily the film's strongest asset, though his performance is weakened by his tendency to shout every other word. Yet where "The Godfather Part III" really stumbles is in the director's catastrophic decision to cast his own daughter, Sofia, as Michael's daughter Mary.
Sofia has since proved herself to be a promising director with "The Virgin Suicides", but her performance here is so wooden you want to yell "Timber!" every time she appears on screen. However, this was not the only casting selection to raise eyebrows. When Robert Duvall demanded a hefty fee to reprise his role as consiglieri Tom Hagen, Coppola rewrote the part and gave it to... George Hamilton!
Find out more about "The Godfather" films.