If you ask me The Godfather: part III is to the first two Godfather films as Cut the Crap is to the rest of The Clash oeuvre. I watched it again recently in the hope that it wasn't as bad as it seemed when I first saw it, in 1990, and while it isn't, it's certainly no masterpiece. If you haven't seen it since then either, it's a lot like the other two Godfather movies, only this one feels like it was directed by whoever was responsible for The Love Boat. And not the good episodes, either.
The first problem is Al Pacino's hair silver, sprouty as he looks nothing like Michael Corleone, instead coming over like a cross between an ageing rockabilly and a security guard with a bad weave. The next problem is Pacino himself, who, since he returned from his enforced sabbatical at the end of the Eighties, has appeared in all of his films simply as an exaggerated version of himself, first talking incredibly softly, then incredibly LOUDLY, before punching the nearest wall in a manner since successfully appropriated by Tom Cruise. Whereas in the first film Marlon Brando was the personification of understated menace, here Pacino lurches about in a permanent bad temper, broadcasting to all and sundry that he is a troubled soul with a lot of unconscionable things on his mind.
At the time, Sofia Coppola was crucified for her performance as Michael's daughter (replacing a sick Winona Ryder), and yet she holds up pretty well (until she dies, of course). The bigger problem is Andy Garcia, who is dreadful he was hot at the time (Bruce Willis hot) but in hindsight appears to be killing time waiting for a part in Miami Vice. And then there is George Hamilton Mr Tantastic replacing Robert Duvall because the producers wouldn't meet his financial demands.
The only scene I properly remembered from seeing it the first time was the ending, which was gothic, heavy-handed and an unnecessarily bloody and labour-intensive denouement. Thankfully, it's still just as bad, with Pacino's final convulsion worthy of Monty Python or Mel Brooks.
I read last week that Coppola was toying with the idea of a fourth instalment, but for his sake, for the sake of us all, let's hope he lets sleeping dogs lie.
Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'