US Release Date: 08-28-1998
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
- Jason Flemyng, as
- Dexter Fletcher, as
- Nick Moran, as
- Jason Statham, as
- Steven Mackintosh, as
- Nicholas Rowe, as
- Vinnie Jones, as
- Big Chris
- Lenny McLean, as
- Barry the Baptist
- Sting, as
- Peter McNicholl, as
- Little Chris
- Rob Brydon as
- Traffic Warden
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
Having only seen Swept Away, I had very little expectation for Guy Ritchie's first feature length film. Written and directed by Ritchie, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is a violent, bloody yet very funny gangster flick with all kinds of plot twists that eventually come together perfectly.
Four London blokes pull their money together so one of them can enter a mob run high stakes poker game. The game is rigged. He loses all of his money and ends up owing a mob boss, named Hatchet Harry, 500,000 pounds. He and his friends have one week to come up with the money or they will start losing fingers.
Meanwhile, Hatchet Harry has his right hand man, Barry the Baptist, hire a couple of morons to steal two antique guns, hence 2 smoking barrels. “Shotguns? What, like guns that fire shot?” One of them asks. “Oh, you must be the brains of the operation.” Barry responds, “Yes, guns that fire shot!”
Add a drug den run by doper college students, an angry father, a drug dealing hood and a mob enforcer who takes his 10 year old son with him on assignments, “All right, son: roll them guns up, count the money, and put your seat belt on.” And you have some of the many fascinating characters inhabiting this world.
Guy Ritchie proves here that he is a talented writer. The dialogue is great lowbrow British Humor. One of the best lines come from the drug dealing hood who says, “If the milk turns out to be sour, I ain't the kinda pussy to drink it.” While in a Samoan Pub someone tells the boys a story about the drug dealer. Only the guy speaks in such slang that there is captions to understand it. “He then proceeds to order an Aristotle of the most ping pong tiddly in the nuclear sub and switches back to his footer.” Which means he ordered a really strong drink and went back to watching his soccer game.
With Scott being such an anglophile, I am surprised that I have reviewed this never a dull moment British movie before him.
Not many movies can feature a foot being shot off and comedy and make it work.
The guy in the Samoan pub who tells the story is none other than Danny John-Jules of Red Dwarf. Okay, so I'm flying my geek flag pretty high by proclaiming how excited I was at seeing him even for just the few seconds he appeared on screen.
This movie is fast-paced and action-filled, and yet what really surprised me was the amount of comedy. It takes a pretty talented group of people to put together a movie that features someone getting their foot shot off and jokes, but this one does just that. I think I laughed most at Rob Brydon's small part as the traffic warden.
I also liked how, as you mentioned Eric, all of the disparate story lines are all neatly pulled together by the end. I mean at the beginning so many people are introduced that it's a strain just to keep up with who's working for who and why they're doing what and to remember all the different colorful nicknames, but by the end all of the dots have been connected and the puzzle pieces slotted into place perfectly.
This is very much a guy's film (no pun intended). There are only two women in the movie with lines and one of those two only says one word ("Boo"), but she does fire a big fucking gun. You just don't get this much foul language or violence in a chick flick.
I remember when this movie was released it got compared to a Tarantino film, and you can definitely see some similarities in style. This one though comes equipped with its British sense of humor, which is what really sets it apart and makes it stand out.
It was interesting to watch Jason Statham here with the benefit of hindsight. His part is small and he hadn't hit it big yet, but to my mind he stands out even though two of his friends have bigger parts than he does. Maybe that's because I know he went on to bigger things, but I also think that's why he went on to bigger things.
I had never seen any Guy Ritchie films before this one so I had no expectations when watching it. After watching it, I'm left wondering why he hasn't found further success. He's made other movies since this one, but none of them have found the same success. Maybe now that he's split up with Madonna he'll be able to focus on movies again. I know that after seeing this I'm looking more forward to his Sherlock Holmes.
Vinnie Jones in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
The comparisons to Quentin Tarantino are apt, Guy Ritchie combines raw violence with quirky dialogue very much like the Pulp Fiction director only - as my brothers mentioned - with a very British sense of humor and vernacular. I agree the pace of the laughs and action never lets up, in fact if anything they increase as the story progresses.
The cast of colorful characters and the actors portraying them (including pop star Sting in a small role) are great. The rollicking soundtrack adds to the fun with songs by such disparate artists as James Brown, The Stooges, Dusty Springfield and Robbie Williams among others. I'm actually sorry it took me so long to get around to watching this thoroughly entertaining film.
Anyone not used to British accents - especially given the amount of slang these blokes use – will have to pay close attention to catch all the funny shit being said. A couple of times I had to pause and backtrack over a line or two. Eric included a few of the best bits. Here is one of my favorite exchanges between Eddie and Soap. Eddie: “They're armed.” Soap: “What was that? Armed? What do you mean armed? Armed with what?” Eddie: “Err, bad breath, colorful language, feather duster... what do you think they're gonna be armed with? Guns, you tit!” I also laughed at the unexpected manner in which Big Chris says farewell to the boys in the pub at the end. Apropos nothing, he tells them, “It's been emotional.” In a voice completely lacking in any feeling whatsoever.
One of the most unexpectedly funny moments occurs when the boys are about to enter the Samoan pub. A man literally on fire exits right in front of them. While this may not sound very humorous the incongruity of the situation combined with the nonchalant reaction of the boys makes it very funny. In a later scene we learn just how the man came to be on fire.
As mentioned above, the plot very cleverly connects all the numerous characters. The final half hour is frantic as the body count just keeps climbing. If the movie offers any life lesson it is that no matter how tough or psychotic you are there is always someone else out there even tougher and/or more psychotic. I can't remember the character's name but the guy that gets his head beat in with the car door by Big Chris learns this lesson the hard way (see photo). As ultra violent as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is it still manages to end on a light note with one last sight gag.
Photos © Copyright Handmade Films Ltd. (1998)