Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Director: Guy Ritchie
Year: 1998
TRT: 1:48

Being the fuckin' drunk that I am, I was a bit surprised to see I hadn't already posted a review for this most excellent movie. So, like a trooper, I got drunk and watched it again. And you know what? No regrets. This is a top-notch crime thriller. Why? This movie has like 22 characters plus a traffic warden, and all of them surprisingly unique. Well, maybe 4 or 5 are throwaways, but it's still impressive nonetheless to juggle so many different people and still be coherent. Even for a drunk!

Okay, stay with me here considering the major amount of criminals/characters involved. Four accomplished hoods pool their money behind Eddie, their leader and almost eerily-good card player, in a high-stakes game with known Porn King and crime boss Harry "The Hatchet" Lonsdale. Things go a bit awry to make for a better story, and it seems like the end for Eddie and his crew. But then you throw in a couple of low-level hoods, a group of serious thugs, some karma-weilding dope growers, a mad black man by the name of Rory and his henchmen, Nick the Greek, Big Chris, and two antique guns, and things are on a steady spiral towards total fucking chaos. And it plays out in an amazingly comprehensible fashion. Seriously, I'm still quite amazed how well all the elements flow together.

For whatever faults he may have, director Guy Ritchie shouldn't be held accountable for his other accomplishments (the bub-standard, kind of Americanized version of this film called Snatch, marrying Madonna, casting her in his [yet DMR unseen] re-make of Swept Away). This is a fantastic update of a British crime caper that somehow didn't employ Michael Caine (however the artist formerly known as Sting does make an appearance, with decent results nonetheless). Great casting, editing, and suitable running soundtrack, quite an effective contribution to the genre. Hopefully his upcoming Revolver will help wipe out the bad taste his previous two films (mentioned above) have left. Please?

This definitely helped launch the career of Jason "Transporter" Statham, for better or worse. Does a great job here, now all he needs is something a little more substantial. Also interesting to see is how some of Eddie's crew pops up in current American and Brit cinema, as well as Vinnie "Big Chris" Jones, British football player-turned-actor. A good time once you get past the sometimes heavy British accents and Cockney slang.

Great Scenes: Great little montage of Eddie and his buddies in crime celebrating after a big heist. Final wrap-up of storylines set to UK's Manchester band The Stone Roses.

DVD Notes: Nice single DVD put out by Polygram, clean and crisp given some occasional rough footage that was shot. Also attached are a Brit and US trailer, bios, production featurette and a nice explanation into Cockney slang. Considering the amount of characters and quick-paced dialogue, a nice addition to the DVD collection if you're so inclined. Like I first mentioned, definitely a great flick to revisit from time to time.