Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (18)

Directed by Guy Ritchie
Starring Jason Flemyng, Nick Moran, Jason Statham, Dexter Fletcher

A highly enjoyable British caper film, featuring lots of violence but also lots of wicked black humour. Set in gangland London, four young friends, led by Eddy(Moran), fairly honest on the whole try to make some money by joining in a big money poker game run by Hatchett Harry. Unfortunately for them it is rigged and they end up with a half million pound debt and no way to pay. Meanwhile, their next door neighbours are planning a raid on a group of softie pot-growing upper class dealers. Eddy and the boys see their chance and decide to rob the robbers!
While it sounds like a nasty brutish film, and is full of gender and racial stereotypes, this is actually a very humourous post-Tarentinoesque romp, with a lot of laugh out loud moments. The leading quartet are likeable rogues and even the baddies have a certain charm. Sting pops up as Eddy's dad- looking serious and talkin' dead tough! However, the best of the heavy mob is footballer Vinnie Jones, who displays more skill than he usually does on the football pitch. He doesn't have to do a lot more than look menacing, but Vinnie is a pleasant surprise.
With a huge number of characters, drawn to varying degrees of depth, an upbeat and funny ending and an all round laddish trendiness, this film is a nice variation from the recent British comedies. Director Guy Ritchie and his cast and crew deserve praise for an accomplished and enjoyable movie. 8/10.

August 1998

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