Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels

1998, Movie, R, 106 mins


Irreverent, violent and wickedly clever, this smart-mouthed UK crime picture concerns four nice lads who get into some bad company and must get themselves out before things get really ugly. Cardsharp Eddie (Nick Moran) wheedles his way into a high stakes game run by porn peddler and all-around petty villain Hatchet Harry (P.H. Moriarty), thinking he can turn his £100,000 stake into some really big money. But the game's rigged and Eddie walks away owing Harry £500,000; if he doesn't pay up in a week, Harry's gangsters will take Eddie's dad's (Sting) bar in lieu of the cash. Oh, and three-quarters of the original stake belonged to Eddie's pals Tom (Jason Flemyng), Bacon (Jason Statham) and Soap (Dexter Fletcher), who can ill-afford to lose that kind of money. Fortunately, the flat next door to Eddie's houses four extravagantly loud thieves, and the walls are very thin: so Eddie knows the blundering baddies have a big score in the works, and ripping them off to appease Hatchet Harry seems a reasonable way out of the mess. Naturally, it's not as easy as all that. This larky, self-aware crime picture has Tarantino-esque written all over it. But in this case that's not a bad thing: First-time writer-director Guy Ritchie appears to have been paying attention to what made Reservoir Dogs (a huge hit in the UK) work, rather than coming away convinced that the formula for success begins and ends with pop-culture allusions and scarcely digested "homages" to classic crime films. Consequently, his film has both characters and a story, complicated by a slew of carefully worked out subplots involving boneheaded burglars, antique shotguns, yuppie hydroponic dope farmers, Jamaican drug dealers and multiple gangs of hard cases with blood in their eyes. And oh, that cliffhanger ending... leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels
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