July 26, 2014: Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

Cast and Crew: Guy Ritchie (Director); Jason Statham, Vinnie Jones, P. H. Moriarty, Sting

What It’s About: A quirky, frenetic heist film.  Four young layabouts with varied degrees of criminal experience buy in to a high-stakes poker game that turns out to be fixed.  As a result they’re in debt to a murderous smut boss, and they have a week to come up with a fortune.  It just so happens that their chosen way out (heist some drug dealers right after they complete their own drug heist) brings them face to face with several additional groups of equally bumbling gangsters and crooks.  The number of warring factions wouldn’t be out of place in a game of Illuminati — except for the fact that no one who has ever played Illuminati has ever had a suit so painfully fashionable as our hero Eddie (Nick Moran).  The lively soundtrack, loud suits and stylized cinematography (is there a Ritchie filter on Instagram?) scream late-Nineties Britain: the heyday of Ministry of Sound, the sunset of the Spice Girls.  Even the name of the production company is dated: SKA Films.

Why Watch it Today?: Jason Statham, an athlete and FCUK (French Connection, that is) model who got his start in movies as Bacon, Eddy’s street huckster friend, turns 47 today.  If you pull up Netflix streaming in another browser tab, you should find at least eight or nine Statham vehicles to choose from.  Unfortunately, they’re all approximately the same movie: Statham has filled a niche in the action market that could essentially be described as “Jean Reno with better abs and marginally more comprehensible English.”  Rather than wasting your time with “The Expendable Transporter 18,” go back to his roots.  At the time, I rated this one of the most innovative action movies of the Nineties (behind obvious choices like Pulp Fiction).  It hasn’t necessarily aged well.  If you saw it back then, how do you think it holds up now?

Note: one or two moments in this trailer are NSFW.

Another note: I believe the total number of lines spoken by the one speaking female character in this film is three.  And the total number of women who appear in the film outside of crowd scenes is four.  What’s up with that???

One comment on “July 26, 2014: Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

  1. T.A. Gerolami says:

    Good call on the lack of female roles, even bad ones, of any consequence in this movie. Never really thought about just how intensely guy focused it was.

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