Formula 51 (2002)



Critic Consensus: Filled with profanities, Formula 51 is a stylized and incoherent mess that doesn't add up to much.

Movie Info

First-time screenwriter Stelios Pavlou enjoyed a major success with this script that he wrote while working in an English liquor store by sending it to actor Samuel L. Jackson, who signed on for one of the lead roles. Jackson is Elmo McElroy, a kilt-wearing, golf club-wielding Los Angeles native who has invented an illegal drug formula that he hopes will provide him with a last major score of 20 million dollars before he retires from a life of crime. He travels to Liverpool, England, where he … More

Rating: R (for strong violence, language, drug content and some sexuality)
Genre: Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Stel Pavlou, Stelios Pavlou
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 4, 2003
Box Office: $5.1M
Screen Gems - Official Site



as Elmo McElroy

as Felix DeSouza

as Dakota Phillips

as The Lizard

as Det. Virgil Kane

as Leopold Durant

as Konokko

as Mr. Davidson

as Mr. Yuri

as Mr. Jones

as Mr. Escobar

as Boy in Plane

as Boy's Mother

as Mr. Ho-Fat

as Frederick

as L.A. Highway Patrol

as Shirley DeSouza

as Omar

as Hector Dougal McElro...

as Pudsey Smith

as Grimtooth

as Pharmacist

as Anfield Commissonair...

as Hotel Maid

as Deck Hand
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Formula 51

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Critic Reviews for Formula 51

All Critics (119) | Top Critics (34)

Excessive, profane, packed with cartoonish violence and comic-strip characters.

January 2, 2003
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/
Top Critic

Director Yu seems far more interested in gross-out humor than in showing us well-thought stunts or a car chase that we haven't seen 10,000 times.

Full Review… | October 23, 2002
Top Critic

Dull-witted caper.

Full Review… | October 22, 2002
Village Voice
Top Critic

This thing is just garbage.

Full Review… | October 21, 2002
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

Missing: plot, dialogue, characters.

Full Review… | December 24, 2010
Common Sense Media

Overdirected, overacted, generally overwrought mess.

Full Review… | January 2, 2009

Audience Reviews for Formula 51


Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer


A kilt wearing American pharmacologist comes to Liverpool to sell the formula for a new kind of street drug, but his former employer sends a hitwoman after him to ensure he fails. The 51st state is very frustrating to watch as I couldn't help feeling that there was a decent film in there somewhere trying to get out. The problem with it is its unbelievable lack of subtlety; it's over directed to the point where it feels like a clip show for CSI: Miami on crack, the constant, overly intrusive MTV soundtrack is abysmal and the constant stream of wacky comedy criminals made it feel like "Carry On Gangsters". Samuel L. Jackson is always watchable when he's allowed to strut his stuff and Robert Carlyle gets more tolerable as the film goes on, but its scattershot approach means that it misses the mark at least as often as it hits. In the end, one decent action sequence and a couple of mildly amusing gags is not enough to fill 90 minutes although Sam does make it watchable. Just. But I would never, ever sit through it again.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Formula 51 is a forgettable Guy Ritchie knockoff that seems to get more painful to watch as it gets closer to the end credits. The performances for the most part are tolerable with the exception of Meat Loaf, who seemed to be channeling a retarded Bob Dole on cheap speed. Emily Mortimer was foxy but not comely enough to make me sit through Formula 51 again.This movie was full of embarrassing moments (namely Sam Jackson's speech at the rave...and the rave in general) but the thing that bugged me the most about Formula 51 was the direction. If I want to watch a 90-minute music video I'll turn on MTV and open a few arteries. And speaking of music, this movie was like going on a date with a friend of a friend you're kind of interested in--you've got a good idea as to what you're getting into, but she won't shut the fuck up. This movie seemed to have no moments of silence. It was drowned in a background soundtrack generally crappy music. There were a few decent moments like the Robert Carlyle scene in the pub and Formula 51 could've been worse. I'm just not sure how much worse.

Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

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