Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels Reviews
Eddy, Tom, Soap (not kidding) and Bacon (seriously) are four small time criminals that get themselves into trouble as they end up indebted to a notoriously violent mobster who gives them a week to pay. As the amount of money is almost impossible to earn in seven days, the foursome decide to make a heist but they aren't aware of the consequences their actions will bring upon them.
With such an atrocious name and a counting with unexperienced producers and director, it would be safe to assume that this film would be a failure, but surprisingly Guy Ritchie´s directorial debut is the exact opposite. "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" counts with solid performances, the comedy is downright hilarious, a shockingly functional use of numerous rock songs, a script that's a combination of Tarantino´s style with "Magnolia" type of intertwine writing, dialog that's basically a Tarantino wannabe but focus on sarcastic characters, and it's extremely fun to watch. But this fun and memorable debut film has two major issues: The pacing is so fast that for the first 30 minutes you will most likely struggle to process every character or even the dialog itself, but once you get used to it you will enjoy the ride; and overall Ritchie himself. Guy Ritchie has made name for himself due to his energetic and over produced style that at times works (especially when he focuses on comedy) but at others it just comes off as he is trying too hard to appear as smart as Tarantino by mimicking moments of Quentin´s debut, but let's give credit where credit is due: His almost music video style works perfectly in this crime comedy as it is overall what makes this film fun and hilarious.
"Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" is hilarious, entertaining and overall well-crafted film, despite the fact its pacing is extremely fast and Ritchie´s over produced directing style is at time disorienting. Highly recommendable if you want a good laugh or just want to watch a memorable film that has attitude. Undeniably Ritchie's best film to date and possibly the best Tarantino film not made by Quentin himself.
The film, 1999's "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels," was the first for the now cultishly beloved Ritchie, who kept his cheeky stride with 2001's similar "Snatch" but lost it all after marrying Madonna and throwing his career away in 2003 with "Swept Away," a misguided attempt to combine work and play. After "Snatch's" release, he's come close to matching the initial triumphs of his first two releases ("Sherlock Holmes" brought him much needed commercial success, "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." showcasing him as an immensely capable talent-for-hire), but nothing takes the place of "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels," whose vitality and crotchety humor makes it as punchy of a crackpot crime comedy as it was back in '99.
Its hard-to-follow plot, a familiar case of too many characters and too many stories, is its weak link, preventing us from feeling that internal cackle that follows suit after undergoing something like "Jackie Brown," which was similarly complicated but nevertheless straightforward and rewarding to keep up with. There comes a point during "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels" in which the hurricane of thick British accents and bafflements of the intersecting stories becomes too much, us having to throw our hands up in surrender to its byzantine ways. But its delightful performances and saucy dialogue never lose their introductory charisma - getting lost in its setup is very much a possibility, but tiring of its personality is certainly not.
The film concerns the misadventures of a pocket of East End thugs, who match in their tendencies to blunder but who vary in their callousness. Most conspicuously featured are Eddy (Nick Moran), Bacon (Jason Statham), Tom (Jason Flemyng), and Soap (Dexter Fletcher), low-lifes who unwisely devise a plan to earn enough money to land Eddy a spot on the poker table of porn producer Hatchet Harry (P.H. Moriarty). So intrigued by the prospect of winning big that they forget that Eddy could, you know, lose, we get the feeling that the twenty somethings are way in over their heads.
And we'd be right - Eddy doesn't end a victor and instead becomes a victim of the payback. By the end of the week, he is expected to give Harry an obnoxious amount of cash; Harry, aware that the young man foolish enough to go against him likely won't be able to put his money where his mouth is, eyes his father's bar for purchase. But Eddy and his pals are virilely forlorn, eventually landing on the idea of stealing from a local gangster's (Steven Mackintosh) marijuana business. Connoisseurs of the heist they aren't, though, and the hot water around them gets even hotter the more they try to get Eddy out of his debt.
A bevy of characters are further introduced, but to list them all off, describing their individual roles in driving the labyrinthine plot, would be tiresome and maybe even worthless; most likely, you won't be able to keep up with "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels" any better than me. You will, however, remain enthralled by its exchanges and its characters - I love the way Ritchie is able to make even the most wearisome of a conversational detail pop with knowing panache, and I love the chutzpah of the performers, especially Statham, then a newcomer, Vinnie Jones, a brawny toughie, and Vas Blackwood, who, with delicious camp, plays a crime boss of unusual merit. So while "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels" is not the direct escapism most hunt for to spend a couple of hours with, its exhibition is unmissable; had Ritchie continued on the path set by it, then he might have been a living legend. But there are worse ways to be remembered.