Critical reaction to the film has been mixed. While the film's unoriginal themes were criticised, the script and direction, as well as the performances of Strong, Butler and Kebbell, were praised. IGN gave the film a positive review with four out of five stars, saying "Guy Ritchie is hardly re-inventing the wheel with this movie, but RocknRolla is nonetheless a comedy thriller that is every bit as accomplished as his early work, and without doubt a witty, adrenalin-fuelled blast from start to finish." Roger Ebert gave the film three stars, stating that "It never slows down enough to be really good, and never speeds up enough to be the Bourne Mortgage Crisis, but there's one thing for sure: British actors love playing gangsters as much as American actors love playing cowboys, and it's always nice to see people having fun."
Guy Ritchieīs gangster formula is intact in "RocknRolla" and a it is simply a third act after "Lock Stock and two Smokin' Barrels" and "Snatch" with the same fast paced and witty dialogue, great soundtrack, a stylistic violent and complex plot structure filled with Cockney gangster stereotypes and rapid dynamic editing. Yes, it might feel that you have seen it before, but Ritchie still manages to keep his direction, story and colourful character gallery in a "newer" shape and form so you are still truly entertained. The ensemble is hardly something you can complain about with Tom Wilkinson, Mark Strong, Gerard Butler, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Thandie Newton etc. They all work perfectly in their roles and with a classic Ritchie ensemble storyline they all get to shine in one way or another. Thandie Newton has never been more gorgeous and I love the scene when Stella and One-Two dance together with Flash and The Panīs magnificent song "Waiting For A Train" playing in the background. Great scene. Excellent use of Lou Reedīs solid song "The Gun" as well."RocknRolla" is a great in my eyes and fans of "Lock Stock and two Smokin' Barrels" and "Snatch" will love this one as well.
Trivia: Thandie Newton revealed that Ritchie stated that he hopes to extend RocknRolla into a trilogy, in the event that the film receives enough positive attention. At the end of the film there is a title card stating "Johnny, Archy and the Wild Bunch will be back in The Real RocknRolla". According to both the audio commentary and an interview with Ritchie, the second film has been written and is awaiting studio approval. In a 2011 interview, promoting Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, when asked about a possible RocknRolla sequel, Ritchie said "You know, I've spent a lot of time thinking about it! I've written a script, I think it's a great script, and Joel (Silver) wants to pay for me to do it. But up until now we haven't had the time to do it. It's sitting there and we'd all like to do it, it's just a question of when we're going to fit it in. So we'll wait and see." He also mentioned that as long as Warner Bros. keeps throwing him "big movies like the Sherlock Holmes films and The Man from UNCLE, then it may not be happening soon."