• CriticNick18 December 1999
    10/10
    Seriously addictive movie - The most balanced movie ever made?
    The first time I saw this movie I had difficulty in understanding a lot of the dialogue not just because of the weird accent, but because the actors spoke so damn fast. But despite this I became literally addicted to it. To begin with my wife got pretty annoyed because any other movie we rented would be ejected after about 20 minutes of viewing and in would go LS&2SB. Now she is hooked as well.

    I have lost count of the number of times I have seen LS&2SB and still cannot put my finger on why I find this movie so good to watch. I suppose the most obvious feature of this movie is that it is beautifully balanced between being serious and humorous at the same time. The characters are two-dimensional. The villains are menacing, and yet they are made to look like idiots, and the good guys think they are so smart yet keep getting the rug pulled from under them. They are all projected as 'cool' yet the situation is always out of their control. Maybe it could be called a satire on true life.

    The style of this movie is unique, full stop. I cannot think of any movie that can be compared to LS&2SB. Quite a few people say that the style is a mix of 'Pulp Fiction', 'Goodfellas', 'Trainspotting' and 'Reservoir Dogs', but I think that you would make that kind of description only if you are really desperate to match LS&2SB to something.

    The best description I can think of is 'MTV does a crime comedy', and I honestly don't think there is anything wrong with that. Like music videos, it is all non-stop movement and sound. Something is always happening but unlike music videos, not without reason.

    The humor is incredibly sharp yet 'as a matter of fact'. No one is really trying to be extraordinarily funny, but again it is the balance between being menacingly serious and funny that the humor really flies at you. I think that it is for this reason that a few people are really disappointed with LS&2SB. If you are expecting a 'belly laugh Leslie Nielson, Jim Carrey, Steve Martin, typecasted' type all out comedy, or a serious 'Al Pacino, Andy Garcia, DeNiro typecasted crime thriller, you will find this movie a big let down.

    My favorite characters are Rory Breaker (Vas Blackwood) and Big Chris (Vinnie Jones) mainly because their two dimensional over-the-top characters are the most obvious. Big Chris takes his son with him debt collecting, and while he beats up someone who owes chastises him for swearing in front of his son and Rory Breaker is the most idiotic drug-lord you could come up with.

    I haven't even mentioned the excellent and unique camerawork, speaker blowing soundtrack, beautifully threaded plot, perfect ending and the grittiest visuals I've seen. You wont see any reflective glass laden sky scrapers here, or 'over head city shots', or incredible special effects. This movie has actors I have never heard of, dialogues that you have to rewind and replay to understand, buildings that look as though they have been condemned for demolition, cars that wouldn't even be seen in our scrap yards, has probably been made with a budget that most movies in Hollywood use for make-up alone, has no love scenes, or romance or complex relationships, no Oscar-worthy performances, and yet is perfect entertainment.

    Where our movies normally rely on budgets, this movie works on human talent alone.

    If any movie deserves a 10 out of 10, then this is it.

    'And there's one more thing...............it's been emotional'
  • doktor d19 February 2003
    The essence of late 90's cinema -- hip, highly stylized, VISUAL
    Guy Ritchie's hip, highly stylized 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels' is a truly remarkable film, not only for its appropriately pyrotechnic camera work, but also for its seemingly flawless, puzzle-perfect script/screenplay. While the picture's main focus is on a group of lads who invest money in a high-stakes, rigged card game and lose, the broader story concerns approximately eight different groups of criminals whose paths cross (more> than once, in some cases) during various illegal pursuits: money, guns, drugs, even revenge. The film is quite violent, both on and off screen, but it's also uniformly humorous throughout. It's important to note that the four central characters (a cook, a card sharp, and a couple of guys who sell "discounted" items) are interested only in acquiring the money to pay off their enormous debt; they kill no one. The same applies to the laid-back college boys who "grow copious amounts of ganja".

    The cast is comprised of mostly young, veteran, male actors. In fact, the only female in the film doesn't even speak, though she handles a machine gun fairly well. Sting appears briefly in several scenes as a bar-owning father figure. While his secondary performance is solid, as usual, it is also unmemorable. The soundtrack is first-rate, from the 60's hits of James Brown to the contemporary beats of London's underground. The groovy, pulsating music and lyrics are often succinctly synchronized with the action and dialogue in the film, creating a theatrical rhythm that is fairly uncommon in cinema (from any period).

    Critics and audiences over the years have often dismissed stylized camera work as pretentious and unnecessary, stating that it detracts from the story, bogs it down, or pads it; however, the film medium has the luxury of actually "displaying" a story for its audience, unlike the written word alone. It's what the medium is all about -- it's VISUAL. Hence, one of the reasons a filmmaker chooses such visual displays is to "brand" his or her work, in the same way as writers like Cummings, Hemingway or Joyce did with their medium. It's hard to imagine a cinema without Hitchcock, Kubrick, or Scorsese to represent it. To this end, Ritchie has taken his first step in establishing his own brand. His energetic, ultra-contemporary camera work incorporates (through a fresh perspective) such devices as slow motion, fast motion, and freeze-frame coupled with narration. It is at times reminiscent of (and actually expands upon) Martin Scorsese's patented visual stylistics and camera movements, like those found in 'Mean Streets' and 'Goodfellas'. But the similarities with Scorsese's work end there.

    Critics' endless comparisons of Ritchie's film with the works of Quentin Tarantino and Danny Boyle's 'Trainspotting' stand mostly unwarranted, as these comparisons take away from the inventiveness and originality of 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels'. Ritchie's film is a much more involved, complex, layered work than the aforementioned comparisons. While Tarantino's films are very strong on dialogue, screenplay, and editing, they often lack creative camera work and direction. Boyle's 'Trainspotting' does have a resembling "feel" to 'LS&TSB', but aside from its Great Britain origins, there really is no need for comparison. 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels' is essential viewing.
  • Quag71 March 2002
    10/10
    Have a butchers...
    I was a total and complete sucker for this film.

    If I were to write and direct a movie about gangsters or crime, this would be it. I wouldn't change one damn thing. Not a thing. Everything in this film was, to my eye, perfect - casting, the camerawork, the excellent dialogue ("It's been emotional.")

    Now I don't have much to compare this to, and I've heard some criticism that it basically draws quite heavily from older British crime dramas. I've got a bunch of these on my queue to rent, but I doubt you could make a crime film better than this.

    This film oozes with style, class, dark humor, plot twists and turns, and doesn't drag one bit. The casting and characterization is perfect, and Ritchie isn't afraid to move the cameras around; no pretense is really made here at "realism" - Ritchie doesn't mask the fact that it's a film and he runs with it.

    I really don't think of myself as easily impressed, and I have seen a hell of a lot of films in my time, but this one instantly made my Top 10 after only a single viewing. Yes, I'm raving about it, and while it may not be "spiritually enriching" or contain any deep sociological content (which I actually do look for in films), somehow it still scores as one hell of a film; memorable and entertaining, and stands up well to multiple viewings.

    I am a bit dismayed to see some of the marketing of this film comparing it to other things like Quentin Tarantino films or Trainspotting. It really does it a disservice because this film really is its own phenomenon and stands on its own two feet; if anything it is similar to Trainspotting and Tarantino films only because it actually has its own bold style.

    Can't recommend it enough.
  • ExtraCrispy-215 February 2000
    Comedy Noir well done
    I'm not sure whether to call this a black comedy or a comedy-noir. The story is about four working class lads who have each managed to save up 25,000 pounds to spot their card-shark friend for a high-stakes poker game with "Hatchet" Harry, the local gangster.

    Unfortunately, Harry's game is rigged and the four end up owing Harry half a million pounds, with just one week to come up with the cash. What ensues is a set of schemes, counter-schemes, rip-offs, and bad/good luck that demand you pay attention. On several occasions I had to pause the video just to take stock of which gang was planning what.

    The final thirty minutes of the film, as the plots all collide and overlap, turn set-piece shoot outs into comedic punchlines. The comedy is driven by exploding our expectations of what are otherwise pretty standard scenes from the film-noir genre.

    The acting is strong and the script very tight. Although I am not normally a fan of voice overs, this one informs without spoiling the action. And I liked the use of the slow-motion to disrupt the action and keep me paying attention.

    While this film may not be for everyone, if you enjoy a darker pallette, this may be right up your alley.
  • jedidp5 November 1999
    10/10
    Brilliant script, brilliant cinematography, great acting and soundtrack
    Best comedy in years, friend turned me on to this hilarious comedy of errors and glad she did. The film is damn near flawless, forces you to pay attention to the twists and turns through it's witty dialogue. Wonderfully photographed with brilliant camerawork but not overdone. Worth several sittings and we could learn alot in Hollywood from this one....
  • sduston20 February 2000
    Incredibly funny and entertaining story of four yo...
    Incredibly funny and entertaining story of four young "criminals" out for big money. This is one of the most intelligently written stories I've ever seen. If you like to write screenplays, let this one take you for a spin. Very fast paced film with great editing techniques and a hilarious cast and storyline thats sure to entertain, as long as you can handle the accents. Great cinematography as well. This story will send you through a cork screw. See it once, then see it again to see what you missed.
  • smarty-1314 July 1999
    Plot twists and turns amongst the seedy London Underground
    Warning: Spoilers
    LOCK STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS ( rating, * * * * out of 5 )

    Four lesser thieves from the East End of London find themselves dangerously in debt to a local smut peddler - the result of a fixed poker game. The consequence being that until they repay the money owed, each one will lose a finger for each day the payment is late.

    While trying to figure their desperate predicament, they overhear their gangster neighbors setting up a score from some slumberous marijuana dealers and decide that knocking over the neighbours is their only way out.

    After the triumphant thievery, they discover that the pot belongs to the same menacing individual they want to fence it through - a black psychopath whose history reads like the Anti-Christ's resume. Enter a miscellany of desperadoes and hoodlums who target our four lads.

    For the first time since 'Pulp Fiction', a movie comes along that breaks the shackles of tedious cloning. This film is entertaining and moves along at a cracking pace. Guy Ritchie's script is a tapestry of well-written characters, sharp dialogue that says what needs to be said and leaves the unsaid as food for thought, and a mesh of sub-plots that interlace together with imagination and expertise.

    His direction is crisp and inventive allowing the cast of eccentric characters to move about freely while maintaining that erratic edge. In this slick piece of film making, Guy Ritchie denies hackneyed Hollywood trends by scripting no true good-guys just varying degrees of bad ones.

    This is a terrific movie. It is violent but not extreme considering the subject matter and cast of cut-throat characters. The language is strong and the humor is black where you'll find yourself belly laughing at the brutal misfortune of others. If this makes you uncomfortable, then this film is not for you. It is also not for those who have been trained by television sit-coms to laugh on cue.

    Broadminds are required to enjoy this fine British film where it will definitely add some zing to your day. So stick your tongues firmly in your cheeks and hop on the thrill a minute ride that is 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels'.
  • Sean Gallagher14 January 2000
    9/10
    As T.C. said, this movie rocks!
    You all may know the story at how Tom Cruise saw this movie at a screening in London, and afterwards said, "This movie rocks." Whatever you may think of Mr. Cruise, I happen to agree after watching this film. Although I had trouble following the story at times, it was a lot of fun, and Ritchie managed to juggle all the characters around and keep me interested and compelled to watch. I also didn't have any trouble understanding what the characters were saying, and I think those who blind themselves to films like this by saying, "Oh, I can't understand them" lack patience. I also liked all the actors, particularly, of course Lenny McLean and Vinnie Jones(one of my few complaints is I would have liked to see more of them in the film). And for a film which feels violent, there's surprisingly little actual violence, which is refreshing. Overall, not a particularly deep film, but a lot of fun.
  • Master of Insanity3 February 2000
    `100 pounds is still 100 pounds!' `Not when the price is 200 pounds!'
    If this film had been dubbed for American viewers, (even if it would have lost the magic of the cockney accent), not one person from the States would have said this wasn't a really good film. I didn't even understand most of the dialogues, but the weirdness of the characters and of what they did was really funny. Not hysterically funny, but Funny! The mixture of comedy and violence was the thing that most amused me. The story itself isn't of the most original, but surely efficacious. The photography and the soundtrack were also brilliant and to finish, I saw Pulp Fiction, I loved it, but after seeing LS&2SM I was too busy thinking over and over how much I liked it for noticing a whatsoever similarity with PF. 10 out of 10 is a bit too muchÂ… but 9/10 definitely isn't! Watch it!
  • Chrysanthepop11 May 2008
    ''And there's one more thing...it's been emotional' says one of the Slickest 'Gangster' flicks ever!
    'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels' is one of those films that I can watch x number of times and still enjoy it as much as I did in the first viewing. This is pretty much what an action gangster flick should be like. It has all the required ingredients. The action, humour, drama and suspense balance extremely well. Ritchie's writing and direction are excellent as not only does the film keep one at the edge of his/her seat but the characters (including minor ones) are rich. They're over-the-top but that only works for the film. While the bad guys think they're powerful and all, they're actually portrayed as dumb and the good guys think they're clever and have all the answers to their problems when they're actually not so bright. The characters are portrayed as cool yet they end up getting caught in a mess. The film too is somewhat satirical as it reflects a part of life e.g. the closeness between the four friends, the son following the father's (Big Chris's) footsteps. The humour is mostly dark with sharp, witty and funny dialogues and hilarious situations. It all seems a 'natural' part of the story. Shot in DV, the camera-work and use of music is very effective. The film has a raw and gritty look yet the execution of it makes it very stylish. Richie uses the same style in 'Snatch'. He should become an auteur and make more movies of this kind as it is clearly his fort (remember his disastrous attempt at romance with 'Swept Away'?). All the actors, whether it's Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Moran, Jason Statham or more recognized faces like Vinnie Jones and Sting, seem to naturally fit their parts. 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels' is one of the coolest 'gangster' flicks. A must watch to those who love action films that have both substance and entertainment.
loading
An error has occured. Please try again.