Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) is Guy Ritchie’s first feature film (as both writer and director). For people who aren’t familiar with the name, Guy Ritchie is the man responsible for directing the Sherlock Holmes films of 2008 and 2011. This film is also Jason Statham’s film debut. Unlike most of his other films however, Statham doesn’t play a martial arts expert.
The film itself follows a pretty big cast of characters that include four friends, thugs, a group of weed growers, loan sharks, and debt collectors. A high-stakes poker game hosted by “Hatchet” Harry (P. H. Moriarty) – the owner of a porn shop – triggers several events. After losing £500,000 in the poker game, four friends are forced to find a way to pay back the money to “Hatchet” Harry in a week before he sends out his debt collector, Big Chris (Vinnie Jones), to cut of their fingers. On their quest to gather the money, the group of friends will cross paths with a sociopath, a traffic cop, weed, antique guns, and more than a few crimes.
The plot of the film starts off in a very chaotic manner because of all the ongoing stories. As the movie progresses, all of these stories will collide and blend in a very nice manner. The humor scattered throughout the story keep it from turning into a dull crime film. It is also worth noting that although Lock, Stock… doesn’t have a lot of eccentric characters or superstar actors, this actually helps everything move forward more naturally and lets all of the character arcs play off of each other without staying on one person or group of people for too long. The grainy look of the film, whether it is done on purpose or not, also compliments the content of the flick.
Overall, a great first feature film for writer/director Guy Ritchie. It’s very tough not to compare it to Ritchie’s next film, Snatch. (2000), but if you haven’t seen Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, you’re missing out. The extreme violence, dark humor, and non-linear plot that mirrors Quentin Tarantino’s style, make this a very enjoyable movie.
Rockit Raccoon Rating: 7
Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
WARNING: If you’re not familiar with British Cinema or have trouble deciphering what people are saying, it would be well advised to watch this movie with subtitles.