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Laramie Movie Scope:

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

A funny, complicated little film about murder and other crimes

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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March 22, 2001 -- "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" is the hit movie that director Guy Ritchie (Mr. Madonna) had prior to making a very similar film with a much larger budget, called "Snatch." Of the two, I like the earlier film slightly more, but they are of very similar quality. The films show a definite Tarantino influence, mixing violence and humor in the criminal subculture.

"Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" has a very convoluted plot involving a large number of characters whose paths cross repeatedly in unexpected ways. The main characters are Eddie (played by Nick Moran), Tom (played by Jason Flemyng of "Rob Roy"), Bacon (Jason Statham), and Soap (Dexter Fletcher "Topsy Turvy"). The four lads stake Eddie, an unbeatable card shark, to a high stakes poker game with some very nasty characters. Little do they know, the game is rigged. Eddie loses. They have to come up with $800,000 in less than a week or they will start losing fingers. With their backs to the wall, they come up with a desperate plan to rob drug dealers.

In their attempts to get out of a jam, the four friends seem to be digging themselves deeper into a hole. Pretty soon they have a whole variety of dangerous characters hunting them on the East Side of London. There is a collection man, Big Chris (Vinnie Jones of "Gone in 60 Seconds"), his boss, Hatchet Harry (P.H. Moriarty) and the drug dealers they ripped off. There is also the matter of a pair of rare, valuable shotguns which figure into this complicated story. The bullets fly and the body count is high, but most of the violence is off screen, so it doesn't seem as bad as it might sound. The dialogue is clever and the plot is overstuffed with twists and coincidences. The ending is priceless.

Vinnie Jones (who also appears in "Snatch" as do several other characters in this film) is one of the more intriguing characters, a leg breaker with a strict code of ethics. He takes his son, Little Chris (Peter McNicholl) on his collection rounds with him, teaching him the ropes. He only loses his cool once, and it is a sight to behold. Jones has a way of portraying intelligence, thoughtfulness and controlled rage, all at the same time. Sting also appears in the film as Eddie's father, J.D. The rest of the film is slight, but entertaining because of its intricate plot, kinetic editing and imaginative camera angles. It is certainly a good effort by Mr. Ritchie. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in VHS and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2001 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)