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Lock, Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels

Starring Nick Moran, Jason Flemyng, Jason Statham, Dexter Fletcher; Sting
Written and Directed by Guy Ritchie

IN SHORT: Enjoyable though Aurally Incomprehensible.

The movie studios have been looking for the next breakthrough East End comedy/drama ever since Trainspotting hit big. Cranky has sat through a whole bunch of 'em. Even when they have solid stories and performances half the difficulty in enjoying 'em is that these American ears can't understand half the Cockney accented words. A number of weeks ago My Name Is Joe handled the problem by subtitling the entire flick. This time out, Lock, Stock and 2 Smoking Gun Barrels subtitles the slang words. The accents are still thick and the story is packed with the sick, black humor that Cranky loves. Even with comprehension at a meager 50% of words spoken, I enjoyed this flick.

In the lower levels of society, there are the Princes and Kings who dress finely (sic) and take a cut out of everything going on in their district. The guy who runs the world of this flick is called Hatchet Harry (P.H. Moriarty). Harry runs the local sex shoppes, has an eye for fine antiques and doesn't like to lose at anything, which is where our story kicks into gear. But I'm getting ahead of the game.

Have you ever bought anything off "the back of a truck"? Cranky sees 'em every day. Street vendors selling stolen or counterfeit goods cheap. This is the life led by the quartet of stars at the center of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Gun Barrels who work the street, fence stolen goods, and manage to save their money for the big score B a private card game with incredible amounts of cash at stake. Of our Gang of Four, Eddie (Nick Moran) is the card hustler and he settles down for the long haul and a big score. Mates Tom, Bacon and Soap (Jason Flemyng, Jason Statham and Dexter Fletcher) settle in at the bar next door.

Opposite Eddie is Hatchet Harry. Behind Eddie is a video camera checking out his cards. Harry has no intention of losing, y'see, and when Eddie thinks he finally has the upper hand, Harry drops the axe. Net result: a debt of half a million Pound Sterling (about $800,000) and a week to raise it. If they don't, they lose their fingers to the Hatchet of Harry's nickname. Harry doesn't necessarily want the money. He'll settle for ownership of the local bar owned by a hated enemy, Eddie's father, JD (Sting). JD has no intention of selling.

The boys are doomed but the hovel they live in has very thin walls and there are drug dealers living on the other side. One group of thieves decides to rip off the other and, in this London world where everybody is working for Harry in one way or another, things get bloody fast. At the center of the movie is a huge duffel bag filled with cash, a van filled with pot and a pair of antique shotguns whose value is known only to Harry. By the time all is said and done, fours sets of hands will hold the loot and many of the owners of those aforesaid hands will be dead.

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Gun Barrels is filled with dimwitted thugs who shoot first and think second. The pace, once we shift into high gear, is frenetic. Outrageous coincidences pile on top of each other so quickly that you'll feel the rush just from trying to keep up. The sickest bit is that there is a major amount of blood shed, as the paths of the various players cross. Every time someone dies, the audience laughs. Truly sick and black humor. Just the kind of stuff Cranky likes.

I can't tell more without going into long explanations of how all the elements interlock. Lock, Stock and 2 Smoking Gun Barrels is the kind of movie you'll want in your VCR, so you can keep going over it until you get all the details.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Lock, Stock and 2 Smoking Gun Barrels, he would have paid...


Date flick level, though you'll have to work to enjoy the flick, 'cuz half the dialog will be lost. Sting's presence may be the major sell on this flick, but he's onscreen for a total of perhaps three or four minutes. Don't see this movie for him. See it for the crazy quilt story that plays out. It is a delirious and delicious ride.

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2016   by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.