Top critical review
One person found this helpful
on 29 September 2009
I really wanted to like this. I even expected to. It had all the ingredients: a great cast, Ritchie at the helm having penned it himself, and hey - just like the tagline says - a story about sex and thugs and rock 'n roll.
But it didn't work for me. It didn't have that X factor, that soul, that special stamp of identity that makes you remember it for years to come. The story was typically convoluted yet simple so any audience can 'get it', the characters brilliantly chosen and pushing the limits of stereotype but never really breaking through (so that's good), and the soundtrack, while uninspired overall, was still just right for the mood and Ritchie-stamp. Definitely a case of the whole not matching up to the sum of its parts and in the end, a really poor comparison to classics like Lock Stock.
Don't get me wrong - Tom Wilkinson was funny as old-skool hood Lenny Cole and it was great to see him back on home turf after putting on some less than convincing accents on the other side of the pond. His back-up man Archy was played by Mark Strong - who was outstanding in the lead role in The Long Firm - and although I think he makes for a better front-man than support it was great to see him here and he added some of his own particular gravitas to the cast. Another welcome player, albeit peripheral, was Idris Elba (Stringer Bell in The Wire) but overall I found myself enjoying the performances of individual actors rather than the unity of the team, and feeling that there was something missing that could and should have given the finished article a special attitide, an edge, something to remember it by. I can understand why many viewers would like like it and maybe even like it a lot, but as for me, I have to reluctantly say that it missed out.
Yet again it's difficult to offer comparisons between this Blu-Ray version and the standard DVD as I have only seen this one, but I would say that it is one of the better Blu-Ray films I have seen from a technical perspective. As for extras, there's a 'Behind the scenes' commentary by Guy Ritchie and Mark Strong, together with some explanations of how some of the trademark scenes were shot. There's a deleted scene too, called 'Will you put the cigarette on?'
I really wasn't expecting to be let down by this, but I was; I don't think Vinnie Jones would have saved it. I can't believe that there's a sequel in the pipeline, and I will be very surprised if it's better than this even if that's the only direction any sequel can go. In a nutshell, this will probably disappoint fans of Snatch and Lock Stock, indeed it's probably more on a par with Revolver. Which isn't saying a lot.