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Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
"Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels" tells of the comedic pandemonium that ensues after a local card shark gets cheated out of his money and winds up indebted to the nefarious 'Hatchet' Harry for the sum of a half million pound. He and his buddies scheme ways to account for the hefty debt due in a swift five days, deciding to rob some robbers who already nailed a job. Adding to the chaos is the quest for the possession of two invaluable antique muskets worth several million pound a piece. One by one, a series of unfortunate events will bring all together; money, men, and muskets, with few left standing.
The cast includes: Nick Moran, Dexter Fletcher, Jason Statham, and Sting.
Written and directed by: Guy Ritchie.
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime, Thriller.
Rated: R for strong violence, pervasive language, sexuality, and drug content.
Tagline: May the mayhem invoke justice…
Eddie (Nick Moran) is a skilled card shark born to play cards. Together he and his buddy Bacon (Jason Statham) swindle local Londoners by selling stolen goods at an inflated price. But the two decide that their black market job isn't helping them find their way to fortune quite fast enough and so Eddie and Bacon unite with local chef Soap (Dexter Fletcher) and 'Fat' Tom (Jason Flemyng). Together the four split the necessary 100,000 pounds necessary to enter into a notorious poker game lead by the nefarious 'Hatchet' Harry; the villainous con-man and porn-shop owner.
Prepared to rake in the dough at the night's upcoming card match, Eddie and the boys celebrate at Eddie's father, J.D.'s (Sting) beloved pub. Meanwhile Harry assigns his right hand man Baptist Barry (Lenny McLean) to employ two robbers to heist an estate, retrieving two invaluable antique muskets in the process.
Preparing Harry for the worst, the Baptist leaks word of Eddie's card skills and so Harry plans to rig the game so as to ensure Eddie will owe a large sum of money. All goes well for the first few rounds until the brash Eddie neglects to recognize that he is being shafted and suddenly finds himself indebted to Harry for the sum of half a million pound. Returning home, he tells his boys of the night's tragic end and together they scheme a way to acquiesce the immense amount of doe within the week deadline. Meanwhile the robbery goes off without a hitch; that is, until the robbers decide to sale the muskets for some doe to Tom's close business colleague, Nick the Greek.
When Eddie and the boys overhear their next door neighbors scheming to heist a local underground pot operation which is currently bringing in the doe under the direction of a man by the name of Winston (Steven Mackintosh) they believe the answer to their predicament has been found. Deducing to 'rob the robbers'; Eddie and the guys begin to spy on their neighbor’s nefarious scheme so as to attain the details of the job. Needing some artillery for defense, Tom turns to Nick in search of some weaponry. But all Nick can offer are these two ‘useless antique’ guns which he will offer up for the price of 700 quid for the pair. Sold. Tom heads back to the headquarters ready for action. Easily enough the first set of criminals get away with the copious amount of green, both bill and plant, just as easily as Eddie and the gang rob the fortune from unsuspected robbers.
Believing their luck to have changed Eddie, Tom, Soap, and Bacon count up the doe and celebrate. Back at Harry's office, the porn king is sweating bullets that his guns have gone missing and can’t be retrieved. Adding to the dilemma is a very angry underground ring leader upset that his fortune was just stolen from men who attempted to ignorantly resell it back to him via the middleman, Nick. As Eddie's next door neighbor tries to hunt down the men who heisted their heist, and Nick's intimidating employer goes in search of who he believes to have stolen his profits, what ensues is a massive mayhem of the wrong men and deadly bullets flying about Eddie's apartment. When Eddie's neighbor tries to flee the scene with the doe, he encounters Harry's employee, Big Chris (Vinnie Jones) who immediately seizes the money and guns and returns the goods to Harry. Ironically enough, with all of 'enemies' dead, it seems as if Eddie, Tom, Bacon, and Soap are scot-free of their debt. But Harry is very interested as to how the boy's encountered the guns in the first place and arranges for the four to meet him in his office ASAP.
But prior to their arrival, the Baptist's robbers have returned to claim the guns, thinking they will steal them and give them to the impressive 'Harry'. Not knowing what he looks like, the robbers set fire on the very man they are suppose to complete the job for in the first place. As yet another needless round of bullets flies into the chests of clumsy criminals, Eddie and the boys arrive in time to retrieve the loot and the guns. But a quick car crash involving Big Chris results in his reclaiming the bag, which he will return days later, empty, save for, ironically, a precarious book containing an estimation for the worth of the two 'worthless' muskets Eddie, Bacon, and Soap just sent Tom to dispose of... !
"Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels" is a sensational import from British director Guy Ritchie. A fresh breathe of air compared to the stalemate plethora of much of Hollywood’s blockbuster crap, Ritchie's film is as brilliantly directed as it is sharp in dialogue and acting. Witty one-liners flippantly flood the screen in nonchalant indifference from the mouths of these native British actors; leaving audiences gasping for air while still trying to muffle their coughs so as to hear actor's next punch line, such as, "It's been emotional".
The strength of the film lay in the use of the repetition of the uncanny in which the tragic, yet comedic irony of Murphy's Law surfaces repeatedly in the pandemonium of this perfectly harmonious plotline. The discordance arises in the mayhem, which is repeatedly brought into harmony by the fluid unfolding of a comprehensive yet succinct plotline. Moreover, the dry humor, the cinematography, the direction, the acting, all is remarkable in its vivid uniqueness and its impressive rendition of something new and powerfully memorable.
"Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels" is a unique gift to the film industry that allows the 'craft', the artistry of filmmaking to finally produce a successfully contrived vision of a story. From the crafty poker and bar shots, to the unique camera direction, the film is all at once dissonant and unified, harmonious and discordant, etc. This film noir-ish depiction of a crime film is at the same time a comedy, an action thriller, and a cult film. It is everything a good film should be and contains all the fine elements a classic should contain: good acting, great script, unique vision, solid portrayal of the vision. In short, "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels" is witty, catchy, unique, refreshing, and down right brilliant.
Nick Moran plays Eddie, the man with the fast hands and a just as fast mouth that lands he and his buddies in a load of trouble with the nefarious Hatchet Harry.
Dexter Fletcher plays Soap, the moral man with clean hands and a clean life, that is, until the latest snafu with Hatchet Harry places him in a precarious situation.
Jason Statham plays Bacon, the cheeky bloke with a knack for fast words and fast sells.
Jason Flemyng plays 'Fat' Tom, the survivor; the middle man with the resources to haggle his way into and out of any underground market transaction.
Steven Mackintosh plays Winston, the leader of the underground ganja manufacturing operation.
P.H. Moriarty plays 'Hatchet' Harry Lonsdale, porno shop owner by day, card swindling gambler and nefarious villain by night.
Lenny McLean plays Barry the Baptist, Harry's right hand man.
Vinnie Jones plays Big Chris, the man who bullies Harry's debtors into paying up.
Sting plays J.D., owner of one of London's coveted pubs and disgruntled father to Eddie.
Stephen Marcus plays Nick the Greek, the middle-man of the underground market.