Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels


I hardly know where to start in singing the praises of this blood-soaked but hilarious British crime comedy. A promising first feature from writer/director Guy Ritchie, it’s a non-stop joy from start to finish.

Of course it owes a huge debt to both Pulp Fiction and Trainspotting, but it doesn’t try to hide it, and even goes out of its way to give the audience a wink about it. The influences don’t even stop there, as Ritchie even tips his hat to Benny Hill, The Ladykillers and Damon Runyon now and then. But just forget the comparisons and enjoy a rowdy tale well told.

Four young London rascals decide to put aside petty crime and toil in favor of trying for a bigger score by bankrolling their most gifted card player in the local high-stakes poker game. What our dullard heroes don’t recognize is the fact that the game is quite obviously fixed, and not only do they lose their stake, but they end up half a million pounds in debt to local mobster and porn king Harry the Hatchet Lonsdale (P. H. Moriarty), with only a short time to pay up before they start losing appendages.

In order to pay the debt, the boys come up with a plan to rob a gang in the act of robbing the local ganja production facility, little realizing that their fence and the ultimate victim are one and the same. Meanwhile, Harry has his eye on twin antique shotguns that he’d like to add to his collection without all the bother of participating in their auction, and so a pair of nitwit stooges are sent to make off with them. Of course, with coincidence ruling the plot, our protagonists find themselves unwittingly buying the priceless firearms to use in their caper, complaining all the while about paying 750 for the pair.

All this is just the beginning, and the ensuing mix-ups and mayhem all go down easy with a thick greasy coating of cockney colloquialism, charm and slapstick wet-work.

Note: Accents are so thick you may require subtitles.

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