Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Long-time friends Bacon, Eddy, Tom, and Soap put together £100,000 so that Eddy, a genius card sharp, can buy into one of Harry “The Hatchet” Lonsdale’s weekly high-stakes three card brag games. Harry learns about Eddy from his trusted bodyguard Barry “the Baptist”, and rigs the game so that Eddy loses not only his £100,000 buy-in, but an additional £400,000 that Harry bullied him into borrowing to play out the biggest pot of the night. Harry demands repayment within a week, and pulls Eddy’s father’s bar into the deal as an alternative.

After several days with no luck acquiring the funds, Eddy returns home and overhears his neighbours, a gang of thieves led by a man named Dog, planning a heist on some marijuana growers supposedly loaded with cash and drugs. Eddy relays this information to the group, intending for them to rob the neighbours as they come back from their heist. They install taping equipment to monitor the neighbours, and Tom acquires a pair of antique shotguns from a black market dealer, known as Nick “the Greek”, who also strikes a deal with Rory Breaker, a sociopathic gangster, to buy the stolen drugs. Nick had purchased the guns from a pair of bungling small-time criminals, Gary and Dean, who had stolen them from a bankrupt lord as part of a job for Harry, not realizing that of the entire stolen firearms collection, his only desire was the two antique shotguns. After learning the guns had been sold, an enraged Barry threatens the two into getting them back.

The neighbours’ heist gets under way; despite a gang member being killed by his own Bren Gun, and an incriminating encounter with a traffic warden, the job is a success. On returning to their flat, the gang is ambushed by the four friends, who take the loot and return later that night to stash the goods next door, before celebrating with a wild night of drinking. Rory discovers that the drugs he was going to purchase were stolen from him, as the marijuana growers were in his employ. Rory interrogates Nick into revealing where the four friends live, and enlists one of the chemists, Winston, to identify the robbers. Meanwhile, furious about their loss, Dog throws one of his men through the wall of their flat and discovers the taping equipment and eventually the stolen goods. While he counts the money, his men prepare an ambush. Gary and Dean, trying to recover the antique shotguns, call Nick, who directs them to the same address, while Big Chris, Harry’s debt collector, departs with his son to the same destination as the four friends drive home from the bar.

Rory and his gang assault the flat and have a shootout with the neighbours, resulting in the deaths of all but Dog and Winston, the latter taking off with the marijuana. Dog is mugged by Big Chris of the shotguns and money during his escape; Gary and Dean spot Big Chris with the guns and hastily follow him, while the four friends return to find their loot missing. Big Chris gives the guns and cash to Harry, but on his return to the car he finds Dog threatening to kill his son if he doesn’t retrieve the loot. Desperate to get the guns, Gary and Dean attack Harry and Barry at their office, not knowing what Harry looks like and not noticing Barry until after he retaliates. Within seconds all four men are dead. The four friends arrive, find everyone dead, and take the cash back. Big Chris suddenly crashes into their car to disable Dog, then brutally bludgeons him to death with his car door. He takes the debt money back from the unconscious friends but allows Tom to leave with the antique shotguns.

The friends are arrested, but declared innocent after the traffic warden identified Dog’s dead gang as the prime suspects. The four reunite at Eddy’s father’s bar and decide that Tom should dispose of the shotguns, which are the only remaining evidence linking them to the crimes. After Tom leaves, Big Chris arrives and tells them he is keeping the debt money for himself and his son, but gives them an antique guns catalogue which reveals that the shotguns are each worth a fortune. They quickly call Tom, and the film ends with Tom’s mobile phone ringing as he hangs over the side of a bridge, preparing to drop the shotguns into the River Thames.

REVIEW:

Since I am such a huge Jason Statham fan, everyone assumes that I’ve seen Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, which is the film that brought him to everyone’s attention, but until today, I hadn’t. I’ve been wondering what the big deal about this film is and, to be honest with you, I’m still wondering.

What is this about?

Hoping to make a bundle in a high-stakes poker game, four shiftless lads from London’s East End instead find themselves swimming in debt to underworld porn king “Hatchet” Harry — and with only a week to repay him.

What did I like?

Get real. Have you ever watched a film about a group of friends and felt that they barely know each other? Well, this is the opposite of that. The guys are almost as close-knit a group as the group we see in every ViewAskew flick or Simon Pegg and his boys. I really bought the friendship between these guys and felt that they would do anything for each other. The only way this film works is if they are believable, and that they are.

Interweave. Lately is seems as if films have been using multiple story arcs for the sole purpose of using them. They need to go back and watch pictures like this, Pulp Fiction, and the like. Each arc is given the time to develop and relates to the big picture, which is something that should be applauded, especially since they all come together at the end.

Walls. Living in an apartment that has rather thin walls (the lady next door has is watching the game right now, if I’m hearing right), I can relate to the living situation that these guys were in, although mine is nowhere near that bad. At any rate, everytime it was brought up how thin the walls were I got a chuckle and thought back to my college dorm days where the walls were nearly see through, they were so thin. This is another aspect of real life that isn’t really shown on film, except for in exaggerations, and I was really loving the decision to portray it in a non-negative light.

What didn’t I like?

No cops. How is it possible that the police have little to no knowledge of these capers that are going on. I didn’t quite understand that, or perhaps I was just expecting them to actually show up and ruin everything, but there wasn’t a cop in sight throughout most, if not all, of the picture.

Woman’s touch. There is one woman in this film, she is a minor character who spends most of her time stoned out of her mind. Am I saying this film needed more females, no. However, the fact that they used her to pick up a dropped gun and wipe out a bunch of lowlifes and then is killed herself, just made her seem even less of a factor than she was and that they brought her in for the sake of having a female on the cast list.

Accents. In most of the reviews I’ve read, a common complaint is how thick the accents are, which they really are quite intense. They are so thick, that in one scene subtitles have to be used. I think the subtitles were done for comedic effect, but the accents were probably exaggerated, much like southern accents are in cartoons and comedies. If it was for comedic effect, then I commend their handle on comedy, but if it wasn’t, they should’ve backed off a little for us non-Cockney speakers.

Here’s a random fact about Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Sting, who appears as one of the guys’ father, is or was married to one of the producers. Seeing him is actually something of a highlight of the film, but without him, I believe this film stands on its own. Unfortunately, I think that by this time next week I will have forgotten about this film, save for the fact it is part of Jason Statham, and to a lesser extent, Vinnie Jones’ resume. Do I recommend it? Yes, especially if you’re into gritty, realistic action comedies. If that sounds like your cup of tea, then give it a shot!

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

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