RocknRolla


Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Written by:Guy Ritchie
Starring: Gerard Butler, Thandie Newton, Ludacris, Jeremy Piven, Tom Wilkinson, Mark Strong, Karel Roden, Tom Hardy, Toby Kebbell
Released: October 30, 2008
Grade: C+

The film Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels was released 10 years ago but many people will remember it if you asked them.  It started a wave of similar movies which I can best describe as “English gangster comedies”.  Director Guy Ritchie followed up his Lock, Stock success with Snatch in 2000.  I didn’t think it was as good but it was still worth a look.

Now, in 2008, Guy Ritchie is re-entering this genre for the third time.  The film is called RocknRolla.  I’ll be upfront and say that I was disappointed.  The storyline is confusing and there is an abundance of boring characters.  It just wasn’t good enough.

As I just mentioned, there are a lot of people in this film so let me do my best to provide my usual plot overview.  Lenny Cole (Wilkinson) rules London’s criminal underworld.  If you need something done, Lenny is your man.  He has been approached by a Russian (Roden) for his assistance in fast-tracking a major property redevelopment.  Lenny’s fee is 7 million euros and once he’s finished bribing the city’s councillors, there’ll be plenty of money left for him.

It won’t be that easy however.  Uri’s accountant, Stella (Newton), is one of the few people aware of this illegal deal.  She knows where and when the money will be exchanged and that security will be minimal.  Not content with her salary, she decides that she wants the money for herself.  She organises a robbery with the help of some hired goons.

As all this goes on, a “lucky” painting is stolen from Lenny’s office.  His right-hand man, Archie (Strong), is charged with the responsibility of finding out who took it.  All the evidence points to Lenny’s son, Johnny Quid (Kebbell), a drug-addicted musician who likes to fake his own death.  Yes, he is a strange one.

If you need proof that there are too many people in this flick, I’ll use actors Jeremy Piven (Entourage) and Ludacris (Crash) as an example.  These are the only high-profile Americans in the film and I have a strong inkling that they’ve been brought in to help the film’s marketability in the United States.  They play Johnny Quid’s music managers but I have to ask the question, what is the point?  They only appear in a handful of scenes and they contribute very little to the overall plot.

Misgivings aside, there are a few scenes which will get some laughs from the audience.  There’s a humorous subplot involving two of the men that Stella has hired for the robbery – One Two (Butler) and Handsome Bob (Hardy).  Unfortunately, these highlights are limited.  RocknRolla is a lacklustre affair that will never be remembered as fondly as Lock, Stock… or a great number of other films for that matter.