Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1999) - Locked 'N Loaded Director's Cut
|Genre(s): Adventure / Comedy --> Dark / Crime / Drama / Fantasy / Foreign|
|Focus Features || NR - 120 minutes - $19.98 || October 10, 2006|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2006-10-11|
Writer(s): Guy Ritchie (written by)
Cast: Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Moran, Jason Statham, Steven Mackintosh, Vinnie Jones, Sting
Theatrical Release Date: March 5, 1999
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Plot (from DVD back cover): Streetwise charmer Eddie (Moran) enters the biggest card game of his life with the savings of his three best friends: Tom (Flemyng), Bacon (Statham) and Soap (Fletcher). But he leaves the table owing underworld boss Hatchet Harry (P.H. Moriarty) half a million and has a week to come up with the money. Now Eddie and his friends must outsmart and outgun all types of lowlifes on their way to pay off Harry before time runs out.
A mix between Pulp Fiction and Rounders, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels has that obvious “cool” factor going for it, and even though when something tries to be cool (and in turn become obnoxious), I found this movie to be funny and entertaining.
This is the “unrated director’s cut” but since this was my first viewing, I couldn’t tell you what’s new and if it actually adds any value to the film. Doing some reading on The Internet Movie Database, seems the only extra material (about 13 minutes) it consists of is an explanation of the 3 Card Brag game, a few extra tid bits and some extended dialogue. As a first time viewer, and one that doesn’t follow the British dialect and cultural differences, it was a plus to include the card game rules. According to IMDb, the director’s cut the Brits got had a 126-minute runtime, so I don’t know what else was missing (though given this DVD, I’m not surprised).
Now, talking just about the movie itself, I might not have been enamored with it and plot elements were so mapped out well in advance, that normally it would seem silly, but like one of those American Pie movies where you know something gnarly will happen to Stifler, the actual scene is still funny. I know it’s blasphemy to some to compare American Pie with Two Smoking Barrels, the set-up none the less is still quite funny and impressive to watch.
Stylistically, writer-director Guy Ritchie’s vision is gritty yet the mood is still light (though that gritty nature might more be due to the limited budget), but still unique in a sea of directors. However, it seems Lock Stock has been Ritchie’s only positive accomplishment (and yeah, I wasn’t wild about Snatch).
I could not conclude without mentioning seeing two of my favorite actors on the same screen together: Jason Statham and Vinnie Jones. Although they only share one scene together, it’d be quite interesting to see the two duke it out in a climatic fight scene.
If you have yet seen Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, it’d be tough to see it as the cult fave it’s become over the past 8 years. Yeah, several moments are very funny, ironic and just “cool”, but I’m not sure if I think it’s all that special (if trying to make the comparison to Pulp Fiction).
Before looking online, I felt the features presented on this disc, while limited, were at least average. But then I checked out the “Shotgun Special Edition” region 2 received, they not only got these but another nearly hour long making-of feature. Why was this not included? Also, why no commentary from at least half of this cast? Perhaps Statham is too busy, but surely they could’ve gotten Flemyng or the others...
One Smoking Gun (11:00) - This takes a close look at various elements in Two Smoking Barrels, specifically the slow motion scenes (Statham running down the stairs, machine gun toting Gloria). They were filmed at a faster rate and then they could speed up or slow down certain sections if need be. Pretty much a useless featurette that goes well with the other missing features.
Lock, Stock and Two F**cking Barrels (1:55) - Takes us through the entire film’s 30+ f-bombs and other violent moments. If the previous features was useless, this was even more so...
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen, 1.85 aspect ratio and, even to this casual observer, looks pretty damn awful. There are plenty of scratches and dust throughout that are especially noticeable during the title sequences. I’m more than surprised that even a show less than a decade old could look so poor or didn’t receive better restoration.
On the more positive front, the Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix is at least serviceable. Ambient noises come through the side speakers while the main dialogue utilizes the center speaker. It’s not a powerful track, but still is good overall.
Even though I can’t see this as a cult classic like most, I still found Two Smoking Barrels to be a fun movie with great performances and a well orchestrated plot. If you already own the previous release, you can probably skip this (if you don’t, you can grab that version for $10 or less), though if you have a region-free DVD player, it seems to be worth paying a little extra for the region 2 release (I wouldn’t doubt, however, if Universal tried to re-release this again with the real extras).