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Massawyrm rocks out to Guy Richie's ROCKNROLLA!!


Hola all. Massawyrm here. When Harry and I first sat down to watch this, he leaned over and we began to talk about the negative reviews we’d been hearing from early screenings. Then he said “Yeah, but all the complaints seem to be that he’s just going back and doing his old stuff over again. And that stuff is kind of why I liked him to begin with.” I simply nodded and agreed. If anything, my long disappointment with Guy Richie was that he’d stopped doing his old stuff. With the one two punch of marrying megastar royalty and the loss of Matthew Vaughn as a producing partner (who left to make his own brilliant Brit gangster/comedy Layer Cake) Richie’s career sank to the dreadfully mediocre (and overly slammed simply for the sake of doing so) Swept Away and then even lower with the simply dreadful Revolver. The idea of Richie coming back to deliver a true to his roots gangster comedy is a thought that simple tickled and delighted me. And Richie did not disappoint. RocknRolla is every bit as gritty, caustic and fun as his previous BGCs. While not as laugh out loud funny as the previous two, the film is equally as likable with a slew of great characters, some deliciously messed up situations and a through line you don’t see coming at all until the very end of the film. It’s not so much a twist as a slow realization that takes the film from simply being a random collection of cock-ups, snafus and double crosses into a carefully structured game of chess that only one person realizes is even being played. In fact, if this film has one overarching flaw, it is that in building to this absolutely killer ending, many might find themselves left behind by what feels like a completely random series of events and scenes meant only to mimic the kinds of sequences we saw in his previous films. But make no mistake, Richie is back at the top of his game, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is exactly the same filmmaker he was when he first exploded onto the scene almost a decade ago. This thing is sharp, with a wry, entertaining wit that doesn’t go for cheap jokes – just likable ones. It is a solid, thoroughly entertaining ride that gives fans of the previous two films (and the short lived television series) exactly what they came to see. That said, for those who feel like making another of these is simply Guy Richie repeating himself, they’re not wrong. Many of the same themes and archetypes are present – even down to the occasional specificity. There are low level goons who despite their character and street smarts make the occasional very stupid mistake. You’ve got a ruthless boss at the top of the food chain with a rather unique method of torture involving animals. And there are a slew of mid level characters caught up in the middle as pawns in a very large, confusing con job/robbery/power play. And while there are a few curveballs that differentiate this from his previous work, there aren’t nearly enough to dissuade those tired of this shtick from feeling like this is Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels 3: Still Smokin’. But Richie pulls in a fantastic cast that propels this soundly into the canon of his body of work. Tom Wilkenson is probably one of the most underrated actors working today – certainly getting the respect he deserves, but nowhere near the excitement every time he suits up for a new role. He kicks ass as the big boss in this film, proving to be a worthy adversary and a proper villain for our cast of lowlifes and miscreants. Gerard Butler does a great job of further separating himself from Leonidas and establishing himself as more than a six pack and a green screen. Here he plays the charming but ot-Nay oo-Tay ight-Bray member of the criminal gang inexplicably named The Wild Bunch. The only person mildly disappointing is Jeremy Piven who really isn’t given anything to do relative to his incredible talent. It’s one of those “We’re supposed to like him because he’s Jeremy Piven” roles as opposed to something you’d cast Piven in because it requires the manic energy he’s capable of summoning at will. He’s not bad or anything, just mildly miscast and underused. Overall, however I found the film to be a fantastic addition to Richie’s resume, something I’ll no doubt enjoy a couple more times and ultimately proof that he is not lost to us like so many had begun to believe. He’s still got it. Madonna didn’t steal it, nor was it all the influence of Matthew Vaughn. Guy Richie’s back. And I hope to god he stays at this for a while. Because frankly, I can’t get enough of these things. Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em. Massawyrm
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Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 29, 2008, 10:22 p.m. CST

    Massawyrm...

    by Nickn328

    Where would you rank this in his filmography?

  • Sept. 29, 2008, 10:23 p.m. CST

    Oh and first

    by Nickn328

    ...

  • Sept. 29, 2008, 10:47 p.m. CST

    I'm glad this is

    by comedian_x

    a return to form for Ritchie. I have no problem with him working within one genre forever -- as long as he does it well.

  • Sept. 29, 2008, 10:58 p.m. CST

    LOCK, STOCK & TWO REVOLVING SNATCHES!

    by Napolean Solo

    This film in a nutshell. More of the same, with less of a story.

  • Sept. 29, 2008, 11 p.m. CST

    Disagree

    by banville

    Well, not with the entire review because Tom Wilkinson is indeed awesome in it, but the rest is just boring. It's about half as good as his previous films, the humour falls flat and the violence is shot badly. Oh well, it'd be a weird world if we all agreed.

  • Sept. 29, 2008, 11:17 p.m. CST

    Snatch 2: Wet Again

    by Stereotypical Evil Archer

  • Sept. 30, 2008, 12:35 a.m. CST

    How does this guy get funding!!??

    by sns

    I dont get it! Most of the films today are the worst in the history of film....good god, somebody out there make a good one please!!!!

  • Sept. 30, 2008, 12:59 a.m. CST

    Gotta agree with Banville

    by Kuffs

  • Sept. 30, 2008, 1:04 a.m. CST

    by Kuffs

    The movie is unbearably dull. It takes a good hour for the film to really get going and by that time I simply didn't care. I can't believe I'm going to say this: but I almost prefer Revolver to RocknRolla. The key word in the previous sentence being almost.

  • Sept. 30, 2008, 1:54 a.m. CST

    Revolver made me hate Guy Ritchie

    by beetlegeuse

    If there's a twist at the end of your movie, it's supposed to be clever not fucking retarded. I want my two hours back!!

  • Sept. 30, 2008, 3:36 a.m. CST

    its not the same

    by thinboyslim.

    that's the problem, if it were like lock stock or snatch i would of been well happy but its a mere shadow of those films. for a cast of that caliber the character development was criminally thin. its great having lots of characters with individual story arcs but not if you spend only 2 minutes with them. and where the fuck was the money, how boring having people talk about millions of pounds but not show a single note throughout the entire film. just an average film coming from an increasingly average director.

  • Sept. 30, 2008, 7:10 a.m. CST

    what's with all this Vaughn love?

    by Spandau Belly

    I haven't seen his fairy tale movie, but I saw Layer Cake and it felt like a poorman's Guy Ritchie movie 5 years late. It was okay to watch once, but I couldn't believe people went all ga-ga for it like it was the new Long Good Friday or something.

  • Sept. 30, 2008, 9:29 a.m. CST

    spandau

    by greyspecter

    well, apart from making the best Bond movie ever, Vaughn made the best Brit gangster caper film ever, better than LSaTSMB or Snatch. Why? Cause Layer Cake bore some semblance to reality, with 1 or 2 coincidences instead of 50. Cause Layer Cake had Craig lighting up the screen. Cause Layer Cake's ending was spectacular, and something Ritchie would never have the balls to do. Cause Vaughn relied on Brits to fill the cast instead of getting a few big name Yanks to help sell it (or Sting). just a few reasons.

  • Sept. 30, 2008, 10:49 a.m. CST

    greyspecter, Vaughn made a Bond movie?

    by Spandau Belly

    Do you mean James Bond? Because I'm looking at his IMDB page and it doesn't mention which Bond movie he worked on and in what role.<br><br> As for Layer Cake being realisitc, come on! There's no way Craig's character could see that many moves ahead and all those angles. Where did he get all his intel? For a low level drug dealer he knew more than Batman.<br><br>And this Vaughn guy did in fact work on Swept Away. All these articles keep talking about how Ritchie sunk once Vaughn left him, but I thought Swept Away was what sunk Ritchie. Maybe IMDB is wrong or something, or maybe I need to see this dude's fairy tale movie to get what all the fuss is about.

  • Sept. 30, 2008, 11:02 p.m. CST

    "vaughn's fairy tale movie" and Revolver

    by necgray

    First of all, the fairy tale movie was Stardust. An adaptation of a great Neil Gaiman novel. I liked the movie, but didn't think it accurately retained the charm of the book. <p>Second, I thought Revolver actually had enormous potential, but failed due to Ritchie devolving into his old ways. I really LIKED the idea of showing how macho gangster types are in actuality slaves to their own puffed-up egos. That aspect of the story fascinated me. It was all the actual gangster bullshit that made me yawn. And not because I dislike Ritchie gangster scenes, but because it seemed like they were included because he HAD to include them.