Okay, there's Tom Wilkinson, and he's the big dog. There's Gerard Butler and Idris Elba, who are crooks for hire. There's some dude named Johnny Quid who plays rock 'n roll. Thandie Newton is...... Nevermind. You know SNATCH and LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS? Well, replace the muskets from LOCK, STOCK and the diamond from SNATCH with a painting. That's ROCKNROLLA. It's a simplistic description of the story, but honestly are there really that many differences between LOCK, STOCK and SNATCH in terms of plot devices, characters, names, the endings, etc.? ROCKNROLLA, for better or worse, is no less SNATCH than SNATCH is LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS. The plot is convoluted, like the other two. There's a bunch of people- some mean, some dull, some funny in their ineptitude, and some that are just pure and simple "rock n' roll"- who are all, in one way or another, affected through their presence in the presence of a stolen painting or by association with someone that was affected through their presence in the presence of a stolen painting. Ultimately, Wilkinson is the boss of the criminal underground of London and has found himself in a predicament where a painting that was loaned to him, as a show of good faith in a business deal by a real honcho, needs to be returned. The only problem is that the painting was stolen from his house, and the only person that could have taken it is his estranged, presumably dead rock 'n roller son Johnny Quid. So, how does one find a dead man? The stories in Guy Richie's films are hardly the highlights. Yeah, they're complex and the fact that everything comes together in the end is impressive, but like (and I hate to make this comparison) the Coen Brothers films it's the clashing of the different character personalities that makes for entertainment, and on that level the film succeeds. However, unlike SNATCH and LOCK, STOCK (to a degree) something seems to be missing. A friend of mine called ROCKNROLLA Diet Coke to SNATCH's Coke. I'll go with that. The label still says Coke, it still fizzles, but something has definitely been replaced in the recipe. That being said, I'd much rather have diet than flat soda. I think the difference maker is that SNATCH, all around, is just a much funnier picture. It's more playful than ROCKNROLLA which only gets playful whenever Gerard Butler and his gang are on screen, and that isn't often enough. Butler, Elba, and Tom Hardy as the characters One Two, Mumbles, and Handsome Bob are arguably the best part of the film. Wilkinson is great as the extremely cruel Lenny Cole, but at its core ROCKNROLLA wants to be a fun movie and if Butler, Elba, and Hardy are not in the scene then the movie is not fun, period. It isn't bad, it just isn't fun. But, when those three are on screen it's classic Guy Ritchie. I'm hesitant to call ROCKNROLLA a return to form. It isn't really a return to "form" as much as it is just a return to what Guy Ritchie has shown to do best. It's akin to watching a star running back come back from a devastating leg injury. They can still run, and run well, but they aren't quite comfortable enough putting pressure on that leg to make those same cuts and dashes to break the big plays. His game is still productive, but it doesn't exactly have that same explosive burst that would have turned the 10 yard gains in ROCKNROLLA into the 30 yard gains he had in SNATCH and LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS. Thanks, The Beef
Oct. 1, 2008, 9:05 a.m. CST
Oct. 1, 2008, 9:11 a.m. CST
But I do know what this reviewed needed was more labored sports metaphors.
Oct. 1, 2008, 9:11 a.m. CST
Oct. 1, 2008, 9:17 a.m. CST
by the beef
he called it diet coke. I just agreed.
Oct. 1, 2008, 9:23 a.m. CST
IMO Rocknrolla is a different kind of drink to Snatch/LockStock, it lays off the more comic tone especially of Snatch. I've seen the film twice and I really liked it. Sure it is the same kinda Guy Richie story, but it's a more mature, assured film. I really don't think it lagged without the wild bunch (Butler and co), pretty much the whole cast bought something to this film. Mark Strong for one was amazing as Archy, Wilkinson's right hand man and narrative voice of the picture. Tony Kebbel as well was very good as Johnny Quid (see Shane Meadow's Dead Man Shoes for another amazing and polar opposite performance from him.) Before the credits theres also a promise of a return of the main characters in 'The Real RockNRolla', bring it on! Oh and the soundtrack kicks all kinds of ass. Recommended
Oct. 1, 2008, 9:24 a.m. CST
Lock Stock was an exercise in style, whereas Snatch was a genuinely funny and engaging film.<p> The view from here in the UK, where Rocknrolla has been out for several weeks, is that Rocknrolla is a rehash and not in a good way.<P> When people say it's a return to form for Ritchie, they mean that it doesn't outright suck balls like his last two films did. It certainly ain't a patch on Snatch.
Oct. 1, 2008, 9:34 a.m. CST
by the beef
That's why I made most comparisons to SNATCH, but I know a good number of people that have seen both SNATCH and LSTATSM, and prefer LOCK STOCK. I really don't think ROCKNROLLA is all that different tonally than the other two films. There are scenes that don't involve Butler or his crew that are meant for laughs, but they just don't hit like the humor scenes from SNATCH.
Oct. 1, 2008, 9:34 a.m. CST
Not from where I can see down in Kent. Everyone I've spoken to has loved it, and I work at a cinema! Plus the country's 2 major film publications seem to disagree about the bad rehash.
Oct. 1, 2008, 9:43 a.m. CST
by the beef
Actually, it's a sports simile. I said akin, which is like saying like. So, here you go. 1) Watching ROCKNROLLA is like watching a pitcher come back from shoulder surgery. You can tell that he wants to throw hard, but he's afraid of delivering the heat. 2) Wilkinson is awesome, he's like watching Bobby Knight roam the sidelines. 3) Johnny Quid's strategy is like the Ali rope-a-dope. He plays dead so that he can sucker them in and land a thunderous right cross. I don't know if I've got anymore.
Oct. 1, 2008, 9:45 a.m. CST
SNATCH fucking rocked and LOCK, STOCK, AND TWO SMOKING BARRELLS was a big surprise when I saw it. That said, here's to hoping it doesn't suck up the joint like REVOLVER.
Oct. 1, 2008, 9:57 a.m. CST
but I just can't seem to get it up for this.How much more of this stuff is Ritchie gonna keep knocking out?I can see his Sherlock Holmes going belly up pretty swiftly..and then he'llbe back with another mockney gangsters vs wideboys scenario.
Oct. 1, 2008, 10:14 a.m. CST
what the hell does it even mean? Did Coke pay for an ad?
Oct. 1, 2008, 10:25 a.m. CST
by dirty john
did I just date myself?
Oct. 1, 2008, 10:33 a.m. CST
it means it will outsell the original and be seen as a bigger, farther reaching product?
Oct. 1, 2008, 10:55 a.m. CST
Please do not write another.
Oct. 1, 2008, 11:04 a.m. CST
you'll be ok with rocknrolla. it's not a great film, but enjoyable on some level. <p> not the mess that revolver is.
Oct. 1, 2008, 11:17 a.m. CST
much preffered it to both Luck Stuck and Snitch!<P>Better pace, less W"hiz Bang Poppery and Toby Kebbil is ace! AND it has Crayfish Torture! I disagree with your rather fleeting panning of this!<P>Me thinks Mr Ritchie is on top titty again and almost as good as his old producer Layer Cake bloke.
Oct. 1, 2008, 11:30 a.m. CST
I've seen all three and I've got a long, sweaty love affair for Snatch (mostly due to the incredible soundtrack for that movie), but I really do have to say that Rocknrolla was a good match to his previous films. While stylistically similar to the previous two films, in many ways it falls between them in terms of pacing and characters. The pacing is slower than Snatch and the characters less over-the-top caricatures.
Oct. 1, 2008, 11:31 a.m. CST
No chance. LOCK, STOCK is the superior film. I love it.
Oct. 1, 2008, 11:58 a.m. CST
enjoyed em both...but do i wanna see a bunch of films JUST like them over and over...NO, so Rock'n Rolla might seem stale while im watching it.
Oct. 1, 2008, 12:05 p.m. CST
Layer Cake would use Snatch and Lock Stock to wipe its ass if it had the ability to do so. Far superior than all of these films.
Oct. 1, 2008, 12:30 p.m. CST
was seriously lacking... I'll look elsewhere.
Oct. 1, 2008, 12:47 p.m. CST
by The Rabbit Of Carrot Shaped Doom
I rather enjoyed both SNATCH and LOCK, STOCK... and I believed this movie would lie somewhere in between. This review suggests that I'm correct here.<p>It's a British crime caper, and that is why I'm going to see it. I know it will be enjoyable and look forward to catching it soon.
Oct. 1, 2008, 12:52 p.m. CST
you live in Kent and everyone loves it? That's hardly surprising, seeing as the favourite pasttimes in Kent are standing in line at the unemployment office and beating up asylum seekers.<p>
Oct. 1, 2008, 1:01 p.m. CST
i agree...i enjoyed Snatch and Lock Stock but upon repeat viewings they tend to seem the same...whether it be the jokes, the twists, the villains. Layer Cake did a great job and used a similar formula but added a bit more seriousness to it all...the humor is there its just not as goofy as Snatch and Lock Stock.
Oct. 1, 2008, 1:15 p.m. CST
Not even close to Lock, Stock and Snatch. Neither of which are really that good. Fun, throwaway fare at best. http://criticalmassreviews.blogspot.com/2008/09/rocknrolla-2008-guy-ritchie.html
Oct. 1, 2008, 2:34 p.m. CST
Oct. 1, 2008, 2:54 p.m. CST
by Lang The Cat
There was a role for Simon Pegg as a Traffic Warden who gets beaten up?
Oct. 1, 2008, 3:08 p.m. CST
Sizzle my tongue...
Oct. 1, 2008, 3:32 p.m. CST
Maybe one time too many dipping from the same well?<p>I'm more curious about the Holmes film, because it would be something different.
Oct. 1, 2008, 4:49 p.m. CST
Tastes just like regular Dr Pepper, just no sugar rush...
Oct. 1, 2008, 6:05 p.m. CST
by Bungion Boy
I've thoroughly enjoyed your coverage and reviews of Fantastic Fest. We saw a lot of the same things and I find I'm generally inclined to agree with you. Hope to see you more on the site.
Oct. 1, 2008, 6:11 p.m. CST
Snatch was better than Lock, Stock - because nothing was obligatory. Lock Stock was serving a template too rigidly to be fun for me, whereas Snatch was loaded with surprises, largely owing to the fact that the people getting possession of the diamond had no business in that kind of criminal activity. Everyone was surprised to find each other winding up in the mess, and that made it kind of wonderful. In Lock, Stock, it felt more like an exercise.
Oct. 1, 2008, 6:14 p.m. CST
for being present in the talkbacks. For me, the review was helpful.
Oct. 1, 2008, 6:17 p.m. CST
by the beef
Thanks, I wish I'd met you at the festival. I noticed on your Fantastic Fest writeup earlier that you were co-producer on I THINK WE'RE ALONE NOW. Well-fuckin-done. I caught that film on FFonline before the fest started so that I could see more films throughout the week. I didn't submit a review for it because I saw it prior to my submitting stuff to aicn, but I THINK WE'RE ALONE NOW was one of the top 5 films I watched, possibly top 3. Any word on distribution, because that's a doc I'd love to show some friends of mine who didn't get the chance to see it?
Oct. 1, 2008, 7:26 p.m. CST
by Nate Champion
Snatch & Lock Stock were stupid but at least they weren't boring...
Oct. 1, 2008, 8:52 p.m. CST
and seriously. Snatch and Lock Stock aren't all that great. Lock Stock is still the better of the two. But both are so boring. I was obsessed with those movies when I was like 13......the average age of the diehard Ritchie fan.
Oct. 1, 2008, 10:25 p.m. CST
Will probably be a fun movie for a night in with a six pack, but that's about it. Liked LS and Snatch but Ritchie's true test will be Sherlock which scares the shit out of me. Holmes is probably my favorite fictional character of all time. The casting I'm okay with, but nothing Ritchie has done has shown he is capable of making a brilliantly awesome Holmes movie...his style just doesn't seem to fit. I hope I am wrong and do thank God he is directing as opposed to say Brett Ratner or his ilk. Great review BTW.
Oct. 1, 2008, 10:27 p.m. CST
is suck supercock at fillimmaking!
Oct. 1, 2008, 10:34 p.m. CST
Nobody really thinks that those movies are masterworks do they? Fun movies yes, worth rewatching from time to time, but in the end they are throwaway lightweight crime comedies. I really can't see anyone being a "diehard Ritchie fan" based on two comedy/capers...am I wrong?
Oct. 1, 2008, 11:08 p.m. CST
by the beef
No, I don't think anyone considers them Masterworks, but I think they succeed in being exactly what they wanna be. Snatch more so than Lock Stock (in my opinion), and Lock Stock more so than Rocknrolla. I'd say that they're no more or less "masterworks" than the Ocean's films. I think they're by-products of Tarantino and Melville seen through the eyes of someone with A.D.D., which I think is actually pretty damn fun. But, no you're not wrong. I don't think the world would miss Snatch or Lock Stock if they went away, or Rocknrolla for that matter, but that's not to say I'm not happy they're here. Also, Ritchie at the helm of Holmes is pretty damn intriguing. I don't think he's going to try and bring that same visual energy he's brought with these 3 films, and the few slower moments in all 3 films work just fine, so I'm keeping a positive outlook. I will say that it's going to be the film that'll define whether or not he's capable of more than just caper comedies, because with Downey Jr. in the lead he'll have no excuses like he did with Swept Away.
Oct. 1, 2008, 11:23 p.m. CST
by the beef
Thanks. And I agree with you about Snatch and Lock Stock. Although, I do find it extremely interesting that there are just as many people that like Lock Stock more than the other two, and even some of the people that have seen Rocknrolla prefer IT over the other two. There doesn't seem to be a clearcut favorite. So, even though Ritchie seems to be reusing the same ideas, and style, he's at least doing it well enough each time that it's harder for people en masse to distinguish which of the 3 is the better.
Oct. 2, 2008, midnight CST
by Bungion Boy
I will pass your words on to the director, Sean Donnelly. We were very pleased with the reactions to the film at the festival. Really glad that it was shown online to reach as many people as possible. Sean is still taking it many festivals. It's playing one in San Francisco this weekend and I think he told me it just got into a festival in Turkey. As for distribution, there is currently no US deal but it is being shown on tv and at a few theatres in Canada. There has been talks of releasing it on itunes in the US but Sean is still looking for a theatrical run. I'm glad you enjoyed the film and hope that you and anyone else will be able to see it again soon.
Oct. 2, 2008, 1:51 a.m. CST
And C2? And Caffeine-Free Diet Coke? And that one with the extra vitamins? Or what about the one sweetened with Splenda? Your cola comparisons leave much to be desired. Please stop living.
Oct. 2, 2008, 4:55 a.m. CST
(pardon the soft-drink based pun...I mean the band!), he's just churning out soulless watered down repeats of his fresh & exciting debut. He's a one trick pony. And it's not even a great trick.
Oct. 2, 2008, 6:38 a.m. CST
Nice one dude, your really really cool. No need for that kind of shitty remark. I was just offering up an alternate view point, and how I don't feel the films been badly received. What kind of actual prick says shit like that on a film talkback when unprovoked? Welcome to aicn
Oct. 2, 2008, 9:49 a.m. CST
by the beef
Fuck Coke Zero!! coke zero ain't worth the backwash at the bottom of the diet coke can. and Caffeine-Free coke? SWEPT AWAY is what happens when Guy Ritchie removes the caffeine. Guy Ritchie hasn't yet made a film with any vitamins, maybe Sherlock will. The splenda coke tastes like sweetened foot fungus. I didn't see Revolver, but the word around is that Revolver is literally foot fungus. So there you go. Oh, and C2............ I don't know. You're C2!!!!
Oct. 2, 2008, 9:51 a.m. CST
by the beef
I wish I had caught I THINK WE'RE ALONE NOW during the festival because there's a lot of questions about the doc I would've liked to have asked Donnelly (which I'm sure were probably asked during the Q&A's). Good luck with distribution, and I hope he can get it released theatrically somehow.
Oct. 2, 2008, 10:53 a.m. CST
Oct. 2, 2008, 10:54 a.m. CST
Now that's a good soft drink...
Oct. 2, 2008, 11:15 a.m. CST
and rocknrolla was a waste of my time. guy richie's return to form ?? What was did he do apart from lock stock and snatch ? well part from doing a bag of wet sand called madonna.
Oct. 2, 2008, 11:24 a.m. CST
by the beef
The headline was supposed to be "Diet Coke rocknrolla's all over Coke's snatch". This was supposed to be about Diet Coke fucking Coke. I'm glad the conversation found its way there anyway.
Oct. 2, 2008, 1:33 p.m. CST
by Billy Sunday
Seriously, it was just an off-handed comment I made. Beef explained it pretty well, I thought, I just felt like ROCKNROLLA was similar to LOCK STOCK and SNATCH but just missing that something extra that made the previous two films more enjoyable. I can't point it out and say there, right there is what's missing, but whatever it is, ROCKNROLLA just doesn't quite have it. It wasn't horrible or anything, I thought ROCKNROLLA was OK, but unless THE REAL ROCKNROLLA kicks some serious ass, I don't see much reason to go back and watch this. The Johnny Quid "oh look I'm in a drugged out state of mind" scenes just slowed the whole story down. I was kind of excited about Piven and Ludacris being thrown in the mix, but they were hardly ever on screen and really did nothing except run around a bit. As funny as Piven can be I thought he was severely under-utilized. I prefer LOCK STOCK to SNATCH, but no, of course it's not a fucking masterpiece. It's a fun movie that will get an occasional replay. I think since buying the DVD several years ago, I've probably watched it 3 times at most. SNATCH seems to pop up on cable all the frickin' time so I've seen bits and pieces of that more often. ROCKNROLLA is mildly enjoyable and immediately forgettable. Which is kind of shame, all things considered.
Oct. 3, 2008, 6:17 a.m. CST
Even if RocknRolla isn't as good as Lock Stock (which isn't as cleverly edited or enjoyable as Snatch, not nearly), it will have to be ten times more fun to watch than Smokin' Aces was. Now THAT was a Guy Ritchie-style movie gone wrong.