Directed by Guy Ritchie.
Written by Guy Ritchie.
Starring Gerard Butler, Thandie Newton, Idris Elba and Tom
Release Year: 2008
Review Date: 11/4/08
After leaving an afternoon showing of "RocknRolla"
with Meg and my out-of-town friends Brian and Lucie, Brian said it
"It was kind of like Guy Ritchie opened up
his 'Lock, Stock...' playbook and tried to come up with a way to
make this movie."
When you go and see "RocknRolla"--Ritchie's
latest crime caper flick--you should probably do two things:
first, run, because it made less than $5 million in its first
wide-release weekend and will be out of theaters soon; and, second,
hope that you have NOT seen either
"Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels",
"Revolver", because "RocknRolla" snatches
scenes from all of them, adds a few useless characters, and rehashes
everything you thought you liked about the other films in a way that
makes the damned thing nearly tasteless.
This time around, our hapless bad guys/good
guys are led by One Two (Gerard Butler, from
"300"), thick on
accent and light on brains; although One Two is never fully
developed, I gathered that he is meant to be cocky, nice with the
ladies, a music lover and a somewhat honorable, non-violent thief.
Remember, One Two is the good guy; he works with his best friends
Mumbles (Idris Elba, Stringer Bell from "The Wire"...remember, in
real life, he IS British, so playing a British thug is not a
stretch) and Handsome Bob (Tom Hardy) on local jobs of a criminal
nature, and when One Two's contact Stella (Thandie Newton) surfaces
to offer him a gig, he takes it...and gets caught up in a scheme to
rob a Russian (Karel Roden), hose a gangster (Tom Wilkinson), and
find a dead rock star (Toby Kebbell) who...isn't...dead.
"RocknRolla" has one legitimately great
aspect: its soundtrack. Like his other films, this movie
soundtrack will get downloaded a bunch on iTunes eventually; one
could kind of see why Madonna would get all up in Ritchie's
business, because the man clearly has an appreciation for good
music. This one aspect is what makes the film watchable; maybe
the characters aren't as interesting, funny, tough, psychotic, etc.
as in his other films, but when acting on top of a soundtrack
featuring so many randomly great musical forms I stopped keeping
track, "RocknRolla" at least makes the time go by somewhat
The rest of the movie? Blah.
Ritchie has still never been able to recapture the magic of the four
main stars' chemistry in "Lock, Stock...", so the three-man
partnership of Butler, Elba and Hardy never really measures up, even
though it does get a couple of laughs during a sequence when Mumbles
and One Two chat about their chum's romantic interests. Newton
continues to baffle me; I thought she was going to be a Big Star
after her role as The Girl in
now, each time I see her, I think to myself, "C'mon, girl, have a
biscuit!!" Jeremy Piven has a brief turn in this film, and
somehow, he is completely unfunny in his part; Ludacris is also in
the film, and while he is a top-five hip-hopper in my mind, he is
NOT an actor and people keep casting him! Why?? The
collection of bit players is mostly bad, although I did get a
chuckle watching the two Russian hitmen try to take down One Two
during an extended chase sequence.
If you have never seen a Guy Ritchie film,
watch this movie, then immediately watch "Snatch" or "Lock,
Stock..." to see why everyone thought Ritchie was such a great
director. If you have seen any other Ritchie film, skip "RocknRolla"
and catch up on your DVR.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard