Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1999)

Written and Directed by Guy Ritchie
Starring Nick Moran, Jason Flemyng, Jason Statham, Dexter Fletcher, Vinnie Jones


Anamorphic: No.

My Advice: Rent It.

It seemed like the perfect plan. Four friends decide to pool their resources and give the card playing prodigy among them, Eddie (Moran), the chance to win at high stakes poker. Unfortunately, like most perfect plans, the thing goes right into the toilet, threatening to drag all four of them down, taking Eddie's dad (Sting) and most of the neighborhood with them.

The film was a rare treat the year that it came out. It was released in March, which is normally known as an area of doldrums where you dump crap that you doubt is going to make any money. Well written, beautifully directed and hyperkinetically shot, it was the kind of wild comedy-action-thriller with guns that we've been missing for some time. It managed to stay at the top of my Top 10 for the year for around six months before it finally got ousted.

When you have a movie this good, there's something excruciating about it coming out on a DVD this poor. Oh sure, the movie's here, and yes, you have the theatrical trailers and whatnot. But their idea of a behind-the-scenes featurette is the standard actor/motivation/scene nonsense we've discussed before. It's annoying as hell if you've seen the film because they're not giving you a single shred of new information, except for one note about Sting's character that could have been handled just fine on the audio commentary. What audio commentary, you ask? I asked that too. A running commentary with Ritchie would have been perfect, another audio commentary with the four lead actors would have been priceless. But unfortunately, no dice. What you have instead is a Cockney Rhyming Dictionary, which takes you through how to understand the rhyming slang used in the film. Whoopee.

If you're absolutely in love with this film, like I am, and don't already own it on VHS, as I did not, then yes, you're cleared to buy it. Otherwise, rent the DVD, watch it in widescreen and take it back.

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