[Screen It]


(1998) (Nick Moran, Jason Flemyng) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Extreme Heavy Extreme *Mild Extreme
Moderate None None Minor Extreme
Smoking Tense Family
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Comedy/Drama: Four London working-class stiffs, with just a week to pay off a huge gambling debt to a dangerous criminal, plot to rob other criminals for the cash but accidentally get mixed up with a diverse group of even more criminals with conflicting goals who end up complicating their plan.
Eddie (NICK MORAN), Tom (JASON FLEMYNG), Bacon (JASON STATHAM) and Soap (DEXTER FLETCHER) are a close quartet of working class stiffs who plan to escape their London East End trappings by pooling their money -- some of which is "hot" -- and letting Eddie win big while playing poker.

Unfortunately, he goes up against porn king "Hatchet" Harry (P.H. MORIARTY), a notorious criminal with a giant of a bodyguard, Barry "The Baptist" (LENNY MCLEAN), a solemn, but effective debt collector, Big Chris (VINNIE JONES), and a taste for the pub run by Eddie's dad, J.D. (STING).

As such, Harry cheats and wins, and Eddie and his pals suddenly find themselves owing the gangster half a million pounds. Having just a week to raise the money lest Barry start removing their digits, the four young lads set out to hatch a plan that's effective, fast, and most important, something they can pull off.

Fortunately for them, Eddie's place has paper thin walls and the guys overhear that his criminal neighbor, Dog (FRANK HARPER), who's received inside information from a weasel named Plank (STEVE SWEENEY), plans to rob Winston (STEVEN MACKINTOSH) and his associates, some local pot farmers who are loaded with cash and drugs.

With the aide of go-between Nick "The Greek" (STEPHEN MARCUS), the guys acquire some weapons and, realizing their time is running out, set out to execute their plan. Unbeknownst to them, that plan soon involves a set of small-time thugs hired by Barry for Harry to steal some guns, and another dangerous gangster, Rory Breaker (VAS BLACKWOOD), who's none too happy that someone has cut into his operations. As their plan becomes increasingly complicated, the men do what they can to make sure they get their money and pay off the debt.

Younger kids won't, but teens who hear this being favorably compared to films like "Pulp Fiction" may just want to see it.
For strong violence, pervasive language, sexuality and drug content.
Considering the criminal activity planned, or actively participated in, it's doubtful many parents would see any of the characters as good role models.


OUR TAKE: 7.5 out of 10
Reminiscent of something approaching a combination of the crime influenced films from Quentin Tarantino, the similarly based works of crime novelist Elmore Leonard, and the in-your-face visual theatrics of the latest MTV music video, writer/director Guy Ritchie's debut feature, "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," is a blast to watch.

Although it lacks the polished finesse, razor-sharp dialogue and star power of Tarantino's masterpiece, "Pulp Fiction," it makes up for that in sheer energy, fun and inventive camera techniques, and a twist-filled plot that can best be described as a vat full of coiled and intertwined vipers.

As one follows the ever-twisting course of one criminal or group, it inevitably leads to contact with other similar "creatures" that then leads to even more of the same. Of course, much like "Pulp Fiction," this isn't a film for everyone and the choice of characters ranges from the not-so- bad criminals to the more hard-core types. By default, we're forced to root for the former -- since they've been set up by the latter -- but it doesn't really make any difference as it's a hoot watching everyone's plan unravel and/or collide with others.

Despite one's appreciation of those numerous storylines that continually intersect in clever, audience pleasing ways, one of the film's faults lies with its enormous cast of one-dimensional characters. While one certainly doesn't expect award winning performances from a film such as this, due to the way the characters are written and the sheer number of them, any knowledge about them never delves below their superficial attributes.

Some may also complain that Ritchie is ripping off Tarantino (who himself simply put an inventive spin on material he borrowed from others) and jazzing up the proceedings with dazzling but ultimately pointless camera/editing tricks. While both complaints have some merit, they're relatively easy to defend.

Of all the post "Reservoir Dogs/Pulp Fiction," "wanna be the next Tarantino" directors to come along, Ritchie's easily the best and the same holds true for his film. And while we often criticize former music video directors for delivering all flash and no substance in their feature films, Ritchie injects so many fun and interesting techniques that you'll surely find some to your liking and in the end, they add to the overall, hyper-kinetic theatrics. While they, and the nonstop soundtrack occasionally stand out as too obvious, for the most part both are satisfyingly effective.

The performers, while delivering what's expected of them -- which isn't a great deal in a film like this -- all sort of meld into one another with only the extreme criminal characters standing out. As such, and while we know next to nothing about them, P.H. Moriarty as Hatchet Harry, Lenny McLean as Barry "The Baptist," and Vinnie Jones as "Big Chris" -- the debt collector who comes into his own late in the film -- inhabit the juiciest and most memorable characters.

The quartet of actors playing the "good guys" -- while physically different enough from one another -- could easily be interchanged without any apparent detrimental effect although they still manage to deliver fun takes on their characters.

While the film and its use of criminal behavior and violence certainly won't appeal to all moviegoers, for those looking for an offbeat, but high energy romp, you could certainly do a lot worse than this film. Although not up to par with the Tarantino-esque standards it tries to emulate, this picture is still a ton of fun to watch as it unfolds. We give "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" -- an appropriate and derivative title considering all that occurs within it -- a 7.5 out of 10.

The following is a quick summary of the content found in this R-rated film. Profanity is extreme with more than 100 "f" words being spoken, as well as other words and phrases, some of which are British slang. Violence and the use of weapons both rate as extremes, with many people being shot and killed (and injured or killed by other means as well), quite often with bloody results, and often played for comic effect.

Several characters are drug dealers, and as such, we see some drugs as well as people smoking pot and/or being high, and the quartet of friends celebrates a crime by drinking themselves into unconsciousness. Many characters also smoke.

One of the characters is a "porn king" and we see some sexual paraphernalia on his desk, while in another scene we see a topless dancer who's wearing an extremely small thong bottom. Other sexually related comments also occur.

Due to all of that, and the fact that much of the material is played for laughs and/or made to look "cool," we strongly suggest that you take a closer look at the content we've listed should you be concerned about the film's appropriateness for you or someone else in your home.

  • Harry has a drink.
  • Dog and Plank are drug dealers of some sort and Winston comments that his little group of people "grow copious amounts of ganja" to a guy who's shown up at their "plant" escorting a drugged up woman.
  • Winston smokes a joint.
  • Eddie and his three pals have beer.
  • A person in a strip club drinks.
  • People have drinks in a pub.
  • Eddie, Harry and others drink while playing poker.
  • Winston and two other men share a joint and Plank shows up to buy some drugs from them.
  • We see Dog separating some cocaine with a razor blade and he offers Plank a joint.
  • Tom drinks a beer, and later a shot while another guy has a beer and then a shot.
  • Bacon smokes a joint from the stash they stole.
  • We see Eddie and his pals celebrating by drinking lots of liquor (and pouring into each other's mouths) until they're passed out.
  • We see some cut off pigs' heads in a restaurant kitchen.
  • A man's nose is a tiny bit bloody after Chris roughs him up.
  • We briefly see a person stumble out of a pub on fire.
  • A man whose head is being used as a golf tee is a bit bloody.
  • We see a man's bloody foot and the blood surrounding it on the floor (after his toes have been shot off) and we later see this again with even more blood around him.
  • A man's head is bloody after a violent encounter with another man.
  • A man's arm is bloody from where he was shot.
  • The side of Plank's neck is bloody from where a pellet shot hit him.
  • Blood splatters onto a man's face as he peaks into another room where a massive gun battle is taking place.
  • A man's head is a bit bloody after he's been hit.
  • We see the inside of a room after a massive gun battle where many dead and somewhat bloody bodies lie.
  • Several more people who are shot are bloody.
  • Some viewers might not like the film's flippant attitude toward using violence and crime for laughs.
  • Harry is a criminal who runs a porno business, orders his men to steal some antique guns, and cheats while playing poker with Eddie. In addition, Barry and Big Chris work for him and thus support his endeavors by using violence.
  • Dog, Plank and their associates are criminals, Winston and his gang are pot farmers, while Rory and his men are also dangerous criminals.
  • Tom and Eddie try to sell some hot jewelry on the street and then run from the police who chase after them. Later, the four men plan to rob some criminals to pay off their debt to Harry.
  • Two thugs working for Barry break into a house to steal guns for him.
  • Although nearly all of the movie is played for laughs, some of the more deadly scenes listed under "Violence" may be tense or unsettling to some viewers.
  • Rifles/Handguns/Machine guns/Air Rifle/Knives/Hatchet: Used to threaten, wound, or kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • Phrases: British terms "Wanker," "Buggered" "Bloody," and "Bollocks," as well as "I don't give a sh*t," "Bastard," "Fairies" and "Faggot," "Piss off, " "Loser" and "Pain in the ass."
  • Due to the way the violence and criminal behavior is often shown to be funny and/or cool, kids might get the wrong ideas about both.
  • A character makes a gesture for male masturbation.
  • We briefly see a person stumble out of a pub on fire (and later see what happened before that -- a person spits liquor on that person and then sets him on fire).
  • We see that a thug has put strips of paper between an elderly couple's toes and plans to ignite that paper to get them to talk.
  • We see a person strung up and hanging upside down while Dog hits golf balls at him from the mouth of another man lying on the floor.
  • We see some guys trying to light their farts with a lighter.
  • None.
  • None.
  • A song includes the lyrics (along the lines of) "I want you in my room...face to face...I'll be waiting in my favorite place...I want to be your dog..." (All of which may or may not be something objectionable).
  • Due to the high number of included songs, there might be other objectionable material, but we didn't note any (while trying to report on all of the other content).
  • At least 114 "f" words, 19 "s" words, 3 slang terms for male genitals ("c*ck," "pr*ck" and "d*ck"), 1 slang term each for female genitals and breasts ("p*ssy" and "t*t"), 3 uses of the British slang "Wankers," 2 of "Bollocks" and 1 of "Buggered," as well as 12 asses (4 used with "hole" and one of them spelled "arsehole" in subtitles), 4 hells, 2 craps, and 10 uses of "Jesus," 3 of "Jesus Christ" and 1 use each of "Good God" "Christ," "Oh God" and "For God's sakes" as exclamations.
  • Trying to hock some jewelry on the street, Tom mentions that a certain piece is as long as his arm, but wishes another part of his anatomy was just as long.
  • Harry is a "porn king" and runs a sex shop. In different scenes, we see various dildos on his desk, a studded spanking paddle, and later see a porno magazine near him that has a bare-breasted woman on the cover (seen from a distance).
  • In a strip club we see a close-up of a dancer's mostly bare butt in her skimpy thong-like outfit, and then see her turn around (although she's now in the distance and partially out of focus) and we see her bare breasts and the front of that skimpy thong as she does a suggestive dance. At the end of the scene we see her (and her bare breasts) in focus.
  • An older woman shows some cleavage.
  • Trying to figure out how to make some money, Tom briefly tells an idea of advertising in a gay magazine for "ass intruding dildos" to get people to order them and then returning checks (with embarrassing printed company names on them) to the purchasers after the guys have cashed the original ones.
  • Soap smokes more than five times, while Tom, Chris, Bacon, Nick and Plank smoke a few times and various miscellaneous characters also smoke.
  • None.
  • All of the criminal activity that occurs in the film, and the way it and the violence are often used for laughs.
  • That the guys get off scot-free after getting in trouble and then plotting to rob other criminals to get their way out of that trouble.
  • We see a flashback of Barry "The Baptist" repeatedly dunking a man's head into a barrel of water trying to get him to talk.
  • Chris repeatedly smashes the lid of a tanning bed down onto a man trying to get him to talk and finally punches him (we see the punch from the point of view of the recipient).
  • We briefly see a person stumble out of a pub on fire (and later see what happened before that -- Rory spits liquor on that person and then sets him on fire).
  • We see that a thug has put strips of paper between an elderly couple's toes and plans to ignite that paper to get them to talk. Another older man then tries shooting at the two thugs and his one shot grazes one of them right through his hair.
  • We see a flashback that shows Harry repeatedly beating a man with a rubber, 15-inch dildo.
  • We see a person strung up and hanging upside down while Dog hits golf balls at him from the mouth of another man lying on the floor. Although we don't see the impact, Dog then hits the man on the floor with his golf club. Doug then takes some sort of rod/long knife and throws it at the man hanging upside down (we only hear the impact that presumably kills that man).
  • J.D. punches Eddie.
  • Plank holds a gun to the head of one of Winston's men (who immediately passes out) and Dog's men come in carrying various forms of guns, including one who has a large machine gun. Winston and his guys then shoot at Dog and his men with an air rifle (and hit a few with pellets), eventually causing the guy with the machine gun to open fire on the room. Dog then threatens to shoot off the unconscious man's toes if Winston doesn't let them in, and we then hear the gun go off (but don't see the impact). We do see his bloody foot and blood on the floor, however, and Dog threatens to shoot his leg next.
  • A man head-butts another man.
  • Dog's men hold guns on Winston to get him to talk, while another goes after one of Winston's associates. We don't see the encounter, but assume the associate is wounded or killed, and Dog then threatens Winston with a knife.
  • A man punches a traffic cop and throws him into the back of his truck.
  • A drugged up woman suddenly grabs a machine gun and opens fire on Dog and his men, shooting at least one of them and the rest of Winston's place. When she runs out of bullets, a man punches her in the face.
  • Plank elbows the above traffic cop in the face to knock him out.
  • Tom hits Plank with his rifle and knocks him down, while his other pals hold rifles or knives to Dog and the rest of his men.
  • Bacon tries to knock out the above traffic cop, but when that doesn't work, some of the other guys join in and pummel the man (we don't see the impact).
  • Some men approach a building where another group of men waits inside with guns at the ready. The first group enters and then a massive gun battle breaks out, but we only hear the shots, see bullets flying through windows, and see blood splatter onto Dog's face as he peaks inside to see what's happening. Later, we see many bloodied bodies inside this room.
  • Chris head-butts Dog.
  • A man is hit by a car (but lives).
  • A man turns over an injured man to shoot him and both end up getting shot and die.
  • A man shoots another man dead, whose partner then shoots that man dead. Another man then throws a hatchet that strikes that man in the back, but he manages to get off a shot that kills that fourth man.
  • A man holds a knife to a boy's throat to make his dad comply with his wishes.
  • A car smashes into another car and the driver of the offending car gets out, grabs a man from his car and pulls him half way out of the car, and then repeatedly slams the car door on him and then kicks on stomps down on him (none of which we directly see).

  • Reviewed March 10, 1999 / Posted March 12, 1999

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