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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Aug 25: RocknRolla


Aug 25: RocknRolla

"In London, a real-estate scam puts millions of pounds up for grabs, attracting some of the city's scrappiest tough guys and its more established underworld types, all of whom are looking to get rich quick. While the city's seasoned criminals vie for the cash, an unexpected player -- a drugged out rock 'n' roller presumed to be dead but very much alive"
Directed by: Guy Ritchie, Rated: R, 114 minutes

A Guy Ritchie film is always a unique film, combining high energy with wild characters and even wilder situations. RocknRolla is no exception to that fact and while it's not Ritchie's strongest outing, it still proves incredibly entertaining. Sure, the plot can be a little confusing at times as there is so much going on and so many different people in the film but, once it's over, you don't feel like you missed anything. Hell, a painting at the central part of the story is just a MacGuffin to move the plot forward. Once you realize that, it's all easy riding from there. Ritchie is a master of dialogue and RocknRolla features wise-cracking, genius writing that makes the characters even more enjoyable. The film can be quoted just as much as his other films and has equally memorable moments. 

The lack of Mickey is disheartening. 

The film follows Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson), a mob boss who has control over the real estate in London. The Wild Bunch, a group of criminals named OneTwo (Gerard Butler), Mumbles (Idris Elba), and Handsome Bob (Tom Hardy), look for a way to make money quick and turn to Lenny for help. After Lenny f**ks them over, the Wild Bunch look for a way to get back at him. Uri, a Russian developer who Lenny owes quite a lot of money to, agrees to help Lenny with his real estate business and gives him a painting to hold for "good luck". Unknowingly, the Wild Bunch steals Uri's money while Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbell) steals the painting. This piece of art shifts many hands throughout the film, including Stella's (Thandie Newton), a smart woman who knows the books as well as the streets, and even a couple of junkies who pawn it off for a "fix". As each party attempts to get away with the money or the painting, Lenny seeks revenge against the Wild Bunch and will do whatever it takes to get it back. If the list of actors wasn't impressive enough, the film also features Jeremy Piven, Ludacris, Marc Strong, and Karel Roden. 

I would totally watch a movie following just these guys and their "shaky" music-producing careers. 

The best part of the movie is the cast. Butler, Hardy, and Elba easily carry the film as the Wild Bunch and the chemistry the three have together is so entertaining, you can't help but wonder how close they are in real life. After 300, Butler kind of faded into the romantic comedy and super (stupid) drama worlds, so seeing him in a legit comedy caper (with a good amount of action) is so much more refreshing. Idris Elba, who as I have stated needs to be in so much more, constantly exudes his "cool factor" and Hardy, as Bob, is more hilarious than you can imagine. The situations that play out with him and Butler are not only surprising, but so entertaining. However, the man who steals the show is Toby Kebbell as Johnny. He's quite the eccentric character who doesn't seem right in the head but still seeks his revenge on Lenny. Hands down, Johnny has the best lines in the film and his jumping from coked out "philosopher" to violent criminal is perfect. I've mentioned how much I've enjoyed Kebbell in my Dead Man's Shoes and Wrath of the Titans reviews, and with RocknRolla, I'm even more surprised why he's not popping up everywhere. 

RocknRolla follows a familiar formula for Ritchie fans but does it with such gusto and pizzazz you can easily accept it as it's own original movie. The film is just too fun to hate and I would highly recommend it. While it's not as good as Ritchie's previous outings, Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, it's another great edition to his filmography. It's also worth noting that the film ends with a tease that the Wild Bunch will be back for a second movie and certainly leaves you wanting more. The film has been out for four years though and Ritchie is busy with the Sherlock Holmes franchise, so any hope for a sequel may be futile. 

The Good:
a phenomenal cast that's clearly having fun making the movie, and I can only imagine are dying to come back for a sequel
The Bad:
a story that's a little too messy...
The Ugly:
...and a conclusion that leaves much to be desired 

Overall: 7.5/10


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At August 25, 2012 at 3:44 PM , Blogger Dusty said...

I agree. Despite the flaws in his storytelling, Ritchie's style is so overwhelming that I tend to forgive everything else. I loved this film.

At August 25, 2012 at 3:45 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Yes! It's so much fun. I really genuinely want a sequel.

At August 26, 2012 at 3:08 PM , Blogger Sati. said...

I agree it's not as good as Lock Stock or Snatch - which is one of my favorite movies - but it's still fun. It has Idris Elba and it's actually a good film - those two factors don't go hand in hand a lot :)

At August 26, 2012 at 6:02 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Careful talking about Elba, lol. But yes, This movie is just so much fun.

At August 27, 2012 at 8:57 AM , Blogger Lindsay said...

We just talked about how much we dig RocknRolla on our last podcast. I really hope Ritchie is able to flesh out that trilogy he had planned. *fingers crossed* Awesome review!

At August 27, 2012 at 9:15 AM , Blogger Nick said...

Yeah! I'm really hoping he fleshes it out too, especially now with how big of a star some of the cast members are.


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