• James Rutherford

‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’: An Outrageous and Audacious British Crime Comedy


Movie poster for the British film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels starring Nick Moran, Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher and Jason Statham

“Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” (1998) is a gleeful and outrageous 90’s-era crime comedy from the United Kingdom, following four young friends who find themselves in dire straits after losing a small fortune to a powerful crime lord.


Close childhood mates and burgeoning hustlers Eddy (Nick Moran), Tom (Jason Flemyng), Soap (Dexter Fletcher), and Bacon (Jason Statham) cobble together £100,000 in order to front Eddy in a high-stakes match of Three-Card Brag—only to be swindled by nefarious mob boss ”Hatchet" Harry Lonsdale (P.H. Moriarty). Perilously indebted to Harry for £500,000, the quartet hatches an illicit plan to rob Eddy’s criminal neighbors utilizing two antique shotguns that Tom has purchased from a local fence already tangentially connected to Harry himself. Outlandish misbehavior ensues, involving disparate gangsters, small-time swindlers, illicit cannabis growers and, most notably, ominous mob enforcer “Big Chris” (Vinnie Jones).


Written and directed by Guy Ritchie (“Snatch”, “Sherlock Holmes”) in his feature film debut, it’s a wildly transgressive comedy of infraction and error given great energy and palpable, distinctly-British charismatics. One of the finer products of the Tarantino-influenced spate of innovative crime comedies of the 1990’s, this one launched the remarkable career of Ritchie and set the tone for a new era of international crime film for years to come.

 

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