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