Love, Honour, and Obey -- Guest Review by Owen
They sound like such simple words, the kind of words a fellow might say from time to time, should his mate decline to bring him a beer while she is up.......
That one will get me in trouble, alright.
Anyway, I had looked forward to seeing this movie for a long time, because it was all over every vertical surface in London when I was over there. They had a really good poster campaign put up everywhere, that had SKW and I saying things to one another such as, "You're fat, and I'll throw you in the River," "You can't steal a warehouse, its big, its heavy, its stuck to the ground," and my favourite, "Don't mack me off like a two-bob." With that kind of dialogue, how could it miss?
Well, the way it can miss is by being a less-stylish, lower budget knockoff of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and not pulling it off very well. It is the story of two London Gangs, and one bored gangster wannabe, and how a little spray paint goes a long way. Johnny and Jude have known each other for years, since they've been kids, and Johnny convinces Jude to get him into the family business, run by Jude's uncle Ray.
Johnny is disappointed to discover that gangsters really spend most of their time making routine rounds, collecting protection money, singing karaoke, discussing erectile dysfunction, planning weddings, and drinking beer with salted nuts. To the real gangsters, that is what their job consists of. For Johnny, he has traded the ennui of his straight job for the ennui of the day to day life of a gangster. Johnny's response? Start a war.
And that was where the movie went south, so to speak. Not only from Campden Town to Southwark, but in quality as well. This movie tries to outdo LS+2SB by being even more graphically violent, more gritty, and it _attempts_ to be stylish in the same way. The result? It comes across as mean spirited. Where LSetc effortlessly went back and forth from farce to gangster movie, this film's attempts at humour seemed really forced. Jokes about the fact that one gangster can't get it up, and the attempts by his fellow enforcer to help by sharing advice from his own predictably kinky sex life. The effects of a diamond heist dressed as Arabs after having taken Viagra all around, Ha Ha. And the film's comedic piece-de-resistance, Fat Ken, who earns the nickname "Lucky" by, in the course of a 98 minute film, being stabbed, beaten, stripped naked, having a finger stuck in his barely-healed stab wound, forced to take acid, forced to eat dog food, sodomized with a toilet brush, thrown out a second story window, firebombed, and blown up. I could hardly contain my laughter. Certainly the other characters in the movie laughed their guts out at him. How sweet. It made me really root for the good guys.
The climax of the film reminded me of any number of way-too-arty episodes of the Hitchhiker I saw on Showcase. I don't want to give away too much, but letís just say that it sucked.
Really, there was not a whole lot to recommend this film, and I came to it ready to enjoy myself. If you want to see a gritty film from the UK, watch Trainspotting. If you want to watch a British gangster movie, watch Lock, Stock, and two Smoking Barrels. If you want to watch a really gritty British gangster movie that is actually well done, watch The Krays. Don't watch this movie. And donít mack me off like a two-bob.
It gets one pint, mostly for the poster campaign. It's a pint of John Smith's Pub Ale, a well-marketed version of British beer that is a knockoff of the good stuff. And a packet of salted nuts.