Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels: Locked ‘N Loaded Director’s Cut
October 20, 2006
Starring: Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Moran, Jason Statham, Steven Mackintosh, Vinnie Jones, P.H. Moriarty, Sting, Alan Ford, Lenny McLean, Peter McNicholl, Frank Harper,
Guy Ritchie burst on the scene with Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) as England’s answer to Quentin Tarantino, only funnier. Like his American counterpart, Ritchie took movie characters and put everyday conversations into their mouths with often hilarious results. And like Tarantino, he played fast and loose with the gangster genre, mixing slapstick comedy of errors with sudden bursts of ultraviolence all scored to an eclectic soundtrack. What made Ritchie different from Tarantino was his unapologetic immersion in British culture with characters steeped in regional slang.
Bacon (Statham) is a scam artist; his buddy Eddie (Moran) is a card shark; Tom (Flemyng) is a none-too-bright dealer in illegal goods; and Soap (Fletcher) is the honest one of the bunch working as a chef. Together, they chip in £100,000 so that Eddie can get a seat at a high stakes poker game with local crime boss Hatchet Harry (Moriarty). Of course, Harry fixes the match, unbeknownst to Eddie who ends up owing £500,000 to the crafty criminal. So, Eddie and his boys have to come up with the money and fast or Harry’s enforcer, Big Chris (Jones) will not only take it out on them with fierce intensity but also take away Eddie’s father’s (Sting) pub.
In the meantime, Harry fancies two antique shotguns to be auctioned off but doesn’t feel like paying for them so he orders his right hand man, Barry the Baptist (McLean) to hire some guys to steal them. Of course nothing goes as planned. Throw in a group of mellow marijuana farmers, a gang of inept gangsters who live next door to Eddie, a motley assortment of colourful characters and you’ve got one hell of a British crime film. The fun of this movie is watching how all of these various subplots play out and how Eddie and his boys solve their cash flow problem.
Like Tarantino, Ritchie is obviously heavily influenced by the films of Martin Scorsese with the dynamic use of freeze frames to introduce characters and a soundtrack that mixes classic and contemporary rock ‘n’ roll to comment on what we are watching or to reflect a character’s mood. Lock, Stock truly excels in this area with the likes of Iggy Pop, Dusty Springfield, James Brown and the Stone Roses amongst others.
Ritchie’s film epitomizes the “lads” culture that thrived (and continues to) in England during the 1990s with young men binge drinking in pubs and nightclubs while hitting on women amidst smoking, music (typified by bands like Oasis) and illegal drugs all chronicled in men’s pop culture magazines like FHM, Maxim and Stuff. There are very few women in Lock, Stock because it’s all about boys and their toys. Through all of their trials and tribulations, successes and failures, Eddie and his friends stick together. Sure, they bicker and “take the piss” as it were but at the end of the day they look out for each other.
While Ritchie’s next film, Snatch (2000), is more technically accomplished and features movie stars like Brad Pitt, Lock, Stock has all the rough-around-the-edges charm and energy of a feature film debut. Whereas Snatch is a little too cutesy for its own good, Lock, Stock has a bit more of edginess that balances the film’s humour. Lock, Stock wasn’t just a calling card for Ritchie, Jason Flemyng, Vinnie Jones and Jason Statham all went on to appear in Snatch while Statham and Jones have benefited most with the former achieving even greater success with The Transporter films and the latter playing hard man roles in films like Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) and Swordfish (2001). Ritchie, however, lost his way when he decided to remake Swept Away (1974) with his wife Madonna in 2002 and then tried to return back to his crime film roots with the critical and commercial failure Revolver (2005).
If you own the previous edition of Lock, Stock you might really want think about if it is worth double-dipping. The transfer for this one is as good if not slightly worse than the previous 2003 release. There are only two (slight) new extras on this edition. “One Smoking Camera” features the film’s cinematographer talking about how he shot the film. The entire movie was storyboarded with some sequences improvised when the inspiration arose. He takes us through a few key sequences and shows how they were shot or edited.
Finally, there is “Lock, Stock and Two Fucking Barrels,” a montage of colourful insults and curse words used throughout the film by various cast members.
Why the extras on the superior Region 2 release weren’t ported over is a mystery and as a result this edition is really not worth your time.