Rated R; Directed by Guy Ritchie; Starring Gerard Butler, Mark Strong, Tom Wilkinson, Thandie Newton, Toby Kebell, Karel Roden
Guy Ritchie creates another movie along the lines of his first two: Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. With multiple characters and storylines that intersect, RocknRolla gives us stylish violence with lots of humor. Unfortunately, RocknRolla doesn’t quite measure up to the other first two films.
Ritchie has a good cast, from the always interesting Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton), as a major player in London criminal doings. There’s the loyal sidekick, who handles the dirty work, played by Mark Strong. The fun comes from Gerard Butler and his merry men mixed up with a possibly dangerous account, sleekly portrayed by Thandie Newton. Ritchie throws in a Russian billionaire with a lucky painting, a not quite dead rock star, and a mysterious underworld snitch. It’s a strong cast with Mark Strong making an impression as Archie, the narrator of the film.
Fun arises in scenes of robberies gone bad, cleverly-edited sex, slapping a man, and a feeling of cockiness in all the proceedings. Ritchie does know how to entertain. His mix of testosterone-filled quirky humor among the London criminal world gives the story a lift. Too bad that parts of the film seem to lag, and there’s not too much surprise in the plot. It’s getting hard for Guy Ritchie to keep coming up with improbable coincidences and outrageous situations.
RocknRolla offers a fun, but not great, time at the theater. If you’re in the mood for a less-than-serious crime film, then RocknRolla fits the bill. The movie isn’t a stinker and it does have a kick-ass soundtrack.