Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels / Snatch
By Mike Derderian
If the early bird gets the early worm then I guess that the early cat will get the early bird that got the early worm. They say it’s a dog-eat-dog world, so who do you want to eat? The other day, a schmuck kept on honking at a 1980 Opel Berlina that I was in. The traffic light was red but still he honked and honked! Do you know what I wanted to do? Follow in the footsteps of Vinnie Jones in Guy Ritchi’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) Snatch (2000) and test his head’s resilience against the door of his cursed car.
Now, theoretically speaking when the potbelly policeman comes pointing out his gun at me after realizing a premeditated murder is in the making. I’ll ask him the same question Turkish (Jason Statham) asked Tommy (Stephen Graham) after he learned that the latter bought a gun from Boris ‘The Blade’ Yurinov (Rade Serbedzija). “It’s for protection,” Tommy said. “Protection! From what Tommy, Zee Germans?” mockingly replied Turkish (a very funny Statham, The Transporter).
I never laughed so much in my life after watching a Brit-movie. With the passing of an entire month since I returned the DVDs of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch back to the video store I found myself still laughing. Why? Well, every time I remembered Turkish’s catch phrase “Zee Germans” I chuckled, especially when I found myself in tight spots. All I do is repeat Turkish’s words out-loud to myself close to the same way Statham brilliantly did in Snatch. But if you’re planning on doing so make sure that no one sees you, if you know what I mean! You don’t want them to think you’re crazy or anything; but if you’re caught, act dumb.
If you are into British sense of humor and comedy then you should go rent the abovementioned brilliant movies. Both films are out of this world-despite of the fact that they are packed with cussing and violence, which is pretty much stylized in order to appear funny.
Ritchie’s debut feature, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, earned him acclaim as a brilliant director able to create an interlaced complicated plots where different characters, who under normal circumstances would never have met. With a budget of £1.6 million it became the third highest grossing British film of all time.
This comedy crime-thriller is about four childhood friends: Tom (Jason Flemyng), Soap (Dexter Fletcher), Eddie (Nick Moran) and Bacon (Jason Statham). The four amigos or the rat pack of this mind-twitching film concocted a scheme to win a sizable amount of money after holding a poker game with ‘Hatchet’ Harry Lonsdale (P.H. Moriarty), a gangster who lives in an apartment above a sleazy sex shop.
Ritchie apparently picked up the comic book tradition of having characters with funny alliterating names like gangster meanie Hatchet Harry and Barry the Baptist, who is Harry’s goon. This trend will pop up again in Snatch.
You are thinking what’s the catch? Nothing except that they got caught up with the wrong crime boss. They now have to pay the sum that they lost or Hatchet Harry will go after the nightclub of Eddie’s father JD (Sting).
While sitting in their hideout, the boys accidentally overhear a gang plotting to nick off a group of cannabis growers from their profit.
The film is narrated by Alan Ford, who you’ll have the pleasure of meeting again in Snatch as the hard-boiled and very-bad-tempered Brick Top Polford, a nasty bookmaker that loves to feed the people he dislike to the pigs he raises in his pig farm.
Ritchie’s camera tricks and slow-motion sequences are highly aesthetic despite of the film’s rather dim and gloomy setting. You will also enjoy the multitude of hilarious characters. However, non-of them are as cool as Vinnie Jones’ character Big Chris and if you were annoyed by the presence of Little Chris (Big Chris’ son), you can simply ignore him.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels has an excellent urbanized feel to it—in fact its so bloody solid you won’t be able to find a loophole in its script or even a loose ending.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrel’s general lines are almost repeated in Snatch: Chaos, a coveted item by everyone in the film is no where in sight, lots of violence, head slumming using car doors (kids do not try this at home) and Vinnie Jones, but no stinking pigs.
Those who’ve seen Ritchie’s first caper will find that Snatch is faster, funnier and definitely more entertaining. There is no star power in Snatch if you are thinking that its success is because of Brad Pitt’s performance as Mickey O’Neil then you are dead wrong.
After realizing that Pitt couldn’t master a London accent, Ritchie gave him the role Mickey the Pikey, who has an undecipherable accent. Nevertheless, Pitt is able to muster a few laughs as he goes about on the screen gibbering a language that nobody can understand, not even the audience.
Even though Benicio Del Toro had a bit part in this high paced film his portrayal of the jewel thief with a knack to gamble and losing fingers Frankie Four Fingers was astonishing. I have never seen a man that can play a dead person so easily and with no extra effort. Talk about method acting.
The story starts when Frankie and a group of men, disguised as rabbis, steal a very big diamond from Jewish jewelers in a very funny sequence. Now, everyone wants that diamond except for Turkish and Tommy, who both are stuck in the middle and apparently have no idea about what’s going on.
“Do you have anything to declare, sir?” asks a custom official. “Yeah. Don’t go to England,” answered Abraham ‘Avi’ Denovitz in a very depressed tone.
No sooner you insert the Snatch DVD in your player you’ll find yourself in Guy Ritchie’s version of England. A very crazy one, especially when you meet with the rest of the characters.