RocknRolla (2008)

DVD Cover (Warner Brother)
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Overall Rating 61%
Overall Rating
Ranked #558
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Gerard Butler
Gerard Butler
Tom Wilkinson
Tom Wilkinson
Thandiwe Newton
Thandiwe Newton
Mark Strong
Mark Strong
Idris Elba
Idris Elba
Review by bluemeanie
Added: December 20, 2008
There are a few filmmakers I just don't care for and Guy Ritchie is right up there at the top of that list. He is a second-rate Quentin Tarantino whose films feel identical -- he's a one-note writer and director, and though the dialog in his films can sometimes be fresh and is definitely authentic, it never varies. His films are always about bad people doing bad things in seemingly comedic ways. There are people with over-the-top British accents, villains who seem larger than life and so many supporting characters you cannot keep track. The man is the Robert Altman of schlock. "Rock N Rolla" is his latest picture, his most successful mainstream film in a few years, probably because it features a cast that doesn't include Jason Statham. "Rock N Rolla" falls back on his heavy handed formula of old and it really does serve as the definition of 'mediocre filmmaking'.

First off, you've got London's top gangster, Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson), who wants to make a deal with a group of immigrant Russians. This leads to his being given a very valuable painting for good luck. That painting is stolen and Lenny relies on his top henchman, Archie (Mark Strong) to help retrieve it. Meanwhile, 1-2 (Gerard Butler) and Mumbles (Idris Elba) and Handsome Bob (Tom Hardy) are three criminals who have been hired by a strange and mysterious woman (Thandie Newton) to steal millions of dollars from her employer. Oh, Handsome Bob also reveals he is gay and has a crush on 1-2. All the while, a popular musician, Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbell) has gone missing and is presumed dead and everyone wants to find him. There are other characters, including Jeremy Piven and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, but they don't really have any relevance. They just seem to pop up here and there for color and monologues. Guy Ritchie could have cut most of them completely out.

The one thing Guy Ritchie has going for him is that he definitely knows how to shoot and cut a film. He definitely has a style all his own, David Higgs is the man behind the camera for this outing and he does a fine job of mixing up the shooting styles and making his mark. One impressive scene involves 1-2 on run from a couple of crazy Russians who just won't die. He does some interesting things with that camerawork. Ritchie's editing is all over the place, as usual -- with fast cuts and strained editing styles that try to make up for a lack of content. But, when I say content -- I am not referring to the plot. There is plenty of plot. There is plot dripping off the ceilings by the time the film is over. There's just no redeeming point to it. The climax is not a climax. The resolution is not really a resolution and the ending of the film is just retarded -- sorry to be so politically incorrect, but retarded is the best way to sum up this ending. This film runs completely out of steam and then runs out of even more steam.

The best thing about this film was the middle 30-minutes, involving the crazy Russians and and some interesting material involving Handsome Bob coming out of the closet. Those were not your stereotypical Guy Ritchie sequences and they worked better than anything else in the film. The first 30-minutes were so boring that I literally almost fell asleep. The last 30-minutes were so predictable and forced that I wanted to walk out. But, it's those middle 30-minutes that were rather entertaining. Tom Wilkinson has a lot of fun with his role and he plays it for both intensity and oddball humor. Wilkinson is one of the finest actors around and he gets the best role in the film, but even he cannot save a sinking ship. Tom Hardy is also enjoyable as Handsome Bob, and Gerard Butler turns in his most tolerable performance as 1-2. If there is any character actor in the film I could not stand, it was Mark Strong who seemed rather miscast to me.

So, I cannot recommend "Rock N Rolla". I can say it is the best Guy Ritchie to come along in a while, but that is not saying much since I have not thoroughly enjoyed a single one of his films. I wanted to like this film and give the guy another chance and I was certainly entertained for 1/3 of the film, but the rest was rubbish. It just shows that it doesn't matter how much glitter you put on a turd -- it's still a turd. 4/10.
grain of sand #1: grain of sand - added 01/18/2009, 06:42 PM
Finally gave this a watch and enjoyed every minute of it.. I haven't disliked anything by Ritchie yet though, so hey, oh well.

Tristan #2: Tristan - added 06/25/2009, 10:25 AM
I agree with everything Meanie said. While I don't consider myself a huge Guy Richie fan, I do enjoy some of his films. This was not one of them. It was just plain boring. And the ending, like he said, was absolutely retarded. I was not impressed with this one at all.

Lucid Dreams #3: Lucid Dreams - added 09/22/2009, 05:17 PM
The film was alright, the real problem I had was that there were to many damn things going on at once. I also agree that they could have taken out Jeremy Piven and Chris Bridges and nothing would have changed. 6/10
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