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Site created 12/15/97.


review added: 11/11/99



Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
1998 (1999) - Polygram

review by Frank Ortiz, special to The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels Film Ratings: B+

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): C/B-/C+

Specs and Features

108 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced, full frame (1.33:1), single-sided, dual-layered (widescreen on one layer, full frame on the other), Amaray keep case packaging, 2 theatrical trailers (U.S. & U.K. versions), production featurette, Cockney dictionary, cast and crew bios, booklet with production notes, film-themed menus, scene access (17 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1), subtitles: English, French and Spanish, Closed Captioned


Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is an impressive film debut for writer/director Guy Ritchie. Even after all the hype placed on this film, I'm still impressed enough to say that I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good heist movie. There are plenty of well written (and superbly acted) characters, as well as a stack of plot twists which all come together in the end so well, that I'd say even the most jaded film fan will walk away with a smile here.

As briefly as possible, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is about four British chums that end up in debt to the mob. They concoct a hopeful plan to get out of that debt, unaware that even the most incidental character will, at some point, bump into their scheme. And some of the key players prove to be quite out of their league. At first I was confused with some of the Cockney slang and plot twists, but if you drop yourself completely into this film, you'll soon make sense of everything. The movie is simply hilarious, and it's brilliantly written. If you can imagine the raw nature of Pulp Fiction, combined with the humor of The Full Monty, with several clever plot twists thrown in, you might get an idea as to what this "East End" British film is all about. Add great acting performances by some unknowns, a soundtrack that's very cool, and quite impressive direction with a surprisingly different feel, and you have all the makings of a cult hit. All that and a cameo by Sting to boot.

The video on this DVD had me perplexed at first. There is a grey/yellow tone to the color during the film, that is not present on the film footage seen in either the featurette or the trailers. I found out later that it was done on purpose, and it does change the perception a bit. The colors, though muted, are fair and full at times. Some pixelization and crawling on fine detail are present (compression and NTSC artifacts), and the footage is at times grainy, most likely due to the original shot-on-16mm film stock. But the Dolby Digital 5.1 sound isn't bad at all. It's a bit uneven - some of the music intros have great rear channel action, while others do not. But overall, this is a decent mix.

The disc doesn't have a ton of extras (other than a standard making-of thing, and a couple of trailers), but it's enough to make it a good buy. I especially liked the Cockney dictionary, but I was a bit disappointed by the lack of a commentary track. Being that this is Ritchie's film debut, it would have been nice to hear what he had to say. Oh well. Chalk this up as a movie-only disc, and you'll be quite happy.

Frank Ortiz
fortiz@thedigitalbits.com




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