Rated R. Click here to view the trailer.
RocknRolla is the anti-Ocean’s 11. Yeah, they’re both tales of lawbreakers and ne’er do wells, but this merry band of thieves don’t dress well, aren’t charming, could use a good orthodontist and have absolutely zero sense of loyalty, humor or decency. There’s a better-than-even chance they will tie you to a chair and lower you into the Thames River to be eaten alive by giant crawfish, and they haven’t even decided to kill you yet.
That’s not to say RocknRolla isn’t a fun, good movie; it mostly is. At least I think it is. I can’t be 100 percent sure since I only understood about 2/3 of writer/director Guy Ritchie’s (the former Mr. Madonna) cockney, fast-pace dialog. I’m not even sure I know what a rocknrolla is, and we’re given that answer at least twice, once over the opening credits.
I won’t even try to describe the marvelously labyrinthine plot, because to do so would require four more screenings and a team of court stenographers. Characters like Tank, Nurse, Fred the Head, One-Two, Mumbles, Handsome Bob, Johnny Quid, Waster and Councilor run around London generally scamming and scaring the pants off each other. There’s a basic frame set around a real estate deal gone bad, but with Guy Ritchie, the plots really aren’t what it’s all about. RocknRolla is pretty much the same plot as Snatch which is pretty much the same as Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. They’re all more or less exercises in talking fast and finding creative ways to beat the crap out of people. It’s not a wholly bad formula really, and if you’re a Ritchie fan, go for it. I will say, however, that RocknRolla is the weakest of the three (Snatch being my personal favorite).
Even though I found it impossible to keep the characters straight, the acting corps is pretty strong. For the first time, I finally figured out why people like Thandie Newton and Jeremy Piven is, as always, awesome. Chris “Ludacris” Bridges makes an appearance as well, and does a fine job. I’m not sure when he decided to become an actor, but he’s doing an OK job at it.