Dom Robinson reviews
Director’s Cut Distributed by
- Cat.no: 053 727 2
- Cert: 18
- Running time: 115 minutes
- Year: 1998
- Pressing: 1999
- Region(s): 2, 4 (UK PAL)
- Chapters: 26 plus extras
- Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
- Languages: English
- Subtitles: English
- Widescreen: 1.77:1 (16:9)
- 16:9-enhanced: Yes
- Macrovision: Yes
- Disc Format: DVD 9
- Price: £19.99
- Extras : Scene index, Trailer, Booklet
- Guy Ritchie
(The Hard Case (short film))
- Matthew Vaughn
(The Innocent Sleep)
- Guy Ritchie
- David A. Hughes and John Murphy
Tom: Jason Flemyng (Alive & Kicking, Deep Rising, Hollow Reed, The James Gang, Rob Roy, Spiceworld: The Movie, Stealing Beauty)
Soap: Dexter Fletcher (Bugsy Malone, The Elephant Man, Jude, Lionheart, The Long Good Friday, The Rachel Papers, When The Whales Came, TV: Press Gang)
Eddy: Nick Moran (Buddy’s Song, Clancy’s New Kitchen, The Future Lasts A Long Time, Hard Days Hard Nights)
Bacon: Jason Statham
Winston: Steven Mackintosh (The Grotesque, Land Girls, London Kills Me, Prick Up Your Ears, Twelfth Night, TV: The Buddha Of Surburbia, Undercover Heart)
Big Chris: Vinnie Jones (Gone in 60 Seconds, TV: Ellington)
JD: Sting (Brimstone and Treacle, Dune, The Grotesque, Quadrophenia, Stormy Monday)
Dog: Frank Harper (For Queen And Country, In The Name Of The Father, Twentyfourseven)
Hatchet Harry: P.H. Moriarty (The Inside Man, The Long Good Friday, Patriot Games, Quadrophenia)
Barry The Baptist: Lenny McLean (The Fifth Element)
Rory Breaker: Vas Blackwood (TV: Casualty, Lenny Henry Show)
Barfly Jack: Danny John-Jules (TV: Red Dwarf)
Gary: Victor Maguire (TV: Bread)
Serg: Mark Mooney
Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels: Director’s Cut is the extended version of the British hit film from 1998, the feature-length debut for director Guy Ritchie, which gained plenty of press attention for providing another debut in the guise of ex-footballer Vinnie Jones as debt collector Big Chris. However, to pinpoint only one aspect of this film doesn’t do the rest of it justice.
Tom, Soap, Eddy and Bacon are four young men in their mid-twenties who could do with some serious money, which isn’t easy to come by. After a lot of saving up, they’ve brought together £100,000 which Eddy will use as his bargaining power in a game of poker with violent gangster Hatchet Harry and his associates.
Before long, their dreams turn sour and the rigged card game puts Eddy in serious debt with only a week to find the money to pay him off. Not an easy task, but it’s worth noting – for them – that their local loan-shark lives just next door and a break-in may be the answer. To go any further into the plot would rob its surprising twists and turns, suffice to say that it involves rival drug gangs, sharp comedic lines and unexpected shock events, so much so that to this reviewer it makes this film Britain’s answer to True Romance and Pulp Fiction.
There’s also a wealth of talent involved such as Dexter Fletcher, best known to TV viewers as Spike from Press Gang, rising star Nick Moran as the not-so-card sharp, Steven Mackintosh as one of a group of flatmates who don’t have to go shopping for drugs because they grow their own marijuana in-house, pop star Sting – one of the few singer/songwriters able to act well in interesting roles, one-time Lenny Henry sidekick Vas Blackwood cast against type as one of the most menacing and violent men you’d never want to come across, Victor Maguire (aka Jack from Bread) and Mark Mooney as two small-time criminals who accidentally find themselves mixing in with the big-time crowd, there’s a cameo from Danny John-Jules (aka Cat from Red Dwarf) as a barman and the theatrical debut for ex-footballer Vinnie Jones.
In addition, there’s dialogue in this film to put it on a par with the excellent Trainspotting. Approximately 91 minutes in, after the main four return to their flat to find it broken into, all their loot and dope stolen and the front room in a post-shootout situation, three of them discuss :
This director’s cut contains 12 minutes of extra footage not put into the previously-released version. The front cover of the video, but not the DVD, makes a selling point by stating, “The version the did NOT show in the cinema”, as if it’s something particularly gruesome that you’re about to see but it’s just a few extra additions to the running time including a brief explanation of the game of Three-card Brag before the opening credits and some out-takes over the closing credits.
The picture quality is very good but not perfect. It cures the scenes that had noticeable artifacts on view from the theatrical version and has a higher average bitrate of 7.42 Mb/s often peaking at 9Mb/s. It is also anamorphically-enhanced for widescreen televisions.
While the original release contained a widescreen and fullscreen version, there’s just a widescreen version here on a dual-layer disc which helps improve the picture quality, but bizarrely, while the original release had a ratio of 1.85:1, this version is slightly less-wide at 1.77:1 (16:9), resulting in a slightly-zoomed-in version but it’s not noticeable when watching the disc unless you’re able to run the two side by side on two widescreen TVs…which I don’t have access to.
The sound on the disc is Dolby Digital 5.1 in English. If you haven’t got a DD5.1 setup, the sound is downmixed to Dolby ProLogic. While the dialogue and sound effects come across crisp and clear, the best thing about the soundtrack is the large amount of top tunes such as “Hundred Mile City” (Ocean Colour Scene), “The Boss” & “The Payback” (James Brown), “Spooky” (the late Dusty Springfield), “Liar, Liar” (The Castaways) and many more. There’s many a surround-sound moment spread throughout the film in scenes you’d expect, such as when the Bren Gun makes an appearance and in scenes where you’d least expect.
Chapters : There are 26 chapters spread throughout the film, the same number as the first release, with a handful of chapter names changed depending on the content that’s been added. The trailer included on this disc is the same as the previous release.
Languages & Subtitles :
The disc contains an English language soundtrack in Dolby Digital 5.1 plus subtitles for the same. The subtitles do a good job of keeping up with the fast-paced talking and when a song begins, the title is displayed more often than not.
Booklet : Instead of providing biographies on the DVD itself, the disc comes complete with an extensive 32-page booklet detailing the careers for many members of the cast and crew. As such, this booklet is most welcomed since most distributors can never be bothered to provide such information.
The interactive menu works well and is animated with a clip of Vinnie Jones when he pays a visit to the sauna. This time round there some soft soul music over the top in the form of Mauro Pawloski’s “Oh Girl”, which begins with the lyrics “I’m eighteen with a bullet…” in case, like me, you’re not familiar with the song title but have heard the song before, unlike the previous release which was silent. In the scene selection menus, some of those animations have been changed but not all.
Vinnie Jones, for the most part, isn’t quite as menacing as the other gangland types or as good as reports would have you believe, but it’s his first film and it will be interesting to see how his career progresses starting alongside Nicolas Cage in the forthcoming car-crime actioner, “Gone in 60 Seconds”. If his acting improves though, it will surely be down to the multitude of fine actors on display in this film.
Aside from this, Lock Stock… was genuinely the best British film of 1998, but for this special edition DVD some more extras would have been a nice addition and in fact this release loses the interviews that were on the first release. Hence, if you already have that DVD the extra 12 minutes aren’t worth a whole twenty quid. I don’t know if the original videos and DVDs have been deleted but the director’s cut is no doubt the version that’ll be on sale from now on.
If you’d like more information on this film, check out the official Website at : http://www.lockstock2barrels.com and my review of the original release can be found : HERE. FILM : ***** PICTURE QUALITY : **** SOUND QUALITY: ***** EXTRAS: ** ——————————- OVERALL: ****
Review copyright © Dominic Robinson, 2000.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.