- Cat.no: 059 390 2
- Cert: 18
- Running time: 103 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: 1.85:1; Fullscreen: 4:3
- 16:9-enhanced: Yes
- Macrovision: Yes
- Disc Format: DVD 10
- Price: £17.99
- Extras : Scene index, Biographies, Interviews, 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 (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 is the British hit film from last year, 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 82 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 :
The picture quality is mostly good, but some scenes do have noticeable artifacts on view and this is the only major disappointment I can find within the entire package. The average bitrate is a fairly good 4.56Mb/s but the artifacts occur when the bitrate drops below 4Mb/s. On the plus side of things, the disc is 16:9-enhanced for widescreen televisions.
There are two versions available here: the widescreen version, which reproduces the original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1 and the fullscreen version which allows a little more viewing area at the top and bottom, while losing a bit of picture from the sides.
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.
Chapters : There are 26 chapters spread throughout the film which is fine for a 103-minute film (not 107 minutes as stated on the back cover). In addition to this is the original theatrical trailer.
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.
Interviews : Watch them one at a time, or altogether – this option provides brief interviews with principal members of the cast and crew.
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.
Easter Eggs? : An “Easter Egg” is a hidden option or menu which can be found on some DVDs and apparently this disc has one. The BBFC stated that such things cannot exist as the content may need classifying, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Easter Eggs won’t sneak their way onto a disc.
The interactive menu works well and is animated with a clip of Vinnie Jones when he pays a visit to the sauna. It’s a shame that there’s no music at the same time. A tune such as James Brown’s “The Boss” which begins when Big Chris makes his first appearance in the film would be appropriate.
Another thing to note is that on playing the disc you can’t skip past the copyright info. Selecting “Play Movie” brings up the Polygram logo.
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. 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… is genuinely the best British film of last year and is also one of the best-presented DVDs around containing many extras as well as both formats of the film, Dolby Digital 5.1 sound and an informative booklet.
The only other thing I’d like to see here is a feature-length director’s commentary track, but for now what’s on offer is well worth a purchase. Before I sign off, there’s no point me telling you what the Region 1 (USA) DVD has to offer – it doesn’t exist yet and the film has only just opened in US theatres so for once we have a clear advantage over the American film market.
If you’d like more information on this film, check out the official Website at : http://www.lockstock2barrels.com FILM : ***** PICTURE QUALITY : ***½ SOUND QUALITY: ***** EXTRAS: **** ——————————- OVERALL: ****½
Review copyright © Dominic Robinson, 1999.
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.