'RocknRolla' is a joyous adrenaline rush of action and crime

Category: RocknRolla Reviews | Posted by: admin
Article Date: October 10, 2008 | Publication: Carroll County Times | Author: Bill Goodykootz
Publication/Article Link:Carroll County Times

Go with what you know.

Isn't that the artist's mantra? It should be Guy Ritchie's. He's taking a pounding in the British press for "RocknRolla," his return to fast-talking Cockney crime films. Too derivative of his good movies, they say (meaning "Snatch" and "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels"), but at least better than his bad ones (meaning "Revolver" and, especially, "Swept Away," which starred his wife, Madonna).

Yeah, well. Everybody's got to complain about something. But why complain about this? "RocknRolla," while not the most original movie ever made, is still a blast, an adrenaline rush of punked-out, rock-and-roll-fueled action and crime.

The film centers around a crooked real-estate deal, as much as it centers around anything. The real point of the story is for British actors to look and sound cool while they're ripping each other off and tearing each other up.

Tom Wilkinson plays Lenny, an old-school crime boss who's getting in business with a Russian billionaire, Uri (Karel Roden).

Also hanging around are lower-level hoods known as the Wild Bunch: One-Two (Gerard Butler), Mumbles (Idris Elba) and Handsome Bob (Tom Hardy), as well as Uri's accountant, Stella (Thandie Newton).

There's more. A junkie rocker, Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbell), is presumed dead, but that happens with him every few months. Instead, he's alive, addicted and has stolen a painting that is crucial to the plot - as is his lineage: He's Lenny's stepson. He drags his promoters (Jeremey Piven and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges) into the mess, if inadvertently.

The story is narrated here and there by Archie (Mark Strong), Lenny's loyal second-in-command.

There are plenty of twists and turns, but the plot isn't the strength of the film. The adrenaline is.