`RocknRolla' a solid comeback for director Ritchie

Category: RocknRolla Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: November 14, 2008 | Publication: The Kalamazoo Gazette | Author: John Serba
Publication/Article Link:http://www.mlive.com/entertainment/kzgazette/index.ssf?/base/features-0/1226677831105720.xml&coll=7

Two Russian heavies are sitting in a truck.

They're comparing scars -- this one's from barbed wire, this one's a gunshot wound, this is from when my arm was caught in tank treads. Because armored cars would give an air of legitimacy to a business transaction occurring in the skeezy, sleazy London underworld, these are the kind of guys you'd want escorting large amounts of cash.

You'd think these are just throwaway characters, but they're the setup for a great joke in ``RocknRolla'': If you're looking to snatch that dough, these are two hooligans you don't want to mess with. The unwitting holdup men are dubbed the Wild Bunch -- One Two (Gerard Butler), Mumbles (Idris Alba) and Handsome Bob (Tom Hardy) -- whose smash-and-grab scheme doesn't go as planned and subsequently becomes one of the most exciting action sequences put on celluloid all year.

It's a piece of film as electrified and intense as it is hysterically funny, evidence writer/director Guy Ritchie -- he of post-modern Brit gangster flicks ``Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels'' and ``Snatch'' -- is back on track after several years of creative floundering. ``RocknRolla'' is another clever, crackling, convoluted crook-vs.-crook caper, crisply edited and visually arresting.

Ritchie leaves us wondering who, exactly, his characters are at heart. But like such witty genre exercises, most everything they do and say has style and panache and, therefore, entertainment value.