DVD Reviews - Rocknrolla

Category: RocknRolla Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: January 27, 2009 | Publication: The Star | Author: Peter Howell
Publication/Article Link:http://www.thestar.com/Entertainment/article/577694

The latest from the former Mr. Madonna, writer/director Guy Ritchie, is the one charitable souls are calling a return to form, because it earnestly apes the amusing anarchy that used to come so easily to him.

Retreads include the crazy quilt of characters, the unintelligible gangster plot (and even more impenetrable accents), the eccentric interludes (killer crayfish, anyone?) and the violence that occasionally strays from the gratuitous to the grotesque. Sometimes it amounts to a laugh or two.

Ritchie has timing on his side. The current economic meltdown brought on by bad mortgages fits nicely with his opening gambit, in which two-bit hood One Two (Gerard Butler, well cast in a comic role) foolishly attempts to make a killing in London real estate, along with his pals Mumbles (Idris Elba) and Handsome Bob (Tom Hardy).

Their first mistake was spending money they don't have; their biggest was borrowing it from Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson), a crook with major political connections who deliberately screws the real-estate deal, partly so he can force One Two's crew to do a job for him.

Needless to say, nothing proceeds as planned. Scams and counter-scams involve a sexy accountant (Thandie Newton), a crooked Russian billionaire (Karel Roden), two clueless rock promoters (Jeremy Piven and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges) and a rare painting that everyone seems to want but which the audience never sees. Ritchie's big joke is that while a gangster might be happy just getting rich, a rocknrolla "wants the f---ing lot."

Extras include a commentary by Ritchie and actor Mark Strong (they vow not to "get too much on your tits"), plus a featurette about London called Guy's Town and one deleted scene.

2.5 stars of 4