Sunday, January 30, 2005

Formula 51

Have you ever watched a movie that knew exactly what it wanted to be and wallowed in it? Welcome To The Jungle? Dog Soldiers? Well add Formula 51, or The 51st State as it was known pretty much anywhere but Australia, to the list. It is the story of Elmo McElroy (Samuel L. Jackson). He's a pharmacist who made a mistake in 1971, and now works for a drugs Kingpin. He's come up with this formula for a superdrug and wants to sell it for a whole bunch of money. In order to do that, he blows up the people who he was working for (except The Lizard [Meat Loaf]) and scooting off to England. Enter Felix DeSouza (Robert Carlyle), a Liverpuddlian gangster who is brokering the deal so that he can get tickets to a Man U vs. Liverpool football match.

And then the shit hits the fan.

Lots of people die, mostly at the hand of the very yummy Dakota Phillips (Emily Mortimer) who, as well as being The Lizard's hitwoman, is also Felix's ex. There's a nutbar skinhead who gets to be everyone's bitch and a nasty, crooked cop (Sean Pertwee) who's in it for himself and is very mean to his partner.

The swearing, violence and blood are in fair supply here, as are the snazzy lines and tricky camera work one would expect from this sort of comedy gangster film. It's true that there really may not be anything new on offer, but what there is on offer makes use of the things we've seen before in a slick and well-realised way. We were literally clapping on more than one occasion and when Samuel L. gets his umbrella, you're going to be cringing. But in a good way.

4 very happy stars out of 5.


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