This is something like my third update regarding Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla, and I still have to reacquaint myself with the premise every time I write about it. Couple that with the fact that I never thought Ritchie was all that great to begin with, and you’ll understand why I’m down on this follow-up to the Gigli of British crime-cum-Kabbalah films, Revolver*.
And yet there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be a perfectly entertaining movie so long as Ritchie gives up on the notion that he might be more than his generation’s Mike Hodges (which ain’t a bad thing at all). And he’s got a better-than-average shot at pulling off a better-than-average caper flick now that he’s cast Gerard Butler, Idris "Stringer Bell" Elba and Tom Wilkinson in this movie about a lucrative land deal gone bad. That said, he has hamstrung himself a bit with the solid but blandly beautiful Thandie Newton and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges (the latter’s inclusion reminding us that this is a Joel Silver production).
But casting isn’t that big of an issue with Ritchie, who somehow got a sublimely sexy performance out of his wife in the over-hated Swept Away. It’s the writing that’ll kick his ass if he’s not careful, so let’s hope he’s given up trying to proselytize us in the name of Jewish mysticism and focuses on writing a straight-up, guns-out gangster picture. RocknRolla began shooting last week in London and will be distributed in the U.S. next year by Warner Brothers.
*One day, I’ll go to the mat for Gigli as an above-average clusterfuck of a movie.