***.3 GM
Starring: Jason Statham, Stephen Graham, Brad Pitt, Alan Ford, Dennis Farina, Vinnie Jones, Ade, Lennie James, Robbie Gee, Benicio Del Toro


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Now this was a lot of fun.

I enjoyed the Lock, the Stock and the Two Smoking Barrels, Guy Ritchie's first film, so it was resonable to expect that I'd dig this one. A lot of films try to be Pulp Fictiony, but seldom do any of them pull it off with any sort of skill beyond mimicry. But Ritchie keeps it a bit more uptempo and has a lot of British guys in it, so it's different enough not to be an annoying ripoff, but similar enough to be funny and entertaining.

This might have had a slight edge over Lock Stock for me simply because having Dennis Farina in it meant there was one less character I had to occasionally struggle to understand due to thick foreign accents (since I'm a stupid Yank bastard), but Lock Stock has an edge over this in the fact that, having SEEN it, I was pretty much able to predict that Brad Pitt's caravan-selling pikeys were going to get the best of the nefarious Brick Top (Alan Ford) and his thugs in some seriously violent fashion. Lock Stock has the originality and surprise advantage from not knowing what to expect, but that Snatch prediction wasn't a 'yawner.' It was an eXistenZ kinda prediction - meaning I figured it was coming and that's exactly what I WANTED to have happen. It's a bit scarce these days to actually have a villain you root against, since most of them tend to get all charismatic and funny. Brick Top is a bastard, and a gruesome one at that, so it's great when he gets his.

I loved the fiddling with chronology in this one, when all the random storylines coincide with traffic accidents and what-not. It's just funny to see this stuff come together, as ridiculous as it gets, because none of these guys are invincible villains or anything - they're just a bunch of underhanded schmucks trying to get a job done, and they trip over themselves and each other all the time - which is dangerous when you carry guns around a lot.

Vinnie Jones, who kicked ass in Lock Stock, is back as Bullet Tooth Tony, still kicking ass. Jason Statham's great as Turkish, the understated unlicensed boxing promoter that doubles as the narrator, the bookies (Robbie Gee and Lennie James) with their Disorderlies driver Tyrone (Ade) are funny jewel experts thrust into the world of armed robbery without a clue about how to go about it, and Pitt's pretty funny in "12 Monkeys" form, jabbering incoherenly and basically acting like Tyler Durden after about ten years of fight clubs and whiskey causing irrevocable brain damage.

Everybody does a great job keeping up the pace and making sure things are light enough to be hilarious, but scary enough to be exciting. Here's hoping Ritchie doesn't put Madonna in his next movie and throw everything off. But I gotta love the guy for making radio commercial voice-overs jovially say "AOL Keyword: Snatch!"

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