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Formula 51 (2002)
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Review Date: October 16, 2002
Director: Ronny Yu
Writer: Stel Pavlou
Producers: Jonathan Debin, Andras Hamori
Actors:
Samuel L. Jackson
Robert Carlyle
Emily Mortimer
Plot:
An aging hippie chemist invents a new drug that will apparently "take over" the club scene and scoots on over to England to cut a deal. One thing leads to another and the next thing you know, he's got La Femme Nikita on his ass and a huge soccer fan as his partner. One Bad Mofo in a kilt...ensues.
Critique:
What starts off interestingly enough, with mucho style, a slick sounding soundtrack and the Samuel L. Jackson ability to make even a kilt look cool, ultimately gets boring with bad dialogue, lame plot turns and too many over-the-top annoying bad guys to gel as an entertaining whole (not to mention a shitty title). In fact, if any of the characters other than Jackson and Begbie (aka Robert Carlyle) were even a tiny bit engaging/believable, I might actually have enjoyed this film quite a smidgen more, but unfortunately, all we get is shite like Meat Loaf playing a dude named "The Lizard" (does anyone still think these names are cool?), who not only is as one-dimensional and loud as they come, but also comes packed with the most annoying Seinfeld-ish habit of constantly referring to himself in the third person ("The Lizard thinks that you should bring the drugs back otherwise the Lizard will be very upset"). Ugh. Where's Bitch-Tits Bob when you need him? But The Lizard isn't the only casualty in this film's acting sidelines with a generic "bad cop" also doing the rounds with his fattie partner, a bunch of idiotic skinheads rousting about (one of them even has the word "skins" tattooed on his forehead (I'm not kidding!)), and Rhys Ifans giving Mr. Loaf a run for his money as the most irritating jerk-off villain that you'd never want to meet. Needless to say...he succeeds!! What even "funnier" about his bozo is that even he knows that he's annoying as hell and actually admits to it at some point (and by the way, am I supposed to believe that this fool has $20 million just lying around like that? Gimme a break, Nel!). Ugh again.

Looking back, I assume that the filmmakers were trying to put together a SNATCH-like gang of roughnecks, with the main difference being that most of Guy Ritchie's tough guys are actual tough guys who deliver funny and convincing dialogue. None of these paperweights interested me in the least bit and ultimately took me out of the film's simplistic story. Yes, Sam Jackson is still as cool as they come (and even gives us a little Sharon Stone/BASIC INSTINCT leg/skirt action), Carlyle says the c-word better than anyone I know and the babe assassin is a definite cutie-pie (although I couldn't figure out if she looked more like a skinny Shannon Doherty or a meaty Demi Moore-great ass, by the way), but at the end of the day, there just weren't enough things that clicked in the film for me to recommend it in theaters. A couple of weak laughs, one pretty happenin' shoot-out/action scene early on and some heavily stylized directing just weren't enough to make up for the idiotic bad guys, the lame plotline and the horrible ending (the resolution inside a stadium loge is one of the most embarrassing scenes that I've witnessed all year-what were they thinking?). If you wanna see it for Jackson acting cool in a kilt, well...I'm certainly not gonna hold you back, but he deserves much better than this two-bit attempt at a "cool" movie...he deserves to be in an actual cool movie! Now I'm not gonna come over to your house and play human punch-bag with your head if you rent this puppy, just don't expect Sam Jackson to be walking around in an afro, smoking a joint and showing us his sweet ass or anything (Doh! Actually, he does all three of those things in this film, but other than that, it's weak...believe me...please!). The Lizard thinks JoBlo sucks the big one.
(c) 2015 Berge Garabedian
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