It's impossible to outline the plot, as it involves countless characters in various scams, crosses and double crosses, heists both fiercely intelligent and bone-crushingly misjudged, and more than a little dumb luck. The central character is Turkish (Statham), who with his partner Tommy (Graham) navigates through a sea of crime bosses, fixed boxing matches and threats of violence, all the while getting deeper into trouble. Meanwhile, there's a parallel story involving an 84-carat diamond that should pass simply from a courier (Del Toro) to a fence (Reid) to a New York buyer (Farina), but en route gets caught up in serious mayhem in London.
Ritchie somehow juggles the people and plotlines coherently; we almost understand who everyone is, and we can just about keep the various story strands separate. It helps to have familiar faces like Pitt (nicely rehashing his Fight Club fist-fighter with an impenetrable Irish-Gypsy accent) and Jones (terrific as a legendary crime figure). And there are lots of memorable characters, including an increasingly cranky mobster (Ford), an unstoppable Russian thug (Sherbedgia) and a group of hapless lowlifes (Gee, James, Ade and Goldie). We also have Ritchie's now-trademark visual verve, an eye-catching collage of effects, titles, crosscutting, crashing edits, and so on. It looks absolutely marvellous, and keeps us riveted from start to finish (well, we have to pay attention just to keep up). It's just a pity that there's nothing to the characters. It's a "let's all get together and have fun making a movie" kind of movie. There's no one we even remotely identify with, so it doesn't engage us on any gut level at all. Breezy, efficient fun ... nothing more.
[18--violence, language, adult themes and situations] 3.Aug.00
UK release 1.Sep.00; US release 19.Jan.01
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