For several years now, I’ve believed I’m one of Guy Ritchie’s biggest fans. Obviously, Madonna comes first, but let’s say I’m in the first 10, OK?
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch are some of my all-time favorite crime comedies. Most critics find these formulaic, but hey, that’s what makes them such good comedies. This is Spinal Tap is formulaic too and this only adds humor.
I also like complicated plots. As long as the beat’s all right, I’ll watch all night. Both of Ritchie’s previous “crimes” are high energy pieces that are fun to watch.
Now, Ritchie’s lost it.
I have no other explanation. Revolver shares many common elements with Ritchie’s previous movies, yet, all the shots are blanks.
The movie starts with an aphorism on war. Then another. And a third. I didn’t know what to make of them so I welcome the sight of Jake Green (Jason Statham) as he’s released from prison. It appears, he spent the last 7 years in solitary confinement (wrongfully accused too). His only company were his two neighbors (solitarily confined as well): one a chess master, one a top con artist.
Jake is under the impression that being in between these two great minds, he got the formula for the con of all cons. He could be right as in no time he manages to get himself a ton of cash from casino owner, Macha (Ray Liotta).
It’ll be naïve to think that Ritchie will stop here in terms of the plot: Jake (good) vs. Macha (evil). Macha predictably orders a hit on Jake. Jake survives because of two mysterious guys, Zack(Vincent Pastore) and Avi (Andre Benjamin).
This is where the movie starts its downward spiral. The dialog leading up to this point wasn’t spectacular either but now the whole movie bogs down. There are a few notable scenes but they’re rare and far in between: Jake’s brother being nailed to the table; a hitman who turns “good” and proceeds to kill all the bad guys… Well, that’s it.
With Revolver, Ritchie’s playing double or quits. I do admire him for his courage to go the same route for a third time BUT make it a mystery/con/transcendal movie. He didn’t want to repeat Snatch verbatim, so he took a more different approach. Well, it doesn’t work so maybe he’ll do something different next time.
Speaking of next time, I suggest he teams up with his mate Matthew Vaughn. They did an incredible job in Lock, Stock and Snatch. Since they parted ways, Matthew Vaughn did the equally bad Layer Cake. If I have to really compare the two, however, Revolver is much, much worse.
Ritchie’s third time unlucky – the movie still doesn’t have a US Distributor! Or maybe, that’s luck – pure and simple. This movie is best kept as far away from the first two movies as possible; preferably swept under a rug.
Update: Some of the comments below seem a bit extreme. Before you post another, please check my recent post on my comments on the Revolver review. I do believe that that any Revolver explanation will fall short, whatever Cabalah you’ve been reading. For some quality entertainment, check out Steve Ballmer’s Developers video.