Heaven knows there's enough drama involving Guy Ritchie in the tabloids to give a person pause before shelling out for his new film, RocknRolla, especially considering the train wreck that was his last Stateside release, 2002's Swept Away.
Happily, however, Ritchie has returned to the winning form of Snatch with his latest, and brought some new faces into the fold. Topping them all is a wonderfully menacing Tom Wilkinson as Lenny Cole, the most powerful son-of-a-bitch in London.
As told in voiceover by his second-in-command Archie (Mark Strong, as good here as in Body of Lies), Lenny's latest conquest ends up involving a deal with the Russian mob, a local gang led by Gerard Butler secretly working with the Russians' accountant (Thandie Newton) to rob them, and a painting stolen by Lenny's rocker stepson (Toby Kebbell), who's presumed dead but is apparently as hard to kill as the mob's henchmen.
In other words, it's a typically twisted, convoluted narrative for Ritchie.
Just past the halfway point it can be a little tough to keep up with, and the similarities to Richie's most popular work can weigh on you, but not much. Sure, it may be one more whiplash ride through the London underworld set to a must-buy soundtrack, but it's also a hoot.