Sometimes a film will come my way that I’ve never heard anything about, but that’s not really that out of the ordinary because of how many never make it to theatres or into the mainstream. There are some that end up good and others that could be used to wipe my…a-hem; you get the idea. RocknRolla is a film that had been in theatres for a short period of time and didn’t really do all that well, but I only now that because of research done. It is a film that had its name make way into my ears once or twice but I know absolutely nothing about it. When it hit my mailbox, it was as much a stranger to me as is everyone in North Dakota. There are instances though when going into a film totally ignorant is a good thing.
Lenny Cole has long been a crime kingpin and he is slowly losing his reign of dominance but he knows it. Still though he’s the go-to guy that people head to whenever they need something. Lenny realizes something needs to be done and therefore gets into cahoots with a Russian billionaire that know where the real money in the world is and that’s in real estate. REAL ESTATE? Yes, real estate. A tip from a helpful accountant by the name of Stella makes its way through the crime syndicate that lets them all see a legit life could be the answer to all their financial troubles. Money starts to change hands illegally and legally which brings about a bunch of hired thugs including One Two, Handsome Bob, and Mumbles; music promoters Mickey and Roman; as well as Lenny’s man for hire, Archie. Things get all out of order and signals get mixed making for a lot of dirty money and dangerous situations that intertwines everyone in a world of crime…and real estate.
I’m not totally sure yet how I feel about RocknRolla but I do like the fact that virtually everyone in the film is a bad guy. Come on, how many films do you see where there is nothing but villains and not really any good guys to root for? That is just awesome. All they want to do is get the money and it doesn’t really matter if they go against people they’ve worked with for years because money rules all. Director Guy Ritchie makes it a point to let the audience know that every single person is plotting against the next one and that makes for a lot of fun because you don’t get the awkward pair-ups that usually end up pissing you off. Here you’re either going to grab the money and run or get killed and have it taken from you. Straight up.
Why I’m not sure how I feel about this film is because it’s just kind of there. Yeah it has the coolness factor of everyone being against one another, but after that it breaks down to being a crime flick that has people wanting money. Been there, done that, wrote the review. There is a ton of violence and an awful lot of deaths that will surely keep any action junkie salivating and foaming at the mouth. Guns, explosions, fights, and more leave nothing on the table and plenty of bruises, wounds, and blood out in the open for all to see. Maybe I was just expecting a bit more of a story after the first half of the film and learning about Lenny’s relationship with the Russian in a deal that involved Lenny actually getting his own money back to pay off debts he owed. Seems smart, but left me a bit frustrated at times.
RocknRolla is surprisingly lackluster in its visual performance. Presented in 2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen; images are sharp but the colors are overly drab throughout the film and obviously noticeable. I’m not quite sure if this was intentional or not because it seems to be this way throughout the whole film, but it just kind of took me aback and bothered me.
The film is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound which kicks in big time during some more of the action scenes and really takes full advantage of the full set of speakers. Dialogue can be heard well at all times although you may need to lend a closer ear due to some of the heavy accents, but that has nothing to do with actual quality.
Audio Commentary – Director and writer Guy Richie teams up with actor Mark Strong for a commentary track that ends up being rather dull. They talk a bit about what is happening on screen from time to time and just a little behind the scenes conversation every once in a while. Nothing too impressive or informative is given at all.
Additional Scene – A single deleted scene is given here and considering it runs only about two minutes, I don’t see why they didn’t just leave it in.
Blokes, Birds, And Backhanders – Perhaps this can be called a “making of” featurette, but it’s one of those that has the cast and crew basically summarizing the plot of the film. A little bit of behind the camera stuff is shown and a ton of clips straight from the film. Rather disappointing. (15:03)
Guy’s Town – This featurette runs through the different locations in London the film was shot at and some of the crew discuss their history with the locales. (8:32)
Trailers – Appaloosa, Body Of Lies
RocknRolla is far from a mindless action flick, but it could have been a lot better then it actually is. Some may find it as brilliance with a lot of action-packed sequences thrown in and to an extent, that is rather accurate. It’s just not nearly as brilliant as it could have been and almost was. There are some cool performances and a nice storyline but I found myself just disinterested after too long and that made me not care nearly as much about it as I probably should have. A handful of special features keep this Blu-ray release from getting any more thrilling so I’m on the fence here with this whole thing so get it, don’t get it, your call. I’ll bet you there will be some nights that my opinion changes and it will be better while others will be right back at this medium level. Oh well. Could I sound any more somber and blah about this?
Warner Home Video presents RocknRolla. Directed by: Guy Ritchie. Starring: Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Thandie Newton, Mark Strong, Jeremy Piven, Tom Hardy, Toby Kebbell, Chris Bridges, Idris Elba. Written by: Guy Ritchie. Running time: 114 minutes. Rating: R. Released on DVD: January 27, 2009. Available at Amazon.com