You can watch an astronomical amount of films — the good, the great and the classics — yet it is difficult to classify Guy Ritchie’s storytelling style. ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’ was the novelty that introduced us to a style of cinema deriving distinction from the notion of how an ordinary tale can be turned into a powerful tool of entertainment by complicating the narrative to a point that induces absolute astonishment.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels explores the gravitating coincidences that are set in motion by the simplest of aspirations. The characters Eddy (Nick Moran), Soap (Dexter Fletcher), Tom (Jason Flemyng) and Bacon (Jason Statham) and their gamble of earning big and quick forms the launchpad for the concatenation of conflicting interests that transpires henceforth. The film starts off with the four’s crafty plan of betting £100,000 and hopefully winning in ‘Hatchet’ Harry’s three card brag game using Eddy’s unusually gifted genius at cards. Thematically, ‘Hatchet’ Harry aspires to dupe the boys and in the process acquire control of Eddy’s father’s bar. The game is deliberated to make Eddy lose out all his money and ending up as roadkill to Harry’s plan. At this point, the mercurial character of Big Chris (Vinnie Jones) partnering with his son Little Chris are brought into play in the role of recovery agents of Hatchet Harry.
In a separate entity of events, Hatchet Harry sets his enforcer Barry the Baptist on the pursuit of procuring 2 antique rifles. The hired goons Gary and Dean tasked to do the job prove to be highly incompetent and eventually sell the rifles to Nick the Greek, who incidentally are associated with the Eddy and gang on some shady deals.
In the third entity of events, Rory, a drug dealer swindles Nick the Greek into low-balling an accidental stash of marijuana grown by Winston (Steven Mckintosh) and his friends. Subsequently, Eddy eavesdrops on his notorious neighbours discovering their plan to loot a drug den. The four hatch a plan of their own to embezzle the loot and pay off the hovering debt on their heads. For the heck of it, they end up buying two rifles from Nick.
The plan is executed successfully with minor hindrances in the form of a gang member being killed and a policeman being abducted and rendered unconscious. On reaching their place, Eddy and his friends secure the loot from them in an effortless coup. The success of Eddy’s plan prompts the group to go celebrating in his father’s bar. Meanwhile, Rory lays siege on Eddy’s apartment enraged by the notion that he was cheated.
The culmination of sequence occur when Rory and Eddy’s neighbour confront each other ensuing a mayhem of shootout leaving a trail of bodies with just Dog with the guns and cash and Winston with the drugs left out alive. As Dog is leaving he gets strong-armed by Big Chris into relinquishing his possessions. Big Chris being the loyal servant he is delivers the package to Harry. Without Chris’s knowledge Gary and Dean follow him to Harry’s place where they in their absolute stupidity manage to kill Harry, Barry and luckily themselves. Big Chris on making the delivery returns to his car only to find Dog with a knife to Little Chris’s throat. To assuage the situation he crashes the car into Eddy’s car where Eddy having just recovered the guns and money from dead Harry is about to embark upon his victory sprint.
The film ends in a climactic stage wherein Chris walks off with all that he couldn’t have ever imagined and Eddy and gang are left with 2 antique guns and zero culpability. However, the penultimate speckle of chaos eventuates when the fate of the guns is in Tom’s hands without him knowing their value, about to drop it in the river and the only way he can know is through the ringing cell in his mouth at the other end of which his friends are calling him to inform him of their stupendous luck.
Frankly, a prosaic description is just reductive in the sense it cannot truly encompass the essence of the film, though it is enough to make a person who hasn’t watched it give that little nudge it takes to commit to the film. To those who already have, well, you know what I’m talking about.