Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is a 1998 British crime film directed and written by Guy Ritchie. The story is a heist film involving a self-confident young card sharp who loses £500,000 to a powerful crime lord in a rigged game of three card brag. In order to pay off his debts, he and his friends decide to rob a small-time gang who happen to be operating out of the flat next door. The film brought Guy Ritchie international acclaim and introduced actors Vinnie Jones, a former Welsh international footballer, and Jason Statham to worldwide audiences.




PLOT SUMMARY

Long-time friends Bacon (Jason Statham), Soap (Dexter Fletcher), Tom (Jason Flemyng), and Eddy (Nick Moran) put together £100,000 so that Eddy, a genius at cards, can use the money to pay the entree fee into one Harry “The Hatchet” Lonsdale’s (P. H. Moriarty) weekly high-stakes three card brag game. Harry learns that Eddy is card savant from his bodyguard Barry “the Baptist” (Lenny McLean). Knowing that he cannot win he decides to fix the game. He does so by putting a camera in the table that allows him to read Eddy’s cards, and have Barry “The Baptist” send via morse code what he, Barry, learns by watching the video feed on a monitor in another room. When Eddy loses, Harry demands the £500,000 now owed to be paid to him within a week. Knowing that Eddy and the others have slim chances of raising half a million pounds within a week, he pulls Eddy’s father’s bar into the deal as an alternative, in an attempt to get his own revenge on Eddy’s father. Barry the Baptist tells Eddy that he will remove a finger from each of the four friends for every day the debt is overdue.

After several days with no luck acquiring the funds, Eddy returns home and overhears his neighbours, a gang of thieves led by a man named Dog, planning a heist on some marijuana growers supposedly loaded with cash and drugs. Eddy relays this information to the group, intending for them to rob the neighbours as they come back from their heist. They install taping equipment to record the conversations of their neighbours. Tom acquires a pair of antique shotguns from an underground dealer, known as Nick “the Greek” (Stephen Marcus), who also strikes a deal with Rory Breaker, a gangster and sociopath, to buy the stolen drugs. Nick had purchased the guns from a pair of bungling small-time criminals, Gary and Dean (Victor McGuire and Jake Abraham), who had stolen them from a bankrupt lord as part of a job for Harry Lonsdale, not realizing that of the entire stolen firearms collection, his only desire was the two antique shotguns. After learning the guns had been sold, an enraged Barry threatens the two into getting them back.

The neighbours’ heist gets under way; despite a gang member being killed by his own Bren Gun, and an incriminating encounter with a traffic warden, the job is a success. On returning to their flat, the gang is ambushed by the four friends, who take the loot and return later that night to stash the goods next door, before celebrating with a wild night of drinking. Rory Breaker (Vas Blackwood) discovers that the drugs he was going to purchase were stolen from him, as the marijuana growers were in his employ. Rory interrogates Nick into revealing where the four friends live, and enlists one of the chemists to identify the robbers. Meanwhile, furious about their loss, Dog throws one of his men through the wall of their flat and discovers the taping equipment and eventually the stolen goods. While he counts the money, his men prepare an ambush. Gary and Dean, trying to recover the antique shotguns, call Nick, who directs them to the same address, while Big Chris (Vinnie Jones), Harry’s debt collector, departs with his son to the same destination, and the four friends drive home from the bar.

Rory and his gang assault the flat and have a shootout with the neighbours, resulting in the deaths of all but Dog and the lone chemist, the former taking off with the marijuana. Dog is mugged by Big Chris of the shotguns and money during his escape; Gary and Dean hastily follow Big Chris, while the four friends return to find their loot missing. Big Chris gives the guns and cash to Harry, but on his return finds Dog threatening to kill his son if he doesn’t retrieve the loot. Desperate to get the guns, Gary and Dean attack Harry and Barry at their office, realizing their mistake as they kill each other. The four friends arrive, find everyone dead, and take the cash back. Big Chris suddenly crashes into their car to disable Dog, then brutally bludgeons him to death with his car door. He takes the debt money back from the unconscious friends but allows Tom to leave with the antique shotguns.

The friends are arrested, but declared innocent after the traffic warden identified Dog’s dead gang as the prime suspects. The four reunite at Eddy’s father’s bar and decide that Tom should dispose of the shotguns, which are the only remaining pieces of evidence that links them to the crimes. After Tom leaves, Big Chris arrives to admit he is keeping the debt money for himself and his son, but instead gives them an antique guns catalogue, which reveals that the antique shotguns were each worth a fortune. They quickly call Tom, and the film ends in a both literal and figurative cliffhanger when Tom’s mobile phone starts ringing as he hangs over the side of a bridge, preparing to drop the shotguns into the River Thames and he has to decide whether to answer the phone or drop the guns into the river.

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FILM SUBLIMINALS

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First Published: Jan 9, 2012  –  Last Updated: Nov 27, 2012