Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is a 1998 British black comedy crime film written and directed by Guy Ritchie, produced by Matthew Vaughn and starring an ensemble cast featuring Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Moran, Steven Mackintosh and Sting, with Vinnie Jones and Jason Statham in their feature film debuts.
The story describes a heist involving a self-confident young card sharp who loses £500,000 to a powerful crime lord in a rigged game of three-card brag. 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 Ritchie international acclaim and introduced former Wales international footballer Jones and former diver Statham to worldwide audiences. It was also a commercial success, grossing over $28 million at the box office against a $1.35 million budget.
A British television series, Lock, Stock..., followed in 2000, running for seven episodes including the pilot.
Long-time friends and small-time London criminals Eddie, Tom, Soap, and Bacon put together £100,000 so that Eddie, a genius card sharp, can participate in one of "Hatchet" Harry Lonsdale's high-stakes three-card brag games. The game ultimately ends up being rigged and the quartet wind up owing £500,000 to Harry, who assigns his debt collector Big Chris to ensure that the quartet pay it within a week. Chris visits Eddie's father JD, who rejects Harry's true intentions of acquiring his bar to pay off the debt.
Also interested in two expensive antique Holland & Holland shotguns up for auction, Harry gets his enforcer Barry "the Baptist" to hire two thieves, Gary and Dean, to steal them from a bankrupt lord. After the highly incompetent thieves unwittingly sell them to Nick "the Greek", a local fence, Barry threatens the pair into retrieving the guns. Eddie returns home one day and overhears his neighbours, a gang of robbers led by a brutal man called "Dog", planning a heist on some cannabis growers loaded with cash and drugs. He notifies the others in the group about his findings, and they unanimously decide to rob the neighbours as they return from their heist. Preparing for the robbery, Tom visits Nick and ends up buying the guns.
The neighbours execute their heist, and despite a gang member's death by his own Bren gun and an incriminating encounter with a traffic warden, they succeed, returning with a duffel bag full of money and a van loaded with bags of cannabis. Eddie and his friends ambush them and escape in the neighbours' van containing the cannabis and the warden. They transfer the loot to their own van and return home, incapacitating the warden and dumping him by the road before ordering Nick to fence the drugs to violent gangster Rory Breaker. Rory agrees to buy the cannabis at half price but two of his men visit the house of the growers, discover that they have been robbed and the cannabis he just bought had been stolen from his own growers. Rory threatens Nick into giving him Eddie's address and tasks one of the growers, Winston, to identify the robbers.
While the friends celebrate at JD's bar, Dog's crew accidentally learns of the robbery and sets up an ambush in Eddie's flat. Rory and his gang arrive instead and in an ensuing shoot-out, all except Dog and Winston are killed. Winston leaves with the drugs, while Dog leaves with the guns and the cash but Big Chris incapacitates him and confiscates everything. Gary and Dean, having learned who bought the guns, follow Chris to Harry's place, completely unaware of the latter pair's relationship.
Chris delivers the money and guns to Harry but returns to his car to find Dog holding his son Little Chris at knifepoint, demanding the cash be returned to him. Chris complies and starts the car. Gary and Dean burst into Harry's office, and the ensuing confrontation results in their deaths along with his and Barry's. Returning to see the carnage at their flat and their loot missing, the friends head to the office but upon discovering his corpse, they take the money for themselves. Before they can depart, Chris crashes into their car to disable Dog and then fatally bludgeons him with his car door. He then retrieves the debt money from the unconscious quartet but allows Tom to leave with the guns after a brief stand-off.
The friends are arrested but soon acquitted after the warden identifies Dog and his crew as the culprits. Back at the bar, they dispatch Tom to discard the guns, as it is the only remaining evidence linking them to the case. Chris then arrives to return the bag, from which he has taken all the cash for himself and his son and which now contains a catalogue of antique weapons. Leafing through the catalogue, the friends learn that the shotguns are actually far more valuable than they had realised and quickly call Tom to dissuade him from disposing of them. The film ends with Tom leaning over Southwark Bridge, with his mobile phone ringing in his mouth, as he prepares to drop the guns into the River Thames.
The soundtrack to the film was released in 1998 in the United Kingdom by Island Records. Madonna's Maverick Records label released the soundtrack in the United States in 1999 but omitted nine tracks from the UK release.
* Track omitted from 1999 US release.
The production of the film followed Guy Ritchie's single short film which preceded Lock, Stock. As stated in filmscouts.com:
Although it was Ritchie's first feature, his previous short film The Hard Case was sufficiently impressive to secure interest not only from financial backers but also persuaded Sting to take the role of JD. "I'd seen Guy's short film and was excited by the pace and energy in it. The way in which he handles violence and action appealed to me. I don't like gratuitous violence. I think it's much more chilling when it's suggested rather than graphic." For Ritchie, getting exactly the right actor for each role was essential. "The casting took forever and we auditioned hundreds of people, but I was determined to hold out until we got the real McCoy." This led to employing several genuine ex-cons, who certainly invest the film with its menacing undertones. Ritchie also looked to the celebrity arena to secure the right cast such as Vinnie Jones. "I didn't hesitate in casting Vinnie as I have the most incredible respect for his acting capabilities."
A one-hour documentary of the production of the film was released featuring much of the cast along with Ritchie.
Locations include Shoreditch for the gang hideout and Clerkenwell for JD's bar.
The film was released on 28 August 1998 in the United Kingdom and was the second-highest grossing local production for the year behind Sliding Doors with a gross of $18.9 million. It was released on 5 March 1999 in the United States, where its total gross was $3,753,929 (equivalent to $6,594,497 in 2022).
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 75% based on 67 reviews, with an average rating of 6.70/10. The site's critical consensus reads "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels is a grimy, twisted, and funny twist on the Tarantino hip gangster formula". On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 66 out of 100 based on 30 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
John Ferguson, writing for the Radio Times, called the film "the best British crime movie since The Long Good Friday". Roger Ebert, in his review for Chicago Sun-Times, wrote: "Lock, Stock, etc. seems more like an exercise in style than anything else. And so it is. We don't care much about the characters (I felt more actual affection for the phlegmatic bouncer, Barry the Baptist, than for any of the heroes). We realize that the film's style stands outside the material and is lathered on top (there are freeze frames, jokey subtitles, speed-up and slo-mo). And that the characters are controlled by the demands of the clockwork plot. But 'Lock, Stock' is fun, in a slapdash way; it has an exuberance, and in a time when movies follow formulas like zombies, it's alive".
The film was nominated for a British Academy Film Award in 1998 for the outstanding British Film of the Year. In 2000, Ritchie won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Motion Picture Screenplay. In 2004, Total Film named it the 38th greatest British film of all time. In 2016, Empire magazine ranked Lock, Stock 75th on their list of the 100 best British films, with their entry stating, “to call the plot "complex" is to do it a disservice – it's all so slickly done, delivered with such balls-out confidence and written with such an amazing turn of phrase that somehow the convoluted to-ing-and-froing works like clockwork. So well, in fact, that over 18 years later, it remains Ritchie's finest film, a fantastic achievement from a first-time director who took a group of meticulously-cast but relatively unknown actors and spun them into solid fackin' gold.”
Focus Features released the Locked n' Loaded Director's Cut in 2006. This version of the film contains more of each of the characters' backstories, and runs at a total time of 120 minutes.
A spin-off television series, co-written by Ritchie was developed for Channel 4. The show featured a new cast of characters: Moon, Jamie, Bacon, and Lee (portrayed by Daniel Caltagirone, Scott Maslen, Shaun Parkes, and Del Synnott, respectively); who comedically fail at various criminal business ventures, similar to the cast of the feature film. Lock, Stock... aired from May 29 through July 11, 2000.
Owlapps.net - since 2012 - Les chouettes applications du hibou