In RocknRolla, Guy Ritchie returns to his old directorial stomping grounds: English hoodlums, rock music and flashy camera work.  The premise is a little convoluted: A group of hoods called “The Wild Bunch” have been screwed over by a bigger hood named Lenny Cole.  This forces the bunch to pull some robberies that they would not otherwise commit and it just so happens a hot accountant (played by Thandie Newton) has got the gig.  She works for a Russian mobster that needs to hide his money, so when he moves it is the perfect time to steal it since it is off the books.  The Wild Bunch do this, but this money, of course is part of a bigger deal with the Russian mobster and Lenny.  The impact from this robbery continues to ripple and bounces back and messes about with the dynamic of the local underworld economy.  Although my knowledge of organized crime tells me this is a more realistic plot, my knowledge of screenwriting tells me he probably should’ve gone with a more simpler premise.

Now you might ask, what does this have to do with the title.  That’s part of the problem.  The RocknRolla is Johnny Quid, a junkie rockstar, only he doesn’t show up to a good third of the way into the movie.  He’s sort of built up as a guy that destroys everything he touches and I sort of expected him to devastate everything in his path when he finally did interact with the characters.  That doesn’t quite happen, but there is an awful lot of swell mayhem, rock music and English guys yelling at each other to “Fok off!”

If I had to compare it to “Snatch” and “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” I would say this:  The earlier two movies had thieves and hoodlums that were mostly incompetent or too greedy for their own good.  The Wild Bunch actually has their act together mostly, so while they do get a bit over their heads, it’s not as epic as the characters from the first two movies.  Still, there is a nice plot device that ties the whole movie together.  And even though I didn’t feel for “The Wild Bunch” as much as I felt for the main characters in the previous movies.  Maybe there were too many people to keep track of.  I would’ve trimmed two or three characters to narrow the focus.  RocknRolla is still very entertaining.  (Although I am a big fan of Ritchie’s crime movies, so take it with a grain of salt.)

Jeremy Piven and Ludacris are in the movie, but quite frankly, they are wasted.  Their parts could’ve been played by anyone.  That’s not to say they aren’t good, they just aren’t really given much to do.  Mark Strong as the narrator, Archie, is pretty good, but his narration doesn’t drive the movie as consistently as you’d expect.

Ritchie sets up Johnny Quid for a sequel, which I suspect might be more along the lines of what I was looking for in this movie.  Maybe he’s just regaining his sea legs, I don’t know.  I was expecting a big action scene at the end and what you get feels a little uneven.  Ritchie tends to kill a lot of his characters, maybe he sacrificed that for the sequel set up.  I would rate this as third compared to the other two, but not such a distant third.  I give it 7 out of 10 beer kegs and I look forward to the sequel.