Join our email list for chat about movies
 - send a blank message to CineMania

In Association with  
In Association with
The Zone SF
Girls with Guns
VideoVista is published by PIGASUS Press

copyright © 2001 - 2002 VideoVista
April 2002                                                       SITE MAP   SEARCH
The 51st State
cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Carlyle, Meatloaf, Emily Mortimer, Ricky Tomlinson

director: Ronny Yu

92 minutes (18) 2001
widescreen aspect ratio 16:9
Momentum DVD Region 2 rental
Also available to rent on video

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by John M. Peters
I seem to recall Jackson appearing on Parkinson a few months ago to promote this movie, so I assume it was released in theatres. I guess this quick release on video and DVD signifies that it was a bomb. Which is a bit of a shame because this comedy thriller is actually quite good. Jackson stars as McElroy, a kilt-wearing chemist who has invented POS 51, the designer drug of the century. Looking to retire, McElroy blows up his drug cartel boss, the Lizard (Meatloaf) and flies to Liverpool to make the deal for the drug with local gangland bosses. Big mistake - everyone is double-crossing everyone on the deal and McElroy ultimately teams up with Felix De Souza (Carlyle), a foulmouthed gangster fixated on Liverpool FC and violence. Meanwhile, the Lizard survives the bomb and hires hit-woman Dakota (Mortimer) - De Souza's ex-squeeze, to find McElroy and protect him until the Lizard can have his revenge.
   Okay, that's the thumbnail sketch, but it doesn't convey half the confusion as the plot unfolds and a who's who of British character actors including Ricky Tomlinson, Sean Pertwee, and Rhys Ifans, plus a number of ex-pats from Brookside) do their scouse gangster shtick. Ultimately, The 51st State is a caper movie, a foulmouthed; fast paced one that is quite entertaining. It has several moments of pure lunacy and the Liverpool setting is as atmospheric as it always is. I'm sure a person not taken with its charms could pick huge holes out of the plot and the setting, but the interplay between Jackson and Carlyle is good, and for once the bad guys win.
   The only downside is that this disc is the rental version and many of the usual DVD player functions are not available: no menu facility, no language or subtitle options, no chapter selection, or commentaries, and there are no special features apart from a clutch of trailers from the same distributor.