Yeaaaaaay! Director Guy Richie made a new gangster flick. Richie made his bones with such wonderfully wacky films of the London underworld as “Snatch,” “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” “Revolver,” and “RocknRolla.” He has had two major fails with the big budget “King Arthur” and “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” but his other big movies, a pair of very successful “Sherlock Holmes” flickers and the billion dollar box office live action version of “Aladdin” last year, prove he can do big films and the smaller ones.
For this blood and giggle fest he brought in heavyweight Matthew McConaughey. Charlie Hunnam (“Sons of Anarchy”), Henry Golding (terrific in “Crazy Rich Asians”) and Colin Farrell all appear. An unrecognizable Hugh Grant plays a blackmailer and from “Downton Abbey,” older sister Michelle Dockery plays a Cockney gangster moll. Eddie Marsan, a familiar face with over 120 roles to his credit, vividly plays a British publisher known for his interpenetrate and sleazy expose’s of the rich and famous.
Richie also wrote the screenplay, as he typically does. He sometimes acts too, sort of. He follows the late great Stan Lee in putting himself in his films as a passerby or in a small speaking part, but not this time.
McConaughey and Richie’s names appear among the list of producers. I hope for their sake that the film does well.
It should do well. Richie keeps us on our toes every minute trying to separate fact from fancy, and truth from believable lies. Let me list the moving pieces in the puzzle. McConaughey plays a marijuana kingpin with a net after expenses and not paying taxes income of $100 million per annum. An American billionaire wiz-kid wants to buy him out. The scion of a Chinese criminal clan gets involved. All this gets memorialized by what amounts to a criminal paparazzo. And a local boxing gym owner and his boxers also get sucked into the mix.
Having these ruthless killers try to outwit or out-kill each other gives us two hours of fast-paced, fast-talking mirthful mayhem to enjoy.
Just for fun Richie slips in a reference to Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice” and a visual reference to “Sherlock Holmes,” one of his previous pictures.
The wild and entertaining “The Gentlemen” runs for one hour and 53 minutes. It carries a well earned R rating, so leave the youngsters at home. People of a certain bent will enjoy this four saw blade gangster flick.
Charlie Hunnam served as King Arthur in the not successful Richie project “King Arthur.”