The 51st State (2001), Cert 18.

Director - Ronny Yu.

Writer - Stel Pavlou.

Starring - Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Carlyle, Rhys Ifans & Meatloaf.


A chemist fly's to Liverpool to strike a massive drug deal that will finally allow him to retire. However, his former employer has put a contract on his

The 51st State is a strange film. Whilst for the most part the film is set in Britain, the film looks and feels like an American movie. This can doubtless
be attributed to the involvement of Jackson as producer on the film.

I have no problem with this as one of my most common complaints about British films is that they feel to, well, to British. It might sound strange, but I
hate how our films and TV shows feel and look.

So I was heartened by The 51st State, a British film that had all the ingredients of an American movie. How can it go wrong?

Well, lets deal with what works for now.

The comedy in the film is for the most part well done. Many set pieces come off nicely, especially a scene involving a bunch of Nazi's and some
laxatives. A lot of the comedy is of the 'fish-out-of-water' variety, but it works and is genuinely amusing, more so if you are looking at it from this
side of the pond.

The general story, although nothing groundbreaking is engaging and you feel some empathy for the characters. Some moments don't hold together well, but I'll come to that later.

The action is handled well by director Ronny Yu (Bride Of Chucky). His experience in oriental cinema shows and some of the action scenes have no
right being in a British movie.

Here comes the inevitable but.......

The acting is generally terrible. Outside of Jackson and Carlyle the performance range from average to piss poor. The film is populated by ex-soap
actors and Sean 'plank' Pertwee. The UK has some fine actors, unfortunately few of them are to be found here.

The script is poor also. Although the main story is sound the script resorts to continuous swearing and cliched one-liners from Jackson. There are some
gaping plot-holes as well that make little or no sense. At times you really wonder why certain characters are doing what they are doing, the narrative
doesn't give sufficient reasons for their actions.

That said at it's core it's a sound movie, but I felt that with some more work on the script and some better acting talent we could have been looking
at a British classic. Unfortunately all we get is another also ran to take up video store shelf space with Snatch.


6/10 for The 51st State.

Poster Quote - What a state.....