Since "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" was released back in 1998, British cinema has been awash with inferior imitators eager to cash in on its success.
That could be one of the reasons why "Snatch" is such a disappointment, but really, it's due to the fact that writer/director Guy Ritchie hasn't built on the promise he initially showed.
Yes, his undoubted visual dexterity is still there - never so clearly illustrated than by the quickfire opening - but don't believe the film-makers' hype that "Snatch" is 'completely different' to "Lock, Stock". It isn't.
The film combines several stories: the heist of a diamond by Frankie Four Fingers (Benicio Del Toro); the attempted retrieval of said sparkler by assorted jewellers, pawnbrokers and thugs (Jones); two illegal boxing promoters and their attempts to salvage a queered deal with local crimelord Brick Top (Ford); and of course One Punch Mickey (Pitt), an incomprehensible gypsy with a mean right hook.
As before, Ritchie cleverly weaves these strands into a whole. Unfortunately, that whole is patchy, crippled by a lack of laughs, too many uninteresting and therefore unnecessary characters and dialogue which now seems plain cheesy.
There are some good points. Pitt gives his all as the pikey who may be more than he seems, while "Eastenders"' Mike Reid and Vinnie Jones both derive some chuckles from their roles.
But Mr. Madonna's sophomore effort is ultimately damaged by the phenomenon its predecessor spawned, while it also serves to throw some harsh facts into focus: for one, it is becoming increasingly apparent that Ritchie's writing skills are no match for his directorial ones.
Similarly, there's an undeniable sense of 'been there, done that' which pervades the entire film - and that's something that no amount of swirling, bleached-out freeze-frames can rectify.