Everyone was quick to blame Guy Ritchie's partner for the downturn in his career, and on the evidence of Revolver it's true: he really is missing producer pal Matthew Vaughn. While Vaughn launched his directorial career with the grade-A thriller Layer Cake in 2004, Ritchie has returned to the crime scene with less success. The cheeky charm of Lock Stock... and Snatch has been replaced by plodding pretentiousness in a film that's illuminated by great action set-pieces and some powerful performances, but not redeemed.
Set in a no-man's land that looks like the less glamorous part of Blackpool out of season, Revolver revolves around con artist Jake Green (Jason Statham). After spending seven years in jail for a crime he didn't commit (natch!), it's payback time. Top of his hit list is Dorothy Macha (Ray Liotta), a man burdened by far more than just a ludicrous name. After a highly lucrative visit to Macha's casino, Green discovers that he's not a friend of Dorothy's any more. Help of sorts is at hand from two mysterious gangsters, Zach (Vincent Pastore) and Avi (André Benjamin). Oh, and by the way, Jake's only got three days to live due to a rare disease...
"LIOTTA'S MIDRIFF ISN'T THE ONLY FLABBY THING ON SHOW"
If you've ever wondered what Ray Liotta looks like in skimpy briefs, this film reveals all; sadly, Liotta's midriff isn't the only flabby thing on show. The ghosts of better films haunt proceedings - in particular Fight Club, The Usual Suspects and The Thomas Crown Affair. On the plus side, Jason Statham confirms his rise to leading man status with a charismatic turn, and Mark Strong's bespectacled hitman deserves his own movie. You're left reflecting, though, that Ritchie is a talented director who needs to work from someone else's script next time round.