plays Elmo McElroy, a kilt-wearing, golf-obsessed illegal chemist
who arrives in Liverpool to clinch a $20 million drugs deal with
local baron Ricky Tomlinson.
his old Stateside boss, the Lizard (Loaf), has sent Emily Mortimer's
skilled assassin after him. Teaming up with Yank-hating small-time
hood Felix De Souza (Carlyle), McElroy must seal the deal before
anyone can off him, sidestepping local skinheads and Sean Pertwee's
bent copper along the way.
silly? Well, of course it is. But that's largely its strength -
here's a British flick gleefully unconcerned with plausibility,
yet just as determined to entertain you.
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Stel Pavlou's Tarantino-esque dialogue is good, but it's Hong Kong
director Ronny Yu who makes it work. Splicing the action together
with his trademark zeal, frenetically pounding the story onwards,
Yu doesn't give the audience time to think, let alone pick holes.
It's all a little overwhelming in the opening 20 minutes, but once
it settles down, "The 51st State" becomes quite irresistible.
The culture clash interplay between Jackson and Carlyle is a joy,
with Jackson relishing some killer one-liners while strutting round
Merseyside in a kilt. Why? Best not to ask. Just enjoy.
"The 51st State" opens in UK cinemas on Friday 7th December 2001.
Reviewed by Nev
Pierce, BBC Films.