Main cast: Samuel L Jackson (Elmo McElroy), Robert Carlyle (Felix DeSouza), Emily Mortimer (Dakota Phillips), Sean Pertwee (Detective Virgil Kane), Meat Loaf (Lizard), Ricky Tomlinson (Leopold Durant), and Rhys Ifans (Iki)
Director: Ronny Yu
This movie could have so cool, but director Ronny Yu can’t seem to get things to come together well.
Samuel L Jackson plays Elmo McElroy, a kilted golf-club carrying guy who knows the key ingredients to a new recreational drug called the POS-51. This drug is fifty times more potent than your strongest cocaine, but best of all, it is created from legal ingredients. Sort of like McDonald’s, I guess. Or the new Vanilla Coke, which I’m strangely addicted to. Anyway, Elmo is now on the run from his old boss the Lizard while trying to set up a deal with the highest bidder. In this case, the highest bidder seems to be Leopold Durant. Hot on Elmo’s tail is Dakota who’s under orders from the Lizard to get him back. Also in the scene is Felix, a fast-talking soccer-fanatic wild card who’s trying to set up Elmo with Durant.
Like every British clone of Trainspotting or Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, The 51st State tries so hard to have its characters killed in outrageous, zany ways, usually with both the victim and the murderer delivering some cynical but witty exchange before coup de grace. There is a self-conscious, methodical approach to Ronny Yu’s direction, as if he’s checking a laundry list of must-haves of every aspiring Lock, Stock and Two More Smoking Barrels wannabe.
It is documented in writing that Mr Jackson took this role because he got paid while having the chance to play golf at the set. Let’s just say that, well, I know that from watching this movie. It shows.