Formula 51

"Weak"

Formula 51 Review


If you were suffering from a nasty cold, would you settle for a less-than-soft, generic tissue to soothe your chapped snout, or would you pay a little more to get the plusher brand name? Of course, nothing beats the real thing! Formula 51 is like that sub-standard nose rag - it's just an artificial substitute for a much better British action-comedy.

The plot is loosely framed around the kilt-wearing master chemist Elmo McElroy (Samuel L. Jackson) who has developed a new illegal drug that produces a high that is 51 times better than cocaine, acid, or ecstasy. When McElroy attempts to sell the drug's formula to a mobster named The Lizard (Meat Loaf), the deal goes bad and McElroy flees to Liverpool with only his golf clubs. While there, he meets up with Yankee-hating thug Felix DeSouza (Robert Carlyle) assigned to help McElroy score $20 million for the drugs from a local gangster (Ricky Tomlinson). Unfortunately, this deal also fails. DeSouza and McElroy must now find new buyers while staying clear of other rogue groups who want the formula, and an assassin (Emily Mortimer) hired by The Lizard to return McElroy to the states.

It doesn't take long before the plot holes pile up and we realize director Ronny Yu has very little concern for making something remotely original or exciting. In fact, Formula 51 is nothing more than a cheap imitation of Guy Ritchie's Snatch. Formula 51 has the same camera angles, the slow and fast motion photography and the beat-drumming techno score like its predecessor. As far as its nonsensical story, the film is also littered with similar side switchings, double crossings, and deal makings. Sadly though, there is not a shred of new material.

Despite being an obvious fleecing of Ritchie's film, Yu also fails to produce engaging action sequences. The film opens with a gun battle and car chase, but then the adrenaline rush retreats, and leaves us with 80 minutes of boring chitchat about McElroy's blue, Skittles-like drug. In actuality, his drug formula is nothing more than a MacGuffin (an object everyone in the film is motivated to steal, but we could really care less about who ends up with it). Hell, we're never even shown the unbelievable effects supposedly produced by it. During the film's finale, Yu echoes our lack of interest by suggesting the drug may just be a placebo. The only thing surprising about the ending is the credits - that's all I will reveal.

Aside from a few laughs at the expense of Jackson's kilt, Formula 51 lacks the substance needed to sustain our interest. The majority of the humor is potty related, literally, and strictly childish. Jackson sleepwalks through his role and can only muster a tiresome extension of the same character he plays in Pulp Fiction. The rest of the cast is largely unlikable and cannot generate a shred of natural chemistry. Formula 51 fails for all of the reasons Snatch thrives.

Aka The 51st State.

Who looks pretty?



Formula 51

Facts and Figures

Run time: 93 mins

In Theaters: Friday 18th October 2002

Box Office USA: $5.1M

Budget: 28

Distributed by: Screen Gems

Production compaines: Alliance Atlantis Communications, Focus Films, Momentum Films, National Lottery

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 25%
Fresh: 26 Rotten: 76

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson as Elmo McElroy, as Felix DeSouza, Nigel Whitmey as L.A. Highway Patrol, as Dakota Parker, as The Lizard, as Frederick, as Leopold Durant, as Iki

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.