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Guy Ritchie
Tom Wilkinson, Gerard Butler, Idris Elba
Writing Credits:
Guy Ritchie

When a Russian mobster orchestrates a crooked land deal, millions of dollars are up for grabs, drawing in the entire London underworld into a feeding frenzy at a time when the old criminal regime is losing turf to a wealthy foreign mob.

Box Office:
$18 million.
Opening Weekend
$144,701 on 7 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
English Dolby 5.1
English Descriptive Narration
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 116 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 1/27/2009

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Guy Ritchie and Actor Mark Strong
• “Guy’s Town” Featurette
• “Inside Rocknrolla” Featurette
• Deleted Scene
• Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X800 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


RocknRolla [Blu-Ray] (2008)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 19, 2021)

Better known as Madonna’s husband than as a filmmaker through much of the first decade of the 2000s, Guy Ritchie’s career would improve with 2009’s Sherlock Holmes, a pretty sizable hit. Immediately prior to that, Ritchie directed 2008’s RocknRolla, a throwback to the gritty films from his early days.

In RocknRolla, we meet Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson), a London gangster who runs a racket related to much of the area’s real estate. When lowlifes One Two (Gerard Butler) and Mumbles (Idris Elba) try to get involved in property investments, Cole uses his connections to scotch the deal and leave them in debt to him.

That ain’t good, so One Two and Mumbles need a way to raise cash. Prim accountant Stella (Thandie Newton) runs in with this rough crowd to do her dirty work, so One Two and Mumbles sense a way to get out of their financial troubles. They steal the money a Russian entrepreneur (Karel Roden) intends to use in a deal with Lenny, essentially ensuring that they’ll pay Lenny with his own funds.

Unsurprisingly, problems ensue. One Two finds himself in the midst of a mix of snarls. A stolen painting – loaned to Lenny by the Russian – also adds complexities to the action as we follow all the complications.

Indeed, I’m tempted to refer to RocknRolla as a series of complications in search of a plot. Oh, an overriding story does exist, I suppose, as the film attempts to explore the lives of the real estate gangsters, and that’s an unusual focus. Usually flicks about criminals stick with drugs and whatnot, so the look at gangsters as real estate moguls offers a neat twist.

But is it enough? Nope.

RocknRolla doesn’t wear its twists and snarls on its sleeve, so it’s not a flick that relies on crazy left-turns to tell its tale. Some movies feel like they exist solely to provide a compilation of wacky shifts, but I don’t get that impression here.

Unfortunately, I don’t find much in RocknRolla to maintain my interest. While it manages to make its twists feel fairly organic, it still comes across as a rather disjointed piece.

I realize that sounds contradictory, but it’s what I see. No, the flick doesn’t toss gratuitous shifts at us just for shock value, but the end product simply doesn’t coalesce very well.

And it feels rather forced in the way it makes sure its disparate characters ultimately connect with each other. Some movies can tie together their different roles in a clever, convincing manner, but that doesn’t occur here.

Instead, the participants cohere without much real rhyme or reason. I kind of buy their connections, but I still don’t think this side fits together in a compelling manner.

A lot of this feels artificial. At its heart, I don’t think RocknRolla provides a particularly complex story.

However, it takes its basic plot and goes out of its way to complicate things. Maybe it does this to add a layer of cleverness, or maybe Ritchie thinks the disjointed telling makes the movie richer.

Whatever the case, it doesn’t work. RocknRolla doesn’t provide a bad movie, as it has enough energy and sizzle to keep me mildly involved.

However, it just never becomes anything more compelling than that. Basically it takes some semi-colorful characters and sends them on various journeys all in the service of… I’m not sure what. There’s a lot of noise and action here without a great deal to make it memorable.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

RocknRolla appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a good but not great image.

Sharpness became the minor weak link, as wide shots tended to feel more tentative than expected. Still, most of the flick offered positive delineation, so the soft elements didn’t become a significant issue.

The image showed no signs of jagged edges or shimmering, and it also lacked edges haloes. Outside of some “intentional flaws” during the credits, the movie came with no source defects.

RocknRolla featured a limited palette that went with a copper tint much of the time as well as instances of teal. Within those parameters, the colors looked fine.

Blacks were deep and dark, and shadows showed nice clarity and smoothness. Outside of the mild softness, this became an appealing presentation.

The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of RocknRolla worked reasonably well, though it didn’t provide a broad enough soundfield to merit more than a “B”. The track showed good stereo spread throughout the movie, and the forward channels offered a nice sense of atmosphere.

Elements blended well and moved smoothly across the front spectrum. As for the surrounds, they contributed moderate reinforcement of the front elements and only sporadically provided unique information. They brought some life to the package but didn’t do much to excel.

Audio quality appeared fine. The lines remained natural and distinct, and they showed no issues related to edginess or intelligibility – well, no issues unrelated to the many heavy accents.

Effects sounded clean and accurate, and they displayed no distortion. Music also seemed vibrant and robust with deep and rich low-end. In the end, the track lacked the sonic ambition to earn a high grade, but RocknRolla still provided a quality auditory experience.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? The lossless audio seemed a bit more dynamic, whereas visuals appeared smoother and more accurate. Though the BD didn’t excel in terms of picture, it topped the DVD.

The Blu-ray repeats the extras from the DVD and adds one. We begin with an audio commentary from writer/director Guy Ritchie and actor Mark Strong. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story subjects and inspirations, cast and performances, cinematography and editing, sets and locations, music, and a few other production subjects.

I like the fact that Ritchie and Strong don’t seem to take themselves too seriously, but I don’t think they provide an especially memorable track. A few fun remarks appear, such as when we learn that Chris “Ludacris” Bridges carried porn mags devoted to big butts with him – but the majority of the info seems pretty ordinary.

In addition, the piece peters out pretty badly during its second half, especially when Ritchie does little more than quote the flick’s dialogue. We learn a smattering of decent details about the production but we don’t get many real insights.

By the way, the pair clearly recorded the commentary before Ritchie’s split from Madonna in October 2008. Ritchie refers to “the missus” in the track but not in an acrimonious way, so I guess he didn’t expect that they’d be finished as a couple when the disc hit the streets.

A featurette called Guy’s Town runs eight minutes, 32 seconds. We find notes from Ritchie, Strong, producer Steve Clark-Hall, cinematographer David Higgs, location manager Claire Tovey, production designer Richard Bridgland, and actors Thandie Newton, Tom Wilkinson, and Gerard Butler.

“Town” takes a look at London and its portrayal in the film. The show zips by way too quickly to offer much depth, but it throws in some nice facts about the flick’s various locations.

Next we find one deleted scene. “Will You Put That Cigarette Out?” lasts two minutes and shows a chat among One Two, Mumbles and Handsome Bob as the play a caper. It simply adds a little unnecessary exposition.

Exclusive to the Blu-ray, Inside RocknRolla lasts 15 minutes, three seconds and offers info from Butler, Ritchie, Newton, Wilkinson, Strong, and actors Jeremy Piven, Idris Elba, Tony Kebbell, and Chris Bridges.

“Inside” examines story and characters, cast and performances, locations, visual style and stunts/action. Some decent details emerge here, but most of “Inside” feels fairly superficial.

The disc opens with ads for Body of Lies and Appaloosa. No trailer for RocknRolla appears here.

At times, RocknRolla offers shows potential to become a dynamic gangster adventure. However, it never sustains its minor highs to keep our attention on a consistent basis. The whole feels like less than the sum of its parts, as the movie never quite kicks into higher gear. The Blu-ray brings generally positive picture and audio along with a handful of supplements. Expect a pretty good release for an erratic movie.

To rate this film visit the DVD review of ROCKNROLLA

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