Formula 51 Poster

Formula 51 (2001)

Action | Crime   
IMDB Rayting:   6.3/10
Country: UK | Canada
Language: English

An American master chemist plans to score big on a once in a lifetime drug deal. All does not go as planned and he is soon entangled in a web of deceit.

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Tweekums 7 April 2008

From start to finish this film is a great laugh, it never takes itself seriously. The characters aren't consciously making jokes, what they say is just inherently funny. Be warned though if you don't like swearing in your films this isn't the one for you as just about every line contains more than one obscenity.

The film stars Samuel L Jackson as an ultra-cool, kilt wearing drugs chemist wanting to make one high-profit deal, Robert Carlyle as a Liverpool gangster and Emily Mortimer as the hottest assassin I've seen in a film.

I won't post any spoilers but if you enjoy films with car chases, funny dialogue and over the top action involving guns, golf clubs and heavy duty laxatives then this is the film for you.

ehawke-1 9 May 2004

What do you get when you put Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Carlyle, Meatloaf, Rhys Ifans, and Emily Mortimer together in a movie? A rollicking good time! This movie is pure entertainment and has some very, very funny moments. The dialogue is mostly tongue-in-cheek and snappy. The soundtrack is excellent (this coming from someone who doesn't really like techno, club, rap, or hip-hop music), and I would definitely buy this movie to watch again. It may not be for everyone, but the cast is first-rate; the story line believable, and seeing Samuel L. Jackson in a kilt couldn't be beat! I give this movie a 9 out of 10. It's not Academy Award material, but who cares!

grezza_2004 19 March 2007

The 51st State is certainly no classic, but its funny and has a half-decent storyline. Being from the Liverpool area, I'm glad to see a film set there, even if it is about crime. Samuel L. Jackson is as cool as ever as kilt-wearin', drug-dealin' Elmo McElroy, and Robert Carlyle is in good form as Felix DeSouza, desperately trying to get himself a cut in the deal. The use of Ricky Tomlinson, a very funny actor pretty much unknown to American audiences, was also a nice touch. I'm very much a believer that British comedy is (almost) always better than American. I always enjoy the inclusion of English words and slang, and with Elmo not having a clue about English customs, such as the different language and the Mini Cooper, makes this film very funny. I'm not sure about Americans, but English people will appreciate the hilarity of the situation as Elmo and Felix run around Liverpool, with Elmo wanting his 20 million, and Felix just wanting to watch the Liverpool vs. Man Utd game! A clever twist at the end adds a bit of a philosophical side to the film, and shows The 51st State is more than just a few laughs.

grahamdavidhughes 10 December 2001

OK, so the `what' British film industry needs another gangster-flick about as much as Zsa-Zsa Gabor needs another facelift, but this film is worth a look just for the fact that it's not set in London (hurrah!), it's very funny and it features Samuel L. Jackson in a kilt. Coming from Liverpool myself, I loved the fact that someone has taken the effort to make a decent film about my city (the last film set in Liverpool was ‘Beneath the Skin' – shoe-gazing rubbish with Samantha Morton, who couldn't act her way out of a wet paper bag).

Energetically directed by Yu, with flamboyant performances by Carlyle, Ifans et al. 51st State is difficult not to enjoy. Okay, so it's not very deep and meaningful, and the plot may have been done a thousand times before, but that could just about describe almost every film that Hollywood has churned out this year. With film, as with any other entertainment medium, it ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it.

Moaning about the ‘dodgy' accents or the depiction of Liverpool as a haven for drug dealers and corrupt policemen is pointless nit-picking and should not detract from the fact that 51st State is a lively, refreshing and ultimately entertaining two hours worth of celluloid. It is also a damn sight better than all the British-films-not-made-by-Working-Title that have been released this year.

rubicon10000 2 February 2002

The thing I like most about the 51st State is that it seems calculated to annoy pretentious idiots with their heads stuck up their own bottoms. It doesn't take itself seriously at all, and is therefore a very good psychological device that can employed to weed out those people that do. I LOVE the fact that it's an American style movie but that it takes place on English shores. Who on earth wrote the rule that if it's British it needs to look crap, have bad acting, have laughable dialogue (Guy Ritchie) and generally be embarrassing to watch? We live in a global age, and The 51st State is very much a global movie appealing to people in whatever country they happen to be. Hence British writer. American Star. Hong Kong Director.

AND IT'S A DAMN GOOD LAUGH. SEE IT!!!!

bob the moo 2 May 2004

Elmo McElroy is an American chemistry who has developed a new drug that is 51 times stronger, more effective and better than everything else on the market. He kills the major drug dealers in LA and heads to England to get a better deal. He arrives in England and is collected by Felix DeSouza and escorted to meet criminal Leopold Durant. However Elmo's hit on The Lizard failed and he remains keen to get hold of the drug - however the formula only exists in Elmo's head. The Lizard charges hit-woman Dakota (coincidently Felix's ex) to keep Elmo alive until The Lizard can get to him and get the formula. Meanwhile Elmo and Felix combine to try and sell the drugs.

Yet another in the treadmill of British bandwagon filmmaking, this film is, surprise surprise, a comedy British gangster movie with, wait for it, larger than life characters, funny violence and hyper-kinetic directing and editing. How very Lock Stock - things look pretty bleak from this description, except that the cast at least offers the hope that sufficient money has been poured into it to make it more than just another cheap cash-in on the success of Guy Ritchie's films. From the start it is obvious that this film is going to be more about energy than anything else and, to prove this, it then quickly edits it's way into a plot that relies more on forward motion and coincidence than anything else. The story is nonsense throughout and at times I found it a little irritating that so little attention was paid to the plot - but in fairness, to make a big deal out of that is to miss the point.

This is because the film is all about style, humour and pace and not about character or plotting. In this regard it is an enjoyable ride, albeit a silly and energetic one. The hyper directing from Yu really suits this and he does well even if he is not really very original in regards his shots etc. The editing fits with the formula set by Ritchie and is pretty much what you expect. What makes the film stand out from the rest of the copies is that it actually is quite good fun to watch (as opposed to some copies that are just cheap and nasty) - never hilarious but it is energetic enough to pull you along with it no matter how silly it gets. Of course it has weak points - a few characters are too daft and, whenever the overall plot is the main focus then it struggles.

Despite this the cast do well to keep things moving and they play a massive part in making this work. Jackson may not be doing anything new or wonderful here but he is key to the film working and he is worth every penny they must have paid him. He has great presence and he brings a lot of fun and energy to the film in a way that his lesser co-stars cannot. Carlyle is a good actor but he pales in comparison to Jackson in this - he isn't helped by the awful accent he is lumbered with and the fact that he is a little irritating. Mortimer is annoying as her character is just daft in the context of the plot, but not as annoying as Meatloaf who is easily the worst thing in the film. The support cast includes reasonable turns from Pertwee, Ifans, Tomlinson and Barber but this is Jackson's film 100% and it is difficult to imagine it being as enjoyable without him.

Overall, we all know what to expect - this is yet another gangster film in the mould of Lock Stock. In that regard it isn't original and it is, frankly, a mess in regards character and plotting. However it moves fast, is slick, clearly had a bit of cash thrown at it and, apart from a handful o

callaway76 28 July 2003

It's easy for any of us to resemble the 'comic book guy' from the Simpson's and rant for days about this belated release mimicking the action/comedies of the last decade. Don't. This is not 'Get Shorty' nor 'Who is Cletis Tout?'.

Plot: A unfortunate jinx leads a chemist to an underground drug world. With clever calculations at foot and in mind, he devises an intricate plan for early retirement. Then Liverpool happens.

Granted, the first time I watched it seemed like a product from a 'Quentin Tarantino' screen writing class. Upon watching a few more times it becomes clearer that there is no other fault. Had this movie arrived before such 'Res Dogs' type movies it may have been the golden boy of this new genre (not-likely). But it still stands as a light-weight contender. The situations are cleverly drawn, the acting is very comical and the casting is on the money. The fast drawn shots keep the pace, the thunderous soundtrack imports the ambiance, and the British ghetto lingo always reels you in to the lovely slums of Liverpool.

Bottom Line: Better Title 'An American Drug Dealer in Liverpool'

dgrahamwatson 9 May 2006

Well, well, well, it really doesn't get any worse than this! If this is anything to go by the English certainly can't make movies any more that's for sure. The only saving grace is that Robert Carlyle does what he's good at doing, playing an up tight anti hero with a certain amount of humor and in all fairness he jells well with Samuel L Jackson who also effectively portrays what he is supposed to do. Yet despite a few other big name starts to boot they can't save this turkey; the film stinks big time!!

It really goes down hill fast when the location moves to the UK, but it should have been fair warning when we were introduced to a scrawny woman with a Liverpool accent that is a "hit-woman", how ludicrous is that. However, as the movie progresses I don't know if it was the holdovers from the now defunct UK soap "Brookside", dopey police, DeSouza pulling out a pistol in a crowded Airport after 9/11, Rhys Ifans cartoon character performance, I could go on but why bother. I haven't been to Liverpool for over 20 years but I'm sure it's moved on from the recession ravaged city of all those years ago, however, if you were to view this you wouldn't think so. Too many scouse stereo types of a negative value, I was waiting for an appearance from 'Yosser Hughes' (giz a job) or a cameo from Alan Bleasdale. Has Liverpool got more to offer than and scrap metal merchants, drug gangs, organized crime or foul mouthed Liverpudian house wives; were the makers of this film trying to take the mickey out of Liverpool? If so, there 20 years too late and don't deserve it anymore!

The English are very cynical towards Americans "bloody yanks" mentality, they never waste an opportunity to mock or laugh at the USA. Yet despite that, deep down they are sensitive to what the USA thinks of them. The English always like it when a home grown movie of sorts does well in the USA "did we impress the yanks", it always makes big news in the UK. Although I realize that the quaint old Ealing movies or the stiff upper lip image has passed it's time, but the image of what is on offer now should embarrass them. Of course there was meant to be a certain amount of humor in this movie but it fell flat, it was simply awful!

The English think that their humor is better than US humor, or that they have a better sense of humor than Americans. On this performance you have got to be joking! The days of Faulty towers, Yes minister and Black adder have passed too. So what do they offer now — drunken moronic football fans, thugs, cholesterol laded dinners, fry ups, fish n chips wrapped in newspapers, drugs, how inarticulate the Brits are, profanity, gun running and an overall crass and idiotic persona! It's simply not funny, just embarrassing, is this the image they like to portray today? Unfortunately I think it is! To the old LWT sitcoms and the old 'Carry On' films, please come back all is forgiven!

hobartjimson 29 June 2019

If you watch movies for the obscenity, this is the one for you. The f word is used in nearly every line, sometimes over and over as the only word in a line. Another reviewer said this is common in certain parts of England. So what? I'm not in those parts of England.

The dialogue is terrible and crude, the scenes horribly contrived, the plot, if there was one, extremely thin. 15 minutes was all I could take. Skip this. Paint your SO's toenails. That will be much more entertaining.

brando647 29 October 2006

I am not really sure what the appeal of this movie actually is. It's definitely not the action, since fights are simple and few and far between. I wouldn't think its the comedy, since the premise of pretty much every joke is the same. It seems the majority of the humor in this movie is Samuel L. Jackson's character dealing with the differences between England and America and Robert Carlyle's character's disgust with Americans. Of course, every-so-often, we get a dash of toilet humor to mix things up. Pretty simple. Nothing special.

And yet, somehow, this movie manages to stay entertaining enough throughout the bulk of it. My only guess is that it comes from the charisma of the cast and characters. Samuel L. Jackson defies logic by kicking ass in just about every movie he's in, whether the flick's good or not. Robert Carlyle's energy and enthusiasm is enough to prevent me from getting annoyed with his constant whining. Emily Mortimer plays the soft-spoken, sexy assassin hired to bring in Jackson's character. And Meat Loaf....well....Meat Loaf bothered the hell out of me. His role as the Lizard, the big-time American drug dealer and previous employer to Jackson, is over-the-top and completely unconvincing as someone who would have rose to power in the American drug market. At times, he is just downright aggravating to watch (especially when he starts ranting and referring to himself in the third-person).

Fortunately, Meat Loaf (and a nearly as annoying Rhys Ifans)are not enough to completely drag the film down. It manages to stay quirky enough to keep entertaining and you shouldn't feel as if you completely wasted the last 92 minutes of your life. My advice? Check it out once, it's a hit or miss.

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