Film / Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels

"Can everyone stop getting shot?"

A 1998 British movie by Guy Ritchie featuring a gang of amateur hoodlums who repeatedly end up on the wrong side of much nastier London gangsters.

Pinball Protagonist + Loads and Loads of Characters + Gambit Pileup + Cluster F-Bomb + Everybody's Dead, Dave just about sums it up.

The spinoff TV series Lock, Stock... and the film Snatch. are considered Spiritual Successors.

This film provides examples of;

  • Accidental Kidnapping: The Traffic Warden in the van.
  • Affably Evil: For a Loan Shark's enforcer, Big Chris doesn't seem like that bad of a guy. Just lay off the kid. No, REALLY, lay off his kid...
  • Agony of the Feet: One of the scousers likes to put bits of paper between his victims' toes and light it on fire. One of the weed growers gets his toes blasted off.
  • All There in the Script: According to the screenplay, Bacon got his name because as a youth he spent so much time in police stations that people thought he was one of them.
  • Anti-Villain: Big Chris. He is a loving father, and takes time at the end of the movie to inform the protagonists that their guns are worth a fortune. He even checks to see if they are ok with genuine concern after crashing his car into theirs, only taking the money off them after working out they had stolen it back off his employer.
  • Anyone Can Die: To the point that Ed's friends twice in a row enter a place only to find it riddled with corpses.
  • Asshole Victim: Most of the deaths after the first three or four are experienced by people who really had it coming sooner or later, though there are a couple of exceptions.
  • As You Know: The rules of three-card brag are spelled out for the players, who really ought to already know about the game they're buying into for a hundred grand. Then again, when you're playing for a hundred grand a head, making sure everyone is playing by the same rules isn't a bad idea.
  • A-Team Firing: John when unloading his Bren gun on Winston's group. Granted, he doesn't know exactly where they are, but he is carrying a BFG and firing in their general direction in a fairly small room. The POV shot of his intended targets indicates he got nowhere near.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Lampshaded for the Bren gun, the shotguns, and according to Soap, guns in general.
  • An Axe to Grind: Hatchet Harry and Barry the Baptist both use them.
  • Bad Boss: Dog and Barry.
  • Badass Grandpa: Harry and Barry are both pretty long in the tooth, but no less badass for it.
  • Berserk Button: Big Chris is a very cool customer as long as you don't threaten his son.
    • Also, don't disturb Rory Breaker when he's watching his footer.
  • BFG: The Bren light machine gun.
  • Big Bad: Hatchet Harry.
    • Big Bad Ensemble: Dog and Rory Breaker both serve as secondary antagonists who are unconnected to each other or Hatchet Harry.
  • Binge Montage: After Ed's crew manages to steal a truly epic amount of money and high grade cannabis from Dog,they proceed to celebrate in this fashion.
  • Black and Grey Morality: The main characters are a bunch of petty grifters, but they run against some of London's most brutal gangs.
    • It's four grifters vs. murderous thieves vs. a drug lord vs. a loan shark and his two Co-Dragons.
  • Bland-Name Product: The antique guns are due to be sold at an auction house called Botherby's.
  • Blatant Lies: Ed's father catches wind of his son's plans to play in Harry's card game. Ed denies it, clearly without expecting anyone to buy it.
  • Brick Joke: The Man on Fire in an early scene is actually the punchline from a scene we won't get to see until later.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Averted (initially at least) by Hatchet Harry, who cheats his way to victory in his high stakes poker game against Ed. Although it does set off a chain of events that leads to Harry being killed.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The traffic warden, who gets the protagonist group off the hook as he only remembers Dog's gang as the ones who stole the drugs and beat him up.
  • Chekhov's Lecture: Dog misses out on two of these, to his cost. He wasn't present to hear either Harry telling Barry that your days are numbered should you dare threaten Little Chris, or Big Chris telling Little Chris about the importance of fastening your seatbelt.
  • The Chew Toy: The traffic warden.
  • Chromosome Casting: There are only two female speaking parts in the film - Vera and Gloria. And the latter only speaks once.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: There's barely a scene without one. Or many.
  • Contrived Coincidence
  • Cool Car The Shelby Cobra that Big Chris buys at the end of the film with the stolen money.
  • Cool Guns: The Holland & Holland shotguns, hands down.
  • Country Matters: A few times.
  • Creator Cameo: Producer Matthew Vaughn is the yuppie whose car is stolen by Dog.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Rory Breaker.
  • Description Cut:
    Harry: "I don't care who you use, as long as they're not complete muppets."
    Scouser: "Shotguns? You mean, like, guns that fire shot?"
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Harry offers Big Chris a gun, but Chris says that they're "not his thing."
  • The Dragon: Barry the Baptist, to Harry. Also Big Chris because he's seen getting most of the work done, making it a case of Co-Dragons.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Big Chris at the end has no intention of further dealings with the protagonists, now that his boss is dead. He just wants to give his son a good life.
  • Dramatic Irony: In a lot of the scenes, the humor/tension comes from the fact that the characters are oblivious to something that the audience knows is happening.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Much of the cast are given one, Nick the Greek, Dog, Rory Breaker and Barry being the most memorable.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Dog's men are visibly disgusted by his Establishing Character Moment.
    • Big Chris doesn't like to hear Little Chris swear, or anyone else swearing in front of Little Chris.
  • Evil Counterpart: Dog's gang to Ed's. They live right next door to each other and are both engaged in low scale criminal activities, but Ed's friends are only a little worse than anyone in Only Fools and Horses when it comes to street hustling, whereas Dog is a disgusting brute of a man.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Dog's gang vs. Rory Breaker's gang.
  • Fingore: As well as drowning people, Barry's other method of debt enforcement is to take a finger from the debtor's hand for each day without payment.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The four main lads:
    • Ed is Sanguine - eager, optimistic and naive.
    • Bacon is Choleric - straightforward, laid-back and sensible.
    • Soap is Melancholic - pessimistic, anxious and fussy.
    • Tom is Phlegmatic - opportunistic, business-minded and impulsive.
  • Friendship Moment: The big Scouser's reaction to his partner's death is actually kind of touching.
  • Funny Background Event: The Running Gag of Nick being served his drink at Rory's headquarters concludes with this. At the third go, the henchmen stops just behind Nick, glass in hand. Registers that Rory is this close to going completely Ax-Crazy at Nick, but really, anyone will do at this point. Very slowly, very carefully, backs out of frame, glass still in hand.
  • Fun with Subtitles: For (semi-fictional) Cockney Rhyming Slang.
  • Gambit Pileup
  • Generic Ethnic Crime Gang: Nick "The Greek" is, well, a Greek gangster.
  • Guns Akimbo: All over the place.
  • Golf Clubbing: Dog's method of torture puts a creative spin on this.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The girl who lies very still on the couch cushions while wearing similarly patterned clothes gets completely overlooked twice. See the Awesome page for details on the second time.
  • Hyperlink Story: The gambling plot, the weed growing plot, the gun-stealing plot, the robbery plot, all end up connected.
  • I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: Big Chris, charitably, after hearing Eddie's dad's reaction to Harry's offer to cancel Eddie's debt in exchange for the deed to the pub.
    JD: I do know your reputation. So I choose my words very carefully. You tell Harry... to go fuck himself.
    Big Chris: Now, I'll put that down to shock. Only once.
  • Improvised Weapon: In a flashback, "Hatchet" Harry kills a man with a sex toy, specifically a 15-inch black rubber penis.
  • Informed Attribute: Tom is constantly called fat. Jason Flemyng is...not. It makes sense when you realise that Stephen Marcus (Nick the Greek) was originally considered for the role.
  • Insufferable Genius: Winston. He's right about pretty much everything he voices an opinion about, but he does it in such an obnoxious way that no one bothers to listen to him.
  • Ironic Echo Cut:
    Narrator: "Ed would hate to admit it, but he could have kissed the old bastard for that. If he said he'd wanted to settle the debt on his own, it would have been a lie."
    • There's also the scousers and Barry repeating a simple question whose significance really is not matched by what is going on: "What the fuck are you doing here?!" To which Barry responds "What the fuck are you doing here?!"
  • Karma Houdini: Justified, since despite planning a robbery the main characters never actually get around to doing anything seriously bad. They get let off their more minor offences On A Technicality, and as for revenge from the proper gangsters...
    Eddie: Everyone's dead, Dad! That's about as in-the-clear as it gets!
    • The weed growers escape the shootout with their product back and survive pretty much intact aside J missing a chunk of his toes and Willie possibly dying of shock depending on how many shots of the bren Mick got in him. They're also technically freelance as their chief employer is killed.
  • I Will Find You: Dog vows that he will find the people who are robbing him:
    Dog: I'll find you.
    Bacon: What do you think this is, fucking hide and seek?
  • Karmic Thief: The crew robbing the much nastier gang of thieves who happen to live to next door to them — the cash they plan to steal itself being stolen from a group of drug dealers.
  • Kick the Dog: Dog murdering the dealer after torturing the information out of him. Also, when the big-haired Scouser lights a fire under the feet of his burglary victim, he suddenly drops several notches down the Sliding Scale of Antagonist Vileness.
  • Kill 'em All: There are 17 deaths in this movie. Which doesn't sound like much for a movie like this but That's basically every major or minor character in the film other than the four main protagonists, Eddy's father, Big Chris, Little Chris, the traffic cop and one of the drug dealers.
  • Knife Nut: Soap.
    "I think knives are a good idea. Big, fuck-off shiny ones. Ones that look like they could skin a crocodile. Knives are good, because they don't make any noise, and the less noise they make, the more likely we are to use them. Shit 'em right up. Makes it look like we're serious. Guns for show, knives for a pro."
    "Soap, is there something we should know about you?"
    "I'm not sure what's more worrying. The job, or your past."
  • Late to the Tragedy: The protagonists keep turning up minutes after a massive shootout has killed everyone off.
  • Leitmotif: Ed and his friends have one, as do Dog and his gang. Ed's is kind of funky, while Dog's is more hard rock.
  • Little Useless Gun: Averted. Barry the Baptist winds up dying after a single shot to the gut from a pocket pistol.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Most of whom end up dying.
  • Loan Shark: Hatchet Harry.
  • Lock and Load Montage: When Dog and Rory's respective gangs prepare to ambush the heroes.
  • London Gangster: Many characters, naturally, "Hatchet" Harry Lonsdale being a classic.
  • London Town
  • MacGuffin: The titular guns are a textbook example. Also the bags of high quality weed
  • Machete Mayhem: Soap has one.
  • Man on Fire: Early in the film, a burning man suddenly and unexpectedly emerges from a pub, in what appears to be a Big Lipped Alligator Moment. However, the situation is explained later:
    "Rory knows claret (bloodshed) is imminent, but he doesn't want to miss the end of the game; so, calm as a coma, he stands and picks up a fire extinguisher and he walks straight past the jam rolls (arseholes) who are ready for action, then he plonks it outside the entrance. He then orders an Aristotle (bottle) of the most ping pong tiddly (strong alcoholnote ) in the nuclear sub (pub) and switches back to his footer (football). 'That's fucking it,' says the guy. 'That's fucking what?' says Rory. Rory gobs out a mouthful of booze covering Fatty; he then flicks a flaming match into his bird's nest (chest) and the geezer's lit up like a leaky gas pipe. Rory, unfazed, turned back to his game. His team's won too. Four-nil."
  • Mexican Stand Off: Inadvertent since the characters don't quite realise it, but the principle applies. Rory's gang breaks into the protagonists' flat and runs into Dog's crew who are in hiding. Both groups realise something isn't right and an awkward pause occcurs before someone - followed by everyone else - starts firing.
  • Mister Big: Rory Breaker, somewhat, though his shortness is exaggerated. And he does do the little-boss-with-huge-henchmen part.
  • Mutual Kill: Barry throws a hatchet in Kenny's back. His last act is to turn and shoot him in the gut.
    • Assuming Rory Breaker killed him, a deceased Plank manages to kill him
  • Never Bring A Knife To A Gunfight: Though a case where a guy manages to nearly chop an arm off before getting riddled by bullets.
  • No Ending: An Italian Job-style cliffhanger.
  • Not So Stoic: When his son's life is threatened, Big Chris beats the person who did it to death with a car door, screaming abuse at him the whole time. Also counts as Hypocritical Humor, as Chris objects to swearing by or around his son, and he uses a lot of profanity during this scene.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: Tom's friend voices the opinion that Rory Breaker's Bunny-Ears Lawyer tendencies are an example of this.
  • Oh, Crap!: "Charles, get the rifle. We're being fucked."
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: We never learn Bacon or Soap's real names.
  • Orphaned Punchline: A variant. We hear the beginning of the joke, cut to elsewhere, and then cut back to the ensuing laughter.
  • Pants-Positive Safety: When talking to Ed in the pub, Soap pulls a large machete out of his trousers, no indication it was stored in any sort of sheath. Made even worse the sharpened edge was facing his groin, meaning he could've castrated himself if he drew wrong.
  • Papa Wolf: As Harry points out, God help anyone who dares touch Little Chris.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: One of the Scousers attempts to cover his face with a fishnet stocking during the burglary.
  • Plot-Sensitive Latch: During the opening Chase Scene, Bacon's suitcase flies open in slow motion and all the money and valuable inside are scattered about.
  • Precision F-Strike: Winston uses this quite artfully.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Eddie's friends stumble on basically everyone else. Dead or alive.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Quite literally with the Scousers, Harry, and Barry.
  • Professional Gambler: The narrator would have us believe that Eddie is one, but his lapse of judgement at the table suggests otherwise.
  • Punctuated Pounding: With a car door.
  • Rare Guns:
    • The shotguns/"smoking barrels" are worth quite a lot of money as collector's items.
    • "What's that?" "It's me Bren gun."
  • Re Cut: Guy Ritchie later released a Director's Cut that delves into the backstory between Harry and J.D. and explains why Harry wants the bar so much.
  • Revised Ending: The film's original ending had the four lads walking off with the money, with Big Chris and his son about to follow them to retrieve it. This was changed due to negative test screenings. According to Nick Moran, Guy Ritchie scrambled a new ending on the back of a cigarette packet. The ending to the film was altered some time after filming had been completed which is why Tom is wearing a woolen cap pulled low down - Jason Flemyng had grown his hair in the intervening period and did not want to shave it short again.
  • Running Gag: Nick, with Rory's glass table.
  • Shout-Out: Possibly unintentional, but two of Dog's gang are named John and Paul.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: A lot, especially from Winston. For example, "You don't look like your average horti-fucking-culturalist!"
  • Sound-Only Death: When Winston accompanies Rory Breaker to identify the thugs who robbed Rory's marijuana-growing operation. Once Winston has identified the primary culprit, as he hurries away with an armful of loot he hears gunfire.
  • Spot of Tea:
    "The entire British empire was built on cups of tea, and if you think I'm going to war without one, mate, you're mistaken."
  • Stealth Pun: In the scene where Lenny and Dog are discussing the ganja-growing yuppies, Lenny calls them a bunch of 'faggots'. Dog then smirks, holds up a joint and says "Fancy one?"note 
  • Steel Ear Drums: Averted during the Bren gun sequence. It's fired in close proximity, deafening everyone else. Its user is Genre Savvy enough to wear Peltors before he opens fire though.
  • The Stoic: Big Chris, who pretty much never raises his voice or conveys much emotion until his Berserk Button is pressed.
  • Stupid Crooks: Just about every character qualifies one way or another. The film's tagline is even "A Disgrace to Criminals Everywhere." However, special note has got to be given to Dean and Gary, who are instructed by Barry the Baptist to retrieve antique shotguns from an estate home and keep anything else they can carry for themselves. Even in a mansion decorated with numerous expensive antiques, they rationalize that "old" must mean "worthless" (among other boneheaded decisions).
    Dean: Can't you see these people haven't got any money? They can't even afford new furniture!
  • Stupid Statement Dance Mix: The "Can everyone stop getting shot?" scene was turned into a UK #1 for Oxide & Neutrino (set to a remix of the Casualty theme tune, of all things).
  • Tactful Translation: The subtitles that show up for the Man on Fire scene above zigzag this, as it starts out translating the story with curse words edited out, then puts one in when there wasn't one, before editing them out again.
  • Taking You with Me: Plank's last act is to take Rory with him in a Mutual Kill.
  • Tap on the Head: Works flawlessly on the traffic warden when done by one of Dog's men, but later on it takes three of the protagonists pounding on him to render him unconscious.
  • They Call Me Mister Tibbs:
    • In the scene which introduces Big Chris, he insists that a debtor refers to Harry as "Mister Harry".
    • Initially, Nick and his own mooks address Rory by his first name. After he finds he has been double-crossed, he angrily tells them, "That's Mr. Breaker. Today, MY name is Mr. Breaker!"
  • Title Drop: Half way done, with Barry's "Lock, stock, the fuckin' lot". The barrels of the titular guns are actually seen smoking later on, which may qualify as a visual title drop.
  • Those Two Guys: The Scousers.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Agreeing to a high stakes poker game against a fearsome London gangster is bad enough, but Ed then tries to out-bluff Harry with a weak hand (and borrows £500,000 from him just to do it). And just for good measure, he and his mates then go and rob some murderous thieves.
  • Traffic Warden: A recurring Butt Monkey played by Rob Brydon. Notably, once a Tap on the Head fails to knock him out, the whole group of protagonists decides to pummel him instead after one states his hatred for Traffic Wardens.
  • Trapped by Gambling Debts: Debts to Hatchet Harry are the primary motivation for the plot.
  • Unskilled, but Strong The betting in the pivotal scene makes no sense. Ignoring the fact that Harry was cheating, Eddie correctly believes that Harry is bluffing (he has a weak hand) - it's just that Eddie's hand is even weaker. The only way he can win is to bluff Harry into folding - or he can cut his losses and fold (losing what he's committed to the pot so far, which would hurt but not be catastrophic). Calling is the worst thing he can do in the circumstances. And that ignores the fact that a confident gambler who sensed weakness at Brag would "Bet Blind" - bet without looking at his hole cards (it earns you double at Brag), as Harry would not have been able to see what he had. Which all fits in perfectly with the fact that Eddie is absolutely rubbish at cards, but can read a person so well he really doesn't need to play well.
  • Umbrella Drink: Served at the Samoan pub to the incredulity of the protagonists. This is also the Drink Order of choice for Rory, who not only favors that pub, but drinks those at his headquarters and serves them to guests. Like one of his other food preferences (ice cream bars), it's part of his characterization as seemingly kind of goofy and ridiculous (but actually terrifyingly badass).
  • Wallpaper Camouflage: The couch potato girl at the pot house blends right into the upholstery, allowing her to get the drop on people twice.
  • Weapon for Intimidation: The two muskets are bought purely for intimidation. However, Soap asserts that knives are actually better for intimidation, since they can be used without drawing the police. "Guns for show, knives for a pro."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The only characters whose fate is left unclear are Nick the Greek and Winston and his surviving friends. Last we see of any of them, Winston is fleeing with the weed in Rory's van. Alan says that everyone "else" (i.e. not Tom or Big Chris) got arrested, but it's unclear if this refers only to the other three protagonists, or every other character. Certainly, only the former are subsequently seen in custody.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: Excellent example of this when Eddie realizes that his hand isn't all that good.
  • Xanatos Gambit: When Hatchet Harry cons Ed by cheating in three-card brag and forcing Eddy to borrow money from him or else, Ed then gets in deep by owing a quarter of a million quid. This is all to get vengeance on Ed's dad for beating him in cards years ago. If Ed doesn't pay up, and his dad doesn't bail him out, he gets vengeance by killing Ed, Harry wins. If Ed doesn't pay up, but his dad does bail him out, Ed's dad loses his pub, which he bought with the winnings he got off Harry. Harry wins. If Ed does pay up, he has earned a quarter of a million pounds, which wont be in the hand of Ed or his dad. Harry wins. Pity about the spanner in the works.
  • The Yardies: Rory and co. However, they avert the typical "lower class thug" portrayal, instead dressing stylishly and having a swanky headquarters.

"There is one more thing. (beat) It's been emotional."