Every time Samuel L. Jackson does a good movie, he turns around and does something like "Formula 51," also known as "The 51st State" in other parts of the world. Jackson co-stars with Carlyle, who seems to have lost his comedic timing from the good old days of "The Full Monty."
"Formula 51" is about an American drug chemist who travels to Liverpool in search of a buyer for his perfect formula, a drug that is fifty times more potent than ecstasy. Of course, his ex-employer wants the formula for himself, so he sends a beautiful assassin to capture him. Along the way, the chemist teams up with an anti-American hoodlum.
Yes, the plot sounds fascinating, doesn't it? Is it a comedy? Is it an action movie? Who knows (yes, I did watch the movie), but what I do know is that Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Carlyle are not action stars, and so that must mean this is meant to be a comedy... so where are the jokes?
Sure, there are a few scenes here or there that made me laugh, but the other seventy minutes of the film had me shaking my head. There are plenty of action scenes that just seem to be there for "good taste," including one where Jackson stars knocking guys around with golf clubs while in a hotel lobby. Most of the action and "suspense" don't make much sense, and things get worse when a love story is thrown into the mix between the assassin (Emily Mortimer) and the hoodlum (Carlyle).
Essentially, the plot is awful, the acting isn't all that great, the comedy is stagnant, and the action doesn't make much sense. Meat Loaf turns in a truly horrifying performance as the film's villain, and is killed in an even worse way which had me shaking my head.
Trust me... If you are curious as to how he dies, get the DVD and skip right to the ending. Of course, that still might be worth it, and you'd still have to worry about renting or buying the film. Of course, maybe the video stores wouldn't mind getting this stinker off of their hands...
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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