Movie review: The Gentlemen
It may be easy to forget that Guy Ritchie got into showbiz with his blokey crime comedy Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels. That was some 20 years ago.
Lately, the British film-maker is better remembered as the guy who turned Will Smith blue in last year's Aladdin, or for churning out the likes of King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword (2017) and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015).
The Gentlemen is Ritchie's attempt to get back his gangster mojo, but more needs to be done than relying on the same old Lock formula.
The story is pretty straightforward.
It is all about rags-to-riches London pot kingpin Mickey Pearson's (Matthew McConaughey) attempt to sell his booming marijuana enterprise to a fellow American (Jeremy Strong).
Pearson just wants to retire and spend the rest of his life with his sassy wife (Michelle Dockery).
Told through a series of flashbacks via hungry paparazzo Fletcher (Hugh Grant) to Pearson's right-hand man Ray (Charlie Hunnam), we are introduced to each chess piece on the board.
There's ambitious underboss Dry Eye (Henry Golding); Coach (Colin Farrell), a boxing/MMA instructor with a horrid dress sense; and Big Dave (Eddie Marsan), a tabloid editor who wants Pearson's crimes exposed.
There are also other players such as the Russian mafia, Chinese triad and a British aristocrat - too many in a brew of double- and triple-crosses.
Typical of a Ritchie flick, the plot just gets messier and more convoluted as it goes along.
That's not to say The Gentlemen is not enjoyable. It is rather entertaining, thanks to fun performances from Grant, Hunnam and Farrell.
The weakest link is McConaughey, who is bland and - rather uncharacteristically - without any swagger.
You just don't buy him as the king of the jungle.
For a crime caper, The Gentlemen is nowhere near the level of cleverness showcased in Rian Johnson's recent Knives Out.
But as Ritchie's bid to return to his roots, it's not a bad effort.
FILM: The Gentlemen
STARRING: Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Hugh Grant, Colin Farrell, Jeremy Strong, Henry Golding
WRITER-DIRECTOR: Guy Ritchie
THE SKINNY: American Mickey Pearson (McConaughey) has built a lucrative marijuana business in London. When word of his impending retirement gets out, everyone wants a piece of it - by any means necessary.