Writer/Director Guy Ritchie made a name for himself, two decades ago with films like “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and “Snatch”. He would then go on to bigger budget projects like “Sherlock Holmes”, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” and last year’s “Aladdin”. When I first learned that the filmmaker would return to the British-gangster genre that launched his career, I was curious if he could deliver the same energy and fun that he delivered the first time around. I am happy to say that “The Gentlemen” is a worthy addition to Ritchie’s “boys with bullets” cinema.
Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) is a middle-aged drug kingpin who is ready for retirement and to settle down with his wife Rosalind (Michelle Dockery). Mickey’s asking price for his network of underground marijuana farms and connections is $400 million and his potential buyer is American billionaire Matthew Berger (Jeremy Strong). Unfortunately for Mickey, the sale of his business isn’t going that smoothly. Dry Eye (Henry Golding), who is an underboss for a Chinese gangster has his sights on Mickey’s business and is quite unpleased when his offer to buy the operation is rejected.
To make matters worse, one of Mickey’s secret facilities is raided buy a group of kickboxing hooligans. The event is recorded and published online, forcing Mickey to get rid of that location. There is also private investigator Fletcher (Hugh Grant) who wants to blackmail Mickey via his right-hand-man Ray (Charlie Hunnam), which adds more fuel to the fire. Let me not forget the coach of the kickboxing hooligans (Colin Farrell), who wants to make up for the trouble his boys caused by doing favors for Mickey. Yes, there is a lot going on in “The Gentlemen”, but Ritchie’s gangster flicks have always been filled with numerous colorful characters and he has assembled a fantastic cast here.
“The Gentlemen” is funny and without question, quite entertaining. However, it does lack the frantic energy Ritchie gave us in his earlier pictures. It could be due the filmmaker getting older and allowing his characters to age as well. Don’t get me wrong, everything here still shouts “boys will be boys”. Regardless, if you are a fan of violent, funny, British crime films, you will most likely spending time with these gentlemen.
By: Marc Ferman