Combustible Celluloid
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With: Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Carlyle, Emily Mortimer, Meatloaf, Sean Pertwee, Rhys Ifans
Written by: Stel Pavlou
Directed by: Ronny Yu
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, language, drug content and some sexuality
Running Time: 92
Date: 12/07/2001

Formula 51 (2002)

3 Stars (out of 4)

New Drug

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Hong Kong director Ronny Yu, who made the 1993 masterpiece The Bride With White Hair, directed this silly Hollywood action flick, and most critics attacked it mercilessly. Samuel L. Jackson plays a disgraced chemist who has turned international drug dealer. With the help of Robert Carlyle, he plans to see an Ultimate Drug in England. Of course, there's a sexy girl (Emily Mortimer), an assassin who lends a hand. It's not terribly smart, but Yu keeps the thing sprightly and unpretentious, and it's far better than the much more popular XXX, which also stars Jackson. The film was released in the U.K. a year earlier under the title The 51st State.

DVD Details: Columbia/TriStar's good-looking disc comes with optional widescreen and evil pan-and-scan versions, and a little making-of special.

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