Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 30
  2. Negative: 3 out of 30
  1. 90
    A dynamite bundle from British writer-director Guy Ritchie. Even when the accents are as indecipherable as the plot, Ritchie keeps the action percolating and the humor on high.
  2. Reviewed by: Joshua Klein
    The acting, mostly by a bunch of unknowns, is equally fresh and funny, and Ritchie keeps the movie moving faster than you can say, "bludgeoned to death by a 15-inch black rubber dildo."
  3. Dark, dangerous and a great deal of wicked, amoral fun. A film that manages to be as clever, playful and mock violent as its title, Lock, Stock was a major hit in its native Britain and its cheeky tone, simultaneously calculated and off the cuff, is as hip as anyone could want. [5 Mar 1999]
  4. 89
    With such a frenetic, brain-melting load of images to ponder, it's easy to forget that there are also some terrific actors at work here, not the least of whom is the amazing Vinnie Jones.
  5. There are so many balls in the air in the cheerfully violent Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, you'll want to wear a helmet for fear they'll all come crashing down.
  6. 88
    It's a superior thriller made with the guts and gusto that too many recycled entries into the genre fail to exhibit.
  7. 80
    Ritchie appears to have been paying attention to what made "Reservoir Dogs" (a huge hit in the UK) work, rather than coming away convinced that the formula for success begins and ends with pop-culture allusions and scarcely digested "homages" to classic crime films.
  8. Reviewed by: Ron Wells
    Lock is filled with great writing, great acting, colorful characters, and a tight story. I actually like this film more than "Pulp Fiction".
  9. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is in the scabrous mode, and I like it better than "Trainspotting" -- it doesn't pretend its shenanigans are revolutionary.
  10. Reviewed by: Ernest Hardy
    [Ritchie] cranks up the laughs and tension with equal aplomb, throwing wrenches in the plot so that the audience has no idea what to expect next -- and that's part of the film's thrill.
  11. A special weapon unto itself. Spring-loaded with cockney esprit, it peppers its audience with aggressive, sarcastic grapeshot. That's English for "fun," by the way.
  12. A considerable kick, though it would have helped if one of the boys had wiped off the lens of the camera once in a while.
  13. Reviewed by: Michael Sgragow
    Ritchie's showmanship--half macho braggadocio, half emotion-tinged bravura--slaps and tickles the viewer into submission. He takes a group of not-so-goodfellas, whose idea of fun is setting farts afire, and, against all odds, makes them lively and engaging.
  14. Much of the action is laugh-provoking, and even the plentiful violence is handled as comic by-play. The cast is revved up to sizzle, with Sting in a smallish role, and the thick cockney dialogue is more comprehensible than you might think.
  15. 75
    [It's] like Tarantino crossed with the Marx Brothers, if Groucho had been into chopping off fingers...Fun, in a slapdash way; it has an exuberance, and in a time when movies follow formulas like zombies, it's alive.
  16. 75
    Plenty of fun, less for its many plot twists than for its large and varied assortment of vibrant characters. [12 Mar 1999]
  17. If the dialect is hard to comprehend, that soon becomes part of the joke. It's unlikely that even the British audiences who made Lock, Stock a big hit got it all.
  18. Reviewed by: Jane Ganahl
    Flawed but scrappy, confusing yet exhilarating, the Brit-made Lock, Stock is far from a perfect movie. And it's not for anyone squeamish about violence. But it is, like Green Day, a rockin' good time.
  19. Reviewed by: Gemma Files
    One of the most consistently amusing ways in which it frustrates audience expectations has to do with how amazingly little of this very violent cast of characters' violence actually ends up being expressed onscreen.
  20. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    Though Ritchie’s screenplay scores a 10 for sheer complexity and cleverness, it rates much lower down the scale for comprehensibility and audience involvement.
  21. The film's lures, while undeniable, are synthetic, and we never do learn what fuels all the greed besides pints of beer.
  22. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    A half-funny, half-ugly comedy about underworld ineptitude. [5 Mar 1999]
  23. The best one can say is that it's a smart cartoon, and a fairly exhausting viewing experience.
  24. The humor is as crude as the characters, but the picture has energy.
  25. Flashy, random shifts of film speed and a true rogues' gallery of striking if one-note characters, do hold interest even if they have no real right to. The commercial aspects also deflect attention from the fact that this story has almost no center at all.
  26. 40
    Given its boundless sarcasm, running-jumping- standing-still ambience and hyperbolic Guignol violence, Lock, Stock aspires to be something like the Beatles meet the "Wild Bunch." Too bad it doesn't have even a rubber soul.
  27. 40
    Blends extremes of violence and humor to create an irreverent tone that nullifies everything; the plot is so clever it crushes the characterization, making all the action seem perfunctory.
  28. It's supposed to be visually exciting, but the result is more like a corpse-strewn Gap khakis ad than a triumph of technique. At least, based on the film's grainy texture and amber lighting, it's nice to know that the guy who shot every porn movie released in the '70s appears to be working again.
  29. 30
    The tediously convoluted plot involves the foursome’s attempt to pay him back, a labored venture that involves crooks with names like Dog and Plank, a man on fire, some fine cinematography, plenty of gore though no real point.
  30. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    The laborious title of an even more laborious Cockney action movie that some people think is the cat's pajamas crossbred with the bee's knees.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 134 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
  1. AdamS.
    Oct 27, 2005
    Brilliant plot development. Guy Ritchie proves that he has what it takes with this movie. It outshines, dare I say it, Quentin Tarantino and Brilliant plot development. Guy Ritchie proves that he has what it takes with this movie. It outshines, dare I say it, Quentin Tarantino and Pulp Fiction. Full Review »
  2. chw
    Sep 24, 2014
    The movie was not what I expected at all, but in this case, and this case only, it turned out to be better because of it. I'd see it again,The movie was not what I expected at all, but in this case, and this case only, it turned out to be better because of it. I'd see it again, buy it, and see it about 27 more times. Full Review »
  3. Jun 2, 2014
    "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels"' smart and witty script propels this one above your run-of-the-mill crime film. At every turn, the"Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels"' smart and witty script propels this one above your run-of-the-mill crime film. At every turn, the dialogue was perfect and really made the film a fun watch. In addition, the constant twists, turns, and confusion for the characters, was very interesting and, for the most part, unexpected. The movie I got was not the one I was expecting at all and I am completely ok with that, as the movie I got was way better than the one I expected. In addition, the acting from the whole cast was good. Nobody really stood out (in fairness, no one person had a large enough role to stand out), but since everyone was good, no complaints there. There is also some comedy in this. I did not find it that funny, but there were definitely some lines that had me laughing.

    Only complaint I can think of for this one is that at times the numerous layers of plot (particularly in the beginning) can be a little confusing and tough to adjust to. However, once the movie really gets going, all of the pieces come together and you begin to understand more and more with little difficulty.
    Full Review »