The 51st State (2002)


A kilt wearing American pharmacologist comes to Liverpool to sell the formula for a new kind of street drug, but his former employer sends a hit woman after him to ensure that he fails.

The 51st State is very frustrating to watch as I couldn’t help feeling that there was a decent film in there somewhere, trying to get out. The problem with it is its unbelievable lack of subtlety; it’s over-directed to the point where it feels like a clip show for CSI: Miami on crack; the ubiquitous, overly intrusive MTV soundtrack is abysmal and the constant stream of wacky comedy criminals made it feel like “Carry On Gangsters”. Samuel L. Jackson is always watchable when he’s allowed to strut his stuff and Robert Carlyle gets more tolerable as the film goes on, but its scatter-shot approach means that it misses the mark at least as often as it hits.

In the end, one decent action sequence and a couple of mildly amusing gags is not enough to fill 90 minutes, although Jackson’s charisma does make it watchable. Just. But I would never, ever choose to sit through it again.



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