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Formula 51

3.7 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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(Feb 04, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

Samuel L. Jackson (XXX, Changing Lanes) and Robert Carlyle (The Full Monty, The World is Not Enough) star in the coolest, wildest action spectacular of the year. From director Ronny Yu, and writer Stel Pavlou and co-starring Emily Mortimer (Lovely & Amazing, Scream 3) and Meat Loaf (Fight Club, TheSalton Sea). Elmo McElroy (Jackson) is a master chemist and the genius behind a designer "wonder" drug worth a cool $20 million. After ceremoniously blowing up his lab (and bosses) in Los Angeles, heheads to Liverpool, England, in search of a buyer for his new party favor. But in between dodging an assassin's bullets and trying to stay one step ahead of the law, Elmo finds an unlikely partner ina small-time gangster (Carlyle). Hang on tight for an action-packed thrill ride that you'll never forget!

Special Features

  • Cinemax special: The Making of Formula 51

Product Details

  • Actors: Samuel Jackson, Robert Carlyle, Emily Mortimer, Meat Loaf
  • Directors: Ronny Yu, Bob LaHendro
  • Producers: Andras Hamori, Steve Harvey, Malcolm Kohll, Seaton Mclean, David Pupkewitz
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 4, 2003
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007KK50
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,248 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Formula 51" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Sparks on February 22, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'll skip the plot summary, and I won't pretend to be a film critic. I'm just a regular guy, and I love this movie. Set in Liverpool, England, some of us "Yanks" might not get all of the humor. Having been to England, I got most of it. It's funny, has some good action, and the story is pretty good. Robert Carlisle is one of the best under-recognized actors in entertainment today. Sam Jackson, in a kilt...who woulda thunk it? The whole cast seems to have pretty good chemistry. If you have a couple of hours, and you're looking for a pretty good flick to pop in, get this one.
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By A Customer on November 9, 2002
You either loved this movie or you hated it. Thats what it came down to. I thought it was really good, dont go to this movie for the action though, but its a frickin hilarious comedy. Sam Jackson proves once again that he is the coolest man in movies today. The only problem i had with this movie is the constant, constant swearing. I dont care if they swear a few times, but they must have used it every other F-ing sentence. But other than that this is a great movie. Some confusing parts but go see it anyways.
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Format: DVD
This is one of those films that you can watch once ,put down for a few weeks/months,and on a Friday,or Saturday night with nothing to do,watch again.My main complaint is the ammount of swearing throughout the film.I do believe this is one of the few films that gets placed in the Guinness Book Of World Records for using the "F" word dozens&dozens of time,and its many combinations.It has what I consider the "Hollywood Formula Screenplay" to make a "style" film.Quintin Tarantino set the pace with Resevoir Dogs,and there were many carbon coppies made after.Some good,some bad,and yes...some ugly.The soundtrack to this film,while mysteriously unavailable is great throughout the movie and set the film's pace.

All the characters are entertaining,and while a little over the top&over zealous at times,it all fits with the way the film was intended to play.The only character I did'nt care for was the "female assasin".She was unbelievable as an assasin in every way,shape&form.The guns she fired were parcticaly bigger than she was,and looks like (if in the real world) she would'nt even be able to hold up any of them to aim strait enough and hit the broadside of a barn.All in all,this movie is just fun to watch with a group of friends.Break out the beer,popcorn&whatever else you like to consume while watching a flim like this,it's a kick.
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Now this is something of a rarity, a British action comedy that actually delivers and is as good, if not better, than many of the so-called action comedies Hollywood occasionally delivers. It of course stars an American, the king of cool himself Samuel L Jackson, it's also part-financed by American money and it is directed by Ronny Yu but it's still essentially a British movie, written by Stel Pavlou (not a very British name, I know) whilst working in liquor store.
Master chemist Elmo McElroy (Samuel L Jackson) has apparently invented the recreational drug to end all recreational drugs but the trouble is he's in debt to a nasty villain known as The Lizard (Meat Loaf). So he flees the country, with The Lizard's ruthless hit-woman Dakota Phillips on his tail, to sell the formula to British gangster Leopold Durant (Ricky Tomlinson) in a multi million dollar deal. Arriving in Liverpool he is met by the American hating, soccer loving Felix DeSouza (Robert Carlyle), and they are forced into a partnership of convenience. Cue many cross-cultural misunderstandings and laughs as DeSouza, mocks Jackson's kilt wearing character; "fag?" he enquires when offering him a cigarette. "So let me get this straight. `Bollocks is bad whereas dogs bollocks is good, right?" enquires Jackson.
Undoubtedly influenced by Quentin Tarantino, The 51st State takes a quintessentially American movie genre and gives it a British spin. It sets kilt wearing black American as a fish out of water in Liverpool, a place where the people are strange and the language is even stranger. But is he fazed by any of this? No, of course not. Not one iota, as he struts about in his kilt carrying his golf clubs and occasionally wielding them to dispatch the numerous bad guys.
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Format: DVD
"Formula 51" was fitful to watch. I blame the dreadful directing by Ronny Yu. The opening sequence (after the pitiful pandering to 60s/70s drug culture in the prologue) has Samuel L. Jackson creating some kind of chemical we don't know about, with Meatloaf mad at him for something we don't know about, and Samuel L. Jackson trying to blow up Meatloaf because... well, we just don't know why... because Yu doesn't tell us.
The subpar directing continues to the end of the film when the reality of Samuel L. Jackson's ecstasy-style designer drug (the namesake for the title "Formula 51") is revealed. The ending really cheapened the previous 90 minutes (if that was possible).
The redeeming quality of this film is Robert Carlyle (also seen in "The Full Monty"). Robert Carlyle is fantastic. He is the only reason this movie is watchable. He is frenetic and unpredictable. It is classic Carlyle as he jumps between "lightning in a bottle" zaniness mixed with brief glimpses of sincere vulnerability.
What stands out memorably is a scene where Carlyle supports his Liverpool soccer/football team by entering a pub dominated by Manchester United fans, lighting a flare, and preceding to insult them and taunt them. The thirty of them chase him around the pub. It is pure physical comedy and a true fantasy for anyone who loves to hate the Manchester United club.
Samuel L. Jackson is the lead as Elmo McElroy. True to his Scottish last name, he wears a kilt and brandishes golf clubs in fights. He is fairly cool, but not as dominatingly cool as he is in Pulp Fiction.
Yes, there are some laugh-out-loud moments, but they are outnumbered by groan-out-loud moments. Do not expect "Snatch" or "Pulp Fiction" with this one. Ronny Yu is not in the same league as Guy Ritchie or Quentin Tarantino.
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