The 51st State

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Stel Pavlou was working in a wine merchants until he struck gold with this screenplay, a fanboy action comedy drawing on True Romance and cynical Jerry Bruckheimer gunfests like The Last Boy Scout - but set in Liverpool, and laced with a distinctly British sense of humour. Momentum Pictures put up more than $20m, cast Jackson as the Californian chemist Elmo McElroy and brought in HK's Ronny Yu to direct. Here's the plot: Elmo has concocted a new mega brainblaster of a recreational drug; he does the dirty on his boss Lizard (Meatloaf) to sell it to a Scouse kingpin (Tomlinson). Lizard hires hitwoman Dakota (Mortimer) to dispense with the competition, which she readily manages, sparing only Elmo and local guide Felix (Carlyle) - who happens to be Dakota's ex. And so the scene is set for further flash action choreography, reams of bad taste jokes, and due homage to Liverpool FC. It's slapdash, but generates enough eccentric energy to excuse its baser elements.

Release details

Duration: 92 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Ronny Yu
Screenwriter: Stel Pavlou
Cast: Samuel L Jackson
Robert Carlyle
Emily Mortimer
Sean Pertwee
Ricky Tomlinson
Stephen Walters
Anna Keaveney
Rhys Ifans
Meatloaf
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