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Movies: SHOT TO PIECES; REVOLVER (15).

Byline: BY ROZ LAWS

GUY Ritchie will spend the rest of his life desperately trying to recapture the early form he showed in Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels.

But he will never be known as much more than Mr Madonna if he continues to come up with this rubbish.

He has written and directed a movie which begins with great style and promise.

Gambler Jake Green (Jason Statham) spends seven years in prison after taking the rap for gangster Macha (a leather-faced Ray Liotta).

That's a long time to plan his revenge, with the help of his neighbouring cellmates - a master chess player and a master conman who teach him the art of deception.

On his release Jake goes to Macha's casino and wins a heap of money. But then he collapses, and is told he has a fatal blood disease and three days to live.

That's if he survives the wrath of Macha and his top assassin, bespectacled Sorter (Mark Strong, putting in the film's only great performance).

Coming to his aid are loan sharks Zach (Vincent Pastore) and Avi (Andre Benjamin), who offer him a way out.

So far, so interesting. Then the pretentious plot gets bogged down until it becomes an impenetrable mess.

Ritchie's snazzy camera tricks, including slow motion and animation, fail to cover over the cracks.

Nor does trying to borrow from The Usual Suspects, Fight Club and The Matrix.

At one point, Jake says: 'I've had enough of this, it's starting to do my head in.'

And I couldn't agree more.

At first I found the tortuous, nonsensical plot confusing. Then frustrating. Then sheer torture.

The last 20 minutes mainly consists of characters having conversations with themselves in their heads. I heard voices too, and mine were telling me to get out.

And I still don't understand what the con was they were trying to pull off.

Maybe taking money from cinema-goers under the false promise of entertainment?

CAPTION(S):

BAD BOY: Ray Liotta
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Sep 25, 2005
Words:331
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