The 51st State

The 51st State

Ronny Yu (2001)

18 Certificate


Our Score
On the surface, this visceral crime thriller from Bride of Chucky director Ronny Yu is merely an exercise in noisy excess, and yet several elements mark it out as something slightly unusual. For openers, the script about a master chemist trying to sell the ultimate in designer drugs was sent to Samuel L Jackson by a first-time writer and off-licence worker (Stel Pavlou), and then given the go-ahead. On top of that, it's set in less than glamorous Liverpool; streetwise Jackson's pharmacist hero wears a kilt; and antagonistic sidekick Robert Carlyle is a rabid football fan who's only in it for a prized match ticket, not the money. It's these tongue-in-cheek details - and familiar Liverpudlian faces from TV shows such as Brookside - that add a touch of freshness to a fairly mindless film. Rhys Ifans's eccentric crime lord and Emily Mortimer's sexy hitwoman don't ring true at all, but gritty realism isn't on the agenda here.


An American drug dealer decides to retire from a life of crime and plans to raise the necessary funds through one final sale in Liverpool. There he has to contend with crooked cops, a neo-Nazi gang and a hitwoman in the employ of his old boss. Action comedy, starring Samuel L Jackson, Robert Carlyle, Emily Mortimer, Meat Loaf, Ricky Tomlinson, Sean Pertwee and Rhys Ifans.

Cast & Crew

Elmo McElroy Samuel L Jackson
Felix De Souza Robert Carlyle
"Dakota" Emily Mortimer
Iki Rhys Ifans
Durant Ricky Tomlinson
Virgil Kane Sean Pertwee
The Lizard Meat Loaf
Frederick Paul Barber
Shirley De Souza Anna Keaveney
Director Ronny Yu
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Momentum PicturesGuidance: Violence, swearing, a sex scene and drug abuse.Available on: video and DVDReleased on: 7 Dec 2001
Comedy Drama