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People ask the question... what's a RocknRolla? And I tell 'em - it's not about drums, drugs, and hospital drips, oh no. There's more there than that, my friend. We all like a bit of the good life - some the money, some the drugs, other the sex game, the glamour, or the fame. But a RocknRolla, oh, he's different. Why? Because a real RocknRolla wants the fucking lot.
Lenny Cole is a powerful underworld figure, who, through an immense web of bribery, controls most of the land deals in London. A Russian businessman by the name of Uri seeks his services in procuring the permits to build a new stadium, which would take nearly a decade otherwise. However, their mutual accountant, Stella, is plotting to rip both of them off. With the aid of a trio of local hoodlums known as "The Wild Bunch" -- One-Two, Mumbles, and Handsome Bob -- she twice steals the seven million Euros intended for Lenny's payoff. The first time goes off without a hitch. The second time doesn't quite go as planned. Hilarity (and awesomeness) ensues.
In the midst of it all, is a (presumably rare and valuable) painting that holds sentimental value for Uri. It is stolen by Lenny's estranged son, Johnny Quid (the eponymous RocknRolla), and both of their respective Dragons (Victor for Uri; Archy, The Narrator, for Lenny) are following a trail of junkies and hustlers in order to find it.
This Film provides examples of the following Tropes:
- An Arm and a Leg: Uri, though we can't be sure if it is to be taken literally.
- Armour Piercing Slap: Archy's expertise; so powerful, it can even make you flashback to grade-school!
- Badass: Archy and Johnny Quid, both in their own interesting ways.
- Badass Longcoat: Archy wears a black one.
- Berserk Button: Uri really loves that painting. Johnny Quid and Archy both get very angry when they are lied to.
- Break the Haughty:
- Possibly also Stella.
- Bulletproof Vest: To a ridiculous degree. One of the Russians gets shot about six times with a big machine gun, and is up chasing the Wild Bunch on foot for a prolonged period moments later.
- Butt Monkey: Quite a lot of characters are this, but the highlight is definitely poor Bandy, who screen time always consist of him being slapped.
- Chase Scene: A particularly long and epic one.
- Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster!: It's a Guy Ritchie movie. It pretty much goes without saying.
- Dragon Ascendant: Archy, if the ending dialogue is anything to go by.
- Drugs Are Bad: Johnny's drug-induced fit has shades of this.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Councillor.
- Among his many other bribes, Lenny gives him a thousand-Euro lighter (actually worth about a hundred) that's inscribed "THE COUNCILLOR".
- Facecam: When One-Two is fleeing the scene of the second robbery.
- Gayngster: Handsome Bob
- Genre Savvy: Johnny Quid's speech about what would happen to him, Roman, and Mickey after they got out of the elevator with Lenny's thugs implies this trope. Or that Johnny Quid knew how his father's Mooks work. Either way, he ended up saving their asses by doing so.
- Gory Discretion Shot: When Uri finds his "lucky painting" in Stella's house, the audience doesn't see what happens next, but considering he leads a branch of The Mafiya, it's probably not very nice.
- Honey Trap: A mild version; Handsome Bob puts the moves on Stella's husband in order to get information about the mole who's been informing to the cops. Subverted since Stella knows about her husband's proclivities, and really doesn't care (and is, in fact, off with One-Two at the same party.)
- Husky Russkie: see the entry below.
- Implacable Man: The Russian mercenaries.
- Last Request: Well, technically Handsome Bob wasn't dying when he made of request, but since he was so devasted about the impending jail time, One-Two let him have the lovely slow dance in a gay club.
- London Gangster: Where would a Guy Richie film be without several of these? Tom Wilkinson plays the Shout-Out to the Krays, as per usual.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: It's a Guy Ritchie movie. It pretty much goes without saying.
- Logo Joke: Spray-stenciled by Johnny.
- MacGuffin: The painting. We only get to see the back of it.
- Made of Iron: The Russian spetznaz. They survive their car being smashed by a truck, being shot, hit with bats and golf clubs, being thrown off the the hood of a car when it crashed, and still chase after the Wild Bunch in a prolonged chase scene. Lampshaded when Butler's character asks "What are these guys made of?!"
Mumbles: [after hitting one with a baseball bat. Twice] Please stay down!
- The Mafiya: Uri and Victor and heavily implied to be gangsters trying to go legit.
- The Narrator: Archy.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Uri. How did they not get sued?
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Several, with the Russians beating Lenny and Johnny attacking a bouncer being good examples. (We don't see all of Johnny and the bouncer, but it starts with Johnny jabbing the bouncer in the throat with a pencil, and it just goes from there.)
- Noble Top Enforcer:
- In comparison to the seemingly heartless Lenny Cole, Archy definitely qualifies as one of these. Of course, that doesn't mean that he's a nice man. Just ask Lenny.
- Uri's dragon, Victor, might qualify as well. It is mentioned by one of the Indestructible Russians that Victor saved his life during the war.
- Overly Long Gag: Archy teaching Danny how to slap someone properly.
- Politically-Incorrect Villain: Lenny is constantly griping about immigrants (even when the people in question are native Brits) and tossing around less than politically correct terms.
- Russian Guy Suffers Most: Subverted. Being former Spetznaz, they can take it.
- Sequel Hook: Johnny Quid drops the hint that he wants to be a REAL RocknRolla like Archy and the credits promise Johnny Quid, Archy, and the gang will be back in "The Real Rock N Rolla". Ritchie wrote a script for a sequel, but says that it's been sitting on the shelf while he deals with bigger projects.
- Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll are not all there is to being a RocknRolla, but they're important parts.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Johnny's piano song is very peaceful and calming. Meanwhile, Lenny is getting the tar beat out of him.
- The Beard: Stella, to her gay lawyer husband.
- The Mafiya: Well, duh.
- The Un-Reveal: Uri's painting is never revealed. The most we can tell is that it's got a black field, glimpsed when the junkies sell it. Of course, the prop is probably just a blank, black surface.
- Those Two Bad Guys: The Russians.
- Title Drop: Three times, not counting Archy's dialogue in the beginning.
- Too Dumb to Live: Stella, Stella, Stella. Ripping off seven million dollars from her employer once was incredibly dangerous and foolhardy (and if Uri had listened to Victor, suspicion would have fallen on her almost instantly), but then she does it again, once more only evading being traced as the security leak because Uri likes her too much to suspect her. Ironically, while her plan did get Victor waiting for a reason to act against her, what did her in was simple bad luck of accepting the painting from One Two and leaving it out where Uri could see it...although not realizing it was Uri's lucky painting if she's been working with him all this time is arguably ALSO too dumb to live.