Formula 51 (2002)


There have been many rip-offs of “Pulp Fiction” over the past years, many movies mimicking the exact formula that made this influential movie so famous. This movie is an incredible mess including crude humor, a lot of which involving butts and farting, a running gag that plays throughout the movie about a common stereotype of African American genitalia, and a few plot holes here and there including one large one that made absolutely no sense. After Elmo McElroy is caught with marijuana, his potential career as a pharmacist is over. Thirty years later, a crime syndicate led by the Lizard wants his formula for the ultimate addictive drug POS Formula 51.

He travels to Britain where he meets with another crime boss that wants the drug out on the market, but he must dodge the chief of police, the Lizard, and a skilled female assassin who all want the drug for themselves. You can tell the producers didn’t follow through with the development of the story as a little subtitle below the screen explains in the climax: “No one ever found out why Elmo wore a kilt”, to which they immediately go into explaining why he wears it. The reason for it is ridiculous, and by the end, we don’t care. There’s also never verification as to whether Elmo truly holds the formula to the ultimate street drug. It’s hinted throughout the film, but whenever someone comes close to discovering it, we never find out which leaves us to wonder if he’s a conman disguised as a scientist who created the ultimate drug, or if he really holds the formula within him.

There’s an attempt to focus on other characters whom are your usual parade of British civilians: the gut stomping, football lovers who scream at the screen with heavy accents and complain about the Americans. It’s an old act that’s been orchestrated in better movies and it never truly impressed me. The characters are broadly and crudely developed, including the gorgeous Emily Mortimer who plays Dakota/Dawn who has an American accent half the time, and an English accent the other half. The one major flaw is that the main character Samuel L. Jackson seems more like a supporting character for the majority of the movie, and in rare times serves as more set dressing for the backdrop. He’s barely emphasized on unless he’s being tracked by a screaming Brit who wants his drug.

He wears this kilt on him that makes absolutely no sense and there’s no back story on him, except for the ridiculous opener in which he sports a terrible afro wig and handle bar mustache which prompted me to ponder if it was meant as a gag or a real moment. Meat Loaf has a grating and very irritating role as a crime boss known as “The Lizard” who has an odd skin deformity and screams at the top of his lungs referring to himself in a third person in his very scarce role. I was actually happy that we barely see any of Meat Loaf until the climax of the film. There’s some truly talented British actors in this film who are completely wasted including Rhy Ifens, and Emily Mortimer but they look so bored and angered by the nonsensical plot. This is a terrible, and senseless film with plot holes, stereotypes, and crude humor to fill a barrel.