Rancid Aluminum (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Scoop's notes in white:

The bad news: this is yet another ultraviolent semi-comedic gangster film from the U.K.

The good news: these things should just about have run their cycle. After Pulp Fiction came out in the United States (1994), it seemed like every filmmaker in the country had to make a lame copy for about three or four years. It has now been about three or four years since Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels was released, so the UK filmmakers should now be getting tired of copying it.

At least I hope so.

This particular director managed to take a group of actors who are all quite good when they are properly cast, but chose instead to play them all against type. Shakespeare played the cold-hearted and weaselly Irish crook (with some kind of ungodly pseudo-Irish provincial dialect, like nothing I've ever heard). Rhys Ifans, who can be delightful when he plays the Welsh version of Kosmo Kramer, finished the movie in a motorcycle chase followed by a bloody shoot-out. Suffice it to say that Schwarzenegger and Vin Diesel won't have to worry about Ifans's competition for leads in future action flicks. Tara Fitzgerald, who can be effective as the mousy brunette who needs a good porking, tried to play a Russian femme fatale similar to the role Lena Olin played in Romeo is Bleeding. She used about five different accents in the course of the film, and if I'm not mistaken, they actually dubbed over her voice in a couple of scenes.

The basic plot: the evil Shakespeare plots to take over a company after the patriarch dies, because the old buzzard left everything to his doofus son (Ifans). Shakespeare is understandably pissed about this, since he has actually been running the company for years while the doofus did nothing, yet ol' sonnet-boy got nothing when the old man died. Therefore, the ol' Bard deliberately gets the doofus in trouble with the Russian Mafia, hoping that he can take over everything after the Russians get rid of the big galoot.

But Shakespeare's plans all go awry. The Russians go through their normal process to test whether a Westerner is a worthy partner for them, and Ifans passes. Add that to the fact that the Russians thought Shakespeare was a slimebag to begin with and, after much travail, it all works out OK for the big lug.

The tests the Westerner had to pass in order to prove his worth to the Russian mafiosi:

1. Beat all the Russians in a vodka drinking contest while standing on the highest window sill in Moscow.

2. Fuck the don's daughter with the don in one adjoining room and the Westerner's wife in the other.

3. Come back from the dead after being riddled with bullets in a public execution.

4. Defeat the French army (OK, they had to throw in an easy one to give him a breather.)

5. Stabilize the Russian economy.

6. Sit through an entire Tarkovsky movie. (I know that can't be done. He didn't really have to do that, because the Russians were all asleep by the end of "Nostalghia", so there were no witnesses to say he failed. It's just part of the eternal mystery of Russia.)


Tara Fitzgerald as the Russian daughter, shows her buns in a sex scene, and part of her breasts.

Sadie Frost, as the girlfriend shows nipples in one blurry frame, despite more than one steamy sex scene.

Dani Behr also has a steamy encounter in an elevator with our hero, but doesn't really show anything.

Tuna's comments in yellow:

Rancid Aluminum (2000) is "fooking shite" according to nearly everyone who has seen it, including me. It is about a British firm in financial trouble that makes a deal with the Russian Mafia, but the details are "all bollocksed up." It was even obvious to the film makers, who kept saying "those who know, know" whenever someone in the film questioned everything. The head of the English company is trying to get his girlfriend pregnant, and is seeing a fertility doctor. He takes her with him to negotiate with the Russians, and does her twice and the daughter of the head of the Russian Mafia the same night. Both end up pregnant. His best bud, who has actually been running the business til the death of his father, is scheming with the Russians to get him killed.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • widesceen letterbox, 1.85:1

  • no meaningful features

I agree with the poor critical reception. The acting is not that bad, but the plot is stupid, the direction and editing amateur at best, and the dialogue is among the worst I have heard. 

The Critics Vote

  • filmcritic.com 2/5

  • E-film critic wrote a scathing review. A sample:

    This film is fucking awful and should be avoided at all costs. Bad in every way imaginable, this film offends me to the very core. Not worth watching even if someone pays you to.


The People Vote ...

  • with their dollars: no USA theatrical release
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a E (Tuna) to D (Scoop). Two thumbs down.

Return to the Movie House home page