Only two years after he catapulted to fame thanks Zack Snyder‘S 300, Gerard Butler in collaboration with Guy Richie for a somewhat forgettable return to the director’s signature style at RocknRolla. Although maybe not as great as the Guy Ritchie movies Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or Seize, RocknRolla is a great crime film with an excellent cast, but it doesn’t get the love it deserves and has long been overshadowed by some of Butler’s bigger hits. Despite this, RocknRolla is a delightful showcase of everything that made Butler a household name.

‘RocknRolla’ Showcases Everything The Best Gerard Butlers Do

Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Idris Elba, and Mark Strong at Rocknrolla
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

Gerard Butler’s experience is an interesting one. There are a lot of things he does really well as an actor and, more importantly, as a movie star. He’s a credible action star, he has excellent comedic timing, he can work as a romantic lead, and he plays a dirty dirtbag as well as pretty much anyone – Thieves’ Nest is exhibition one here. But in recent years, he’s played almost exclusively one-note action leads. There’s a bit of personality in a lot of these characters that leaves a real impression. Although Olympus Has Fallen receiving two sequels and a TV spinoff in the works, can anyone explain anything that makes Mike Banning such a unique character? The same can be said for his work at Hunter Killer, Last Seen Alive, Aircraftand the disaster film Geostorm And grazing land.


Whatever one may think of Butler’s choice, he found an audience, as evidenced by the creation of sequels. The frustrating part is that there are few movies in between that show he could still do some interesting work. Thieves’ Nest is a stark example – easily his best film since Law abiding citizens – while another unseen gem enters Copshop seeing him once again excel as a dirtbag. But if you want to get a little of everything Butler does best, 2008 RocknRolla is the place to see. He gets charming and funny, while also being a little trashy and gets some action scenes – the fight and chase with the Russians mixes action and humor to great effect.

In the RocknRolla, The butler named One Two, as is often the case in Ritchie’s films, is caught up in an intricate plot full of coincidences and luck. There are so many coincidences it starts to be easy to believe, but with such a great cast having fun it’s hard to care. It also doesn’t matter if you understand the plot and all its threads, but the rough outline is One Two and Mumbles (Idris Elba) owes Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson) a lot of money, Lenny brokers a real estate deal with a Russian billionaire (Karel Roden), payments that One Two and Mumbles keep stealing thanks to tips from billionaire accountant Stella (Thandiwe Newton), and rockstar stepson Lenny (Toby Kebbell) was meant to be dead but has actually stolen a painting. Flag Strong also slapped a lot of people.

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Why is ‘RocknRolla’ Mostly Unknown?

Gerard Butler’s pair came off the turn making stars in big shots 300 and Ritchie is back to the kind of movies that made his name should be a recipe for success. Unfortunately, Ritchie was coming off some big bombs. Started his career very well Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels And Seize, both of which were hugely successful against their modest budgets and much loved, the sky’s the limit for British directors. Then come drift away starring Ritchie’s wife at the time Madonna. The film would go down as not only one of the worst movies ever made, but also one of the biggest commercial flops, grossing only $611,000 worldwide on a $10 million budget. Things weren’t getting any better Gun, although it is at least watchable. Relative to this statue RocknRolla was actually a smash hit simply by exceeding its budget, though that wasn’t enough to warrant the promised sequel in the end credits. Don’t feel too bad for Ritchie though, his next two movies are Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes films, which made an estimated $1 billion combined.

It’s hard to say whether audiences also liked Butler at the time, though he certainly couldn’t replicate the success 300, it wasn’t uncommon when someone had an escape role. Often by the time a film is released, several subsequent films have already been filmed or are in production. Butler probably wouldn’t choose to follow 300 with PS I love you or Nim Island if he knew how big it would be.

‘Dancing Rocknrolla Alone Is Worth The Price Of Admission

Gerard Butler at Rocknrolla
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

Gerard Butler isn’t exactly known for dancing on screen as much as he’s killing people, outside of a pretty fun sideshow commercial, but there are two great examples here. RocknRolla. The first is One Two and Stella cutting the rug at a house party, where they are both absolutely terrible. The best description for it is a slightly more restrained version of Elaine’s dancing Seinfeld. It’s a very simple scene but Butler and Newton keep it very funny. Dance scene number two is also played for laughs, with Handsome Bob (Tom Hardy) and One Two slow dance before a giant flaming love heart. The scene buildup isn’t that old yet, namely that Handsome Bob reveals that he’s gay and wants to spend his last night before going to jail with One Two, and the joke is that they end up slow dancing. Outside of Butler’s initial reaction which is still hilarious, to be honest the storyline is handled pretty well. It’s definitely worth sticking around until the end credits to watch the extended version of this dance scene.

It’s not exactly dance, but the sex scene between One Two and Stella is another comedic element that works flawlessly. As with so many great moments in film history, this brief but memorable scene was never meant to happen that way. Butler had a throat infection, which caused Newton, reasonable enough, to refuse to kiss him. How do they get around this? Ritchie’s very similar montages with quick cuts of their faces in multiple levels of fun that work seamlessly. This is another example of the kind of thing we no longer get from Butler, and we are all poorer for it.

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