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Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Walters’

The 51st State (a.k.a. Formula 51)

Tuesday, April 25th, 2023

“THE 51ST STATE is very dear to me, because it was the first time in Hollywood that I didn’t have to deal with dolls.” –Ronny Yu, 2004

Three years after the unlikely career milestone of BRIDE OF CHUCKY, Ronny Yu made easily the weakest of his English-language films – a UK-Canada co-production called THE 51ST STATE, but we call it FORMULA 51 here so people don’t think it refers to DC statehood. (Actually I’m not totally clear what it does refer to. But the number 51 is in the name of a super-drug that’s central to the plot.)

Under any name it’s a thoroughly 2001 film, with wall-to-wall dated music (score by somebody called Headrillaz), annoying whooshes and flash cuts, character names and descriptions written on screen as they’re introduced, a long scene at a rave type dance club, and two stars – Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Carlyle – who had ridden the ‘90s indie wave to the specific level of commercial viability where they could be cast in stuff like this. It’s one of a handful of movies, along with THE NEGOTIATOR and SHAFT, that could arguably be considered a straight up Samuel L. Jackson vehicle. But even though it starts and ends with him he’s kind of a mysterious, unexplained character, while co-star Carlyle gets to have the love story and sex scene. (read the rest of this shit…)