After tackling King Arthur and Aladdin, writer/director Guy Ritchie returns to his cockney-gangster roots with "The Gentlemen" - an all-star crime caper that is exactly what you would expect from the man behind "Snatch" and "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels."
For fans of those films, there is a lot to like here in "The Gentlemen." It may not quite live up to the bar they created, but it's still a bloody fun time with the cast making it all go down like a smooth pint of whiskey.
"The Gentlemen" stars Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Pearson, a highly successful drug lord in England looking to sell his empire and retire with his wife Rosalind (Michelle Dockery).
On the verge of a big payday that will make that retirement a reality, Mickey is approached by a rival named Dry Eye (Henry Goulding) who wants to take Mickey's empire for himself.
A power struggle ensues, bringing in everyone from Mickey's right-hand man Ray (Charlie Hunnam) to a sleazy journalist (Hugh Grant) looking for his own payday to a strict boxing coach (Colin Farrell) trying to help some of his students pay back a debt.
Ritchie gives the cast a lot of red meat dialogue to chew on and pretty much everyone gets their respective moment. McConaughey plays his role with nice intensity, while Dockery is delightful in a role that is a far cry from her "Downton Abbey" days.
Goulding is also very good, proving that is much more than a romantic comedy leading man, while Grant continues to build an interesting resume at the back end of the career - following up "Paddington 2" with another character that is the exact opposite of his "Notting Hill," "Four Weddings and a Funeral" days.
"The Gentlemen" does start slow, with Ritchie sometimes getting a little too happy with his own dialogue (and probably the ability to swear and be ultra-violent, something he couldn't do with Disney), but it builds a rollicking final act that has a quite effective payoff.
I'm not sure if "The Gentlemen" will win over anyone not already a fan of Ritchie's gangster work, but for those who are - there is more than enough here to leave the theater satisfied.