Jason Statham is Ritchie's star again, playing Jake Green, an ex-con and very successful gambler. Green has a grudge against big time mobster Mr Macha (an orange Ray Liotta) and it's a grudge that has to be settled, one way or another. However, immediately after winning a small fortune from Macha in a game of chance, Green collapses and is taken to hospital, where he is told he has a rare blood condition and only has three days to live. Sounds like the plot to D.O.A. to me.
Unfortunately, from here on out Ritchie really loses the thread. The first thirty minutes features a lot of internal monologue from Statham's gravely voiced character, and the story is hard to follow at best – the outcome being a low grade version of Payback. But having set up a fairy interesting (if entirely stolen) premise, Ritchie begins to work in a new theme and almost completely abandons the storyline he's set up.
Statham's character explains that the secret to his gambling success is a very simple, highly conceptual formula that involves turning your opponent against himself and making him his own enemy. The logic is, as far as I understand it, if a man is his own enemy, he can only win by defeating himself. It's just a shame that Ritchie didn't manage to explain that as well as I did in the two hours at his disposal.
The remainder of the film works around this theme, although the storyline is so confusing it's almost impossible to follow. There is even more internal monologue, from more than one character and somewhere there's a Fight Club style plot twist, which even has the audacity to take place while two characters are hitting golf balls from an inner city rooftop. Rolled in to this twist is a hefty amount of The Usual Suspects too ("The greatest trick the devil ever pulled etc."), which makes me wonder if all these references would count as "homage" or "rip-off". Personally, I have my suspicions.
It's not all bad, of course. There are flashes of what Guy Ritchie does best – cool shots, gun fights and some good dialogue. I was especially impressed with a section of the film that features some great animation, although why part of the film is animated is also unexplained.
Ultimately, this film is crying out for a moment of clarity, the point where everything falls into place and explains what has gone before. But that never happens, which means after two hours you are extremely confused and then it ends! So unless I'm missing something completely profound, I'd have to advise people to give this one a miss.