REVIEW: THE 51st STATE

CAST
Samuel L. Jackson (Black Snake Moan)
Robert Carlyle (Stargate Universe)
Emily Mortimer (Lars and The Real Girl)
Meat Loaf (Fight Club)
Sean Pertwee (Gotham)
Ricky Tomlinson (Mike Bassett: England Manager)
Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man)
In 1971, a policeman catches Elmo McElroy, a recent college graduate with a degree in pharmacology, smoking marijuana. Because of his arrest and conviction, he is unable to find work as a pharmacologist. In the present day, a drug lord called “the Lizard” calls a meeting of his organisation, hoping to sell a brand new substance invented by Elmo. The meeting goes badly when Elmo, in a bid to escape from the Lizard’s control, blows up the building, killing everyone but the Lizard. Vengeful, the Lizard contacts Dakota, a contract killer, who previously killed the only witness in a case against the Lizard. Dakota initially refuses the hit, but accepts when the Lizard offers to clear her gambling debts and give her a $250,000 bonus. Elmo leaves for Liverpool, England, where he meets Felix DeSouza, a local “fixer” who has been sent by Leopold Durant, head of a local criminal organisation, in exchange for two football tickets to a sold-out game. At the meeting, Elmo pitches POS 51, a synthetic drug that can be produced with minimal facilities and is 51 times as potent as other drugs. A second opinion from Pudsey, Durant’s chemist, confirms Elmo’s claims, and Durant gives him over a million dollars in bonds. Since it is $18 million short of the agreed payment, Elmo threatens to leave.
In a room across the street, Dakota is about to take a shot at Elmo’s head when the Lizard calls cancelling the hit; not wanting to kill Elmo until he has the formula. Instead of killing Elmo, she is to kill anyone who meets with him. She switches rifles to an automatic weapon and kills everyone but Elmo and Felix, who is shot in the buttocks. As Elmo and Felix leave the hotel, a gang of skinheads who seek the drug attack them. Elmo protects them with a golf club. Detective Virgil Kane arrives on the scene and gives a chase. He is soon lured into a game of chicken by Elmo, who escapes. Kane returns to the crime scene and demands 50% of Durant’s deal with McElroy. A miscommunication leads to Durant’s death.
 Felix contacts a gun dealing club owner and drug distributor named Iki, promising him the formula for £20 million. As Elmo and Felix acquire the ingredients necessary for the drug’s manufacture, all of which are over-the-counter products, the now-armed skinheads capture them. Elmo is unflustered, as the skinheads claim they have a lab, though it turns out to be a broken-into animal testing facility. Elmo makes two batches of the drug; one blue and one red. He claims that the red pill is the stronger version, and after he takes one, the skinheads try it. While they are partying, waiting for the effect of the drug, in the next room Elmo spits out his red pill. He tells Felix it is a powerful laxative; Elmo and Felix leave after throwing rolls of toilet paper to the incapacitated skinheads.
At Iki’s rave club, Elmo initiates his deal and delivers the drug to the waiting crowd. Kane and the police interrupt the deal and arrest Felix. When Dakota appears, she reveals that her real name is Dawn and that she and Felix were romantically involved. She captures Elmo and leaves with him via the roof. Elmo gets the upper hand, suspending her over the edge of the roof. Having no choice, she strikes a deal with him and they escape from Kane. Meanwhile, Kane blackmails Felix during a police interrogation and forces himself into the deal with Iki, which Felix sets up for him.
 Felix, Elmo and Dawn meet Iki in a private viewing box at the football game at Anfield. This time, the deal is interrupted by the Lizard, who shoots Iki and demands the formula to POS 51. The Lizard celebrates with a drink, as Elmo reveals that the drug is a placebo and POS stands for Power of Suggestion. Kane interrupts them as Elmo’s cocktail, an explosive ingested by the Lizard, takes effect. Kane is knocked unconscious and arrested, and the others escape. Dawn and Felix give their relationship another chance, and Elmo purchases a castle once owned by the man who owned his ancestors.
 I’m not surprised this film did a whole lot better this side of the Atlantic than it did back in the USA. With the majority of the action based in England, Jackson and Meat Load being the only Americans and a whole plethora of wonderful British character actors that are a complete joy it’s small wonder it was lapped up by British audiences