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Formula 51 (2001)

The 51st State (original title)
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An American master chemist plans to score big on a once in a lifetime drug deal. All does not go as planned and he is soon entangled in a web of deceit.

Director:

Ronny Yu

Writer:

Stel Pavlou
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Samuel L. Jackson ... Elmo McElroy
Nigel Whitmey Nigel Whitmey ... L.A. Highway Patrol
Robert Jezek Robert Jezek ... Priest
Emily Mortimer ... Dakota Parker
Meat Loaf ... The Lizard
Jake Abraham Jake Abraham ... Konokko
Mac McDonald ... Mr. Davidson
Aaron Swartz Aaron Swartz ... Mr. Yuri
David Webber ... Mr. Jones
Michael J. Reynolds ... Mr. Escobar
Sonny Muslim Sonny Muslim ... Boy in Plane
Barbara Barnes Barbara Barnes ... Boy's Mother
Junix Inocian ... Mr. Ho-Fat
Robert Carlyle ... Felix DeSouza
Paul Barber ... Frederick
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Storyline

Elmo McElroy is a streetwise American master chemist who heads to England to sell his special new formula - a powerful, blue concoction guaranteed to take you to 'the 51st state.' McElroy's new product delivers a feeling 51 times more powerful than any thrill, any pleasure, any high in history. But his plans for a quick, profitable score go comically awry when he gets stuck in Liverpool with an unlikely escort and his ex-girlfriend and becomes entangled in a bizarre web of double-dealing and double-crosses.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Nice Wheels. Dirty Deals. And One Mean Mother In A Kilt. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, language, drug content and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 October 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Formula 51 See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$27,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,817,719, 20 October 2002

Gross USA:

$5,204,007

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$12,881,605
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The tartan that Samuel L. Jackson wears is the MacGillivray Clan Hunting Tartan. See more »

Goofs

When Elmo and Iki are talking in the stadium box during the final match, you can see the boom mic drop in the scene for a second. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Elmo: I mean, rules are like, arbitrary, you know. Made up for people who believe in fairy tales like, you know, like Santa Claus. Hey, but not us, right? I mean, we know what's important. There's a war going on, man. A war. Ain't that a bitch?
[cop sucks his teeth]
Elmo: I just graduated today, man. With honors. Got my degree in pharmacology. I'm licensed. Look, if you write me up on this drug charge, I won't be able to practice. So what we're talking about here is, is my life. The rest of it.
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Shortly after the credits start there is a short segment with Elmo on the Golf Course outside the castle on the post card See more »

Connections

Featured in HBO First Look: Formula 51 (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Good Fortune
Written by PJ Harvey (as Harvey)
Published by EMI Music Publishing Ltd.
Performed by PJ Harvey (as PJ Harvey)
Courtesy of Universal-Island Records Ltd.
Licensed by kind permission from the Film & TV Division, Part of the Universal Music Group
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Action comedy starred by a very good cast that generates enough eccentric energy and amusement
30 August 2014 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

An American whiz master chemist Elmo McElroy (Samuel L. Jackson , also co-executive producer and he brought in HK's Ronny Yu to direct) plans to score big on a once in a lifetime drug deal . As he develops the ultimate and revolutionary pharmaceutical narcotic , then double-crosses his L.A. boss connection nicknamed Lizard (Meat Loaf) to sell it to a Scouse kingpin (Tomlinson) and later on , Lizard seeks vengeance . All does not go as planned and he is soon entangled in a web of deceit . The Californian pharmaceutist flees to Liverpool to make a more lucrative business there , dealing with a local mafioso called Felix (Robert Carlyle) and his hoodlum (Paul Barber ; this is the second film and 'Robert Carlyle' and 'Paul Barber' have done together , the first was Full Monty ,1997). Meanwhile , a gun-toting motorcycle-riding hit woman pursues to kill him and she happens to be Felix's ex .

This exciting as well as wild picture is loaded with noisy action , irony , slapdash , comedy with tongue-in-cheek , bad taste jokes , rapid flash thrilling choreography , funny situations and with a distinctly British sense of humor . "The 51 State", is a savage hybrid among the best " Quentin Tarantino", ¨Brothers Cohen : Joel and Ethan¨ and ¨Guy Ritchie¨ , topped with a little bit of original touches here and there ; including a due homage to Liverpool FC . It turns out to be pleasantly fun that offers no intellectual stimulus whatsoever ; an exercise in pure action cinema in which entertainment and bemusement are guaranteed . The scrip written by Stel Pavlou not reinvents nothing, it is a blending of previous films , writing an enjoyable Popurrí , though it is where lies his greatness . Writer Stel Pavlou was working as an assistant in a liquor store when he penned his screenplay ; it was sent on spec to Tim Roth as Pavlou knew that Roth insisted on reading all independent scripts sent his way.

The motion picture was compellingly directed by Ronny Yu , though Tim Roth originally planned for this to be his directorial debut and Uli Edel was originally set to direct . Yu began to direct The Servant , the film became the No.1 box office hit for the summer, and Yu's future seemed destined to be in film after all. Throughout the 1980s Yu directed and produced many other box office hits in Hong Kong . In 1986 , he directed Brandon Lee , Bruce Lee's son , in Legacy of Rage . In 1993, the successful as well as romantic swordplay epic The bride with the white hair (1993) . Bride was a huge summer hit in Hong Kong, and also became an art house theater favorite in the U.S. and Europe . In 1995 came the equally ravishing The Phantom Lover(1995), a love story inspired by the original novel of The Phantom of the Opera . Following these nice films, Yu launched his Hollywood career . As he went on to direct Warriors of virtue and The 51st State or Formula 51 . His best picture and the most acclaimed results to be Fearless with Jet Li . His flair for visually rich narration appealed immediately to broader Western audiences and has been associated mostly with the terror film genre, as he has revived three franchises with The bride of Chucky (1998), adding some hilarious touches ; then Freddy versus Jason (2003), of the Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th franchises, respectively, where its box office total is more than the two franchises'combined earnings .


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