Formula 51 (2001)
"The 51st State" (original title)

R  |   |  Action, Comedy, Crime  |  18 October 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 41,875 users   Metascore: 23/100
Reviews: 167 user | 94 critic | 29 from

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.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Jezek ...
Jake Abraham ...
Mac McDonald ...
Aaron Swartz ...
David Webber ...
Mr. Escobar
Sonny Muslim ...
Boy in Plane
Barbara Barnes ...
Boy's Mother
Mr. Ho-Fat


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. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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:






Release Date:

18 October 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Formula 51  »

Box Office


$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£913,239 (UK) (7 December 2001)


$57,988 (South Africa) (31 January 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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


When Iky presents the weapons to Dakota in the hangar, a shadow is visible on the right-hand side of the bench on which the weapons are placed. As the camera moves backwards, so does the shadow, indicating it belongs to either team or equipment. See more »


[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 »


References Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) See more »


Night Time Boy
Written by Monk
Publishing Copyright Control
Performed by Robby Real
Licensed by kind permission of
See more »

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User Reviews

Pulp fiction meets Brookside! Joy!
10 December 2001 | by (Liverpool, England) – See all my reviews

OK, so the `what' British film industry needs another gangster-flick about as much as Zsa-Zsa Gabor needs another facelift, but this film is worth a look just for the fact that it's not set in London (hurrah!), it's very funny and it features Samuel L. Jackson in a kilt. Coming from Liverpool myself, I loved the fact that someone has taken the effort to make a decent film about my city (the last film set in Liverpool was ‘Beneath the Skin' – shoe-gazing rubbish with Samantha Morton, who couldn't act her way out of a wet paper bag).

Energetically directed by Yu, with flamboyant performances by Carlyle, Ifans et al. 51st State is difficult not to enjoy. Okay, so it's not very deep and meaningful, and the plot may have been done a thousand times before, but that could just about describe almost every film that Hollywood has churned out this year. With film, as with any other entertainment medium, it ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it.

Moaning about the ‘dodgy' accents or the depiction of Liverpool as a haven for drug dealers and corrupt policemen is pointless nit-picking and should not detract from the fact that 51st State is a lively, refreshing and ultimately entertaining two hours worth of celluloid. It is also a damn sight better than all the British-films-not-made-by-Working-Title that have been released this year.

46 of 68 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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