6.3/10
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159 user 94 critic

Formula 51 (2001)

The 51st State (original title)
Trailer
2:09 | Trailer

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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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Photos

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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:

Have a good trip. 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:

$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£913,239 (United Kingdom), 9 December 2001, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,817,719, 20 October 2002, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$5,204,007, 10 November 2002
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

Writer Stel Pavlou was working as an assistant in a liquor store when he penned his screenplay. It was sent, on speculation, to Tim Roth, as Pavlou knew that Roth insisted on reading all independent scripts sent his way. See more »

Goofs

Though Elmo McElroy describes the pattern on his kilt as "the tartan of my former slave masters," the kilt that Samuel L. Jackson wears in character is actually patterned in the hunting tartan of the Clan MacGillivray, NOT that of the Clan McElroy. 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.
[...]
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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

Spoofs Lethal Weapon 2 (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Utha Side
Written by Nelly (as Haynes) / Epperson
Published by BMG Songs, Inc./Jackie Frost Music
Administered by BMG Music Publishing Ltd./Universal Music Publishing Ltd.
Performed by Nelly
Courtesy of Universal-Island Records Ltd.
Licensed by kind permission from the Film & TV Licensing Division, Part of Universal Music Group
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User Reviews

 
Pulp fiction meets Brookside! Joy!
10 December 2001 | by grahamdavidhughesSee 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.


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