164 user 92 critic

Formula 51 (2001)

The 51st State (original title)
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.



1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
... Elmo McElroy
Nigel Whitmey ... L.A. Highway Patrol
Robert Jezek ... Priest
... Dakota Parker
... The Lizard
Jake Abraham ... Konokko
... Mr. Davidson
Aaron Swartz ... Mr. Yuri
... Mr. Jones
... Mr. Escobar
Sonny Muslim ... Boy in Plane
Barbara Barnes ... Boy's Mother
... Mr. Ho-Fat
... Felix DeSouza
... Frederick


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


Have a Nice Trip 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 (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  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


When Dakota and Felix are fooling around in the bath-tub, they throw their underpants onto the floor. Yet Felix still is wearing white underpants, visible for some seconds when he's turning around in the tub. 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 »


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


I Don't Know Why
Written by Mitchell / Randle
Published by Irving Music Inc. c/o Rondor Music (Ldn) Ltd.
Performed by O.V. Wright
Courtesy of Demon Music Group
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User Reviews

Comparison's are what kill this film
29 July 2005 | by See all my reviews

Formula 51, to me, wanted to badly to mimic the cool characteristics of films like Snatch and in doing so left behind elements which were necessary to get there. The script found the film with it's first fault when it was clear that during the writing process things like a flowing, rich and intelligent script were replaced by excessive overly 'Cool' dialogue, the f word and a narrative which shamelessly places the characters in situations with the sole purpose of them showing how witty (in a dialogue sense) they can be. And yes, I will admit, at times it works and you do enjoy some of this but it is overall tedious and relies far to heavy on this to make this film.

On the acting front I noticed pretty quickly how the actors saw their characters were written and just played with it (with the exception of Sam L Jackson who seemed to kick into auto pilot and let his cool persona shine through on his part). I think in the context this was a good choice by the actors, this movie was not a masterpiece and they treated it appropriately. But still, the characters lacked charisma and charm. Even the always likable Samual L Jackson failed to really strike a chord with me.

I guess I semi enjoyed the film but still felt as though it was trying to be something more and failed. I keep thinking it wanted to be Snatch, but to be, it needed the characters, the pace, the dialogue (subtlety needed) and the overall richness that Snatch possessed. Try to not make comparisons upon viewing, and take it as no more than a piece of entertainment. 5/10

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