Writer-director Guy Ritchie (Snatch; Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels) has had an up-and-down career. His latest, The Gentlemen, has some amusing stretches, but peters out by its conclusion.
Matthew McConaughey plays an American weed kingpin in London. He wants to sell his business to another dealer (Jeremy Strong) and retire, but an up-and-coming rival (Henry Golding) wants to just take it from him. Also, a seedy private detective (Hugh Grant) is trying to blackmail McConaughey through the latter's right-hand man (Charlie Hunnam).
The movie owes debts to other British gangster pictures, including Ritchie's earlier works as well as stuff like The Long Good Friday (see this immediately if you haven't already) and Layer Cake. Despite the familiarity, some scenes work well. A confrontation in a high-rise tenement between Hunnam, two goons, and an apartment full of junkies is tense and funny. Of the actors, Colin Farrell fares best as a boxing coach trying to keep his young charges out of trouble.
However, the 113-minute film suffers from multiple finales as it rambles towards its conclusion. There's also a bit of a hole at the film's center. McConaughey's a good actor, but his main character here is kind of a non-entity. He doesn't have the charisma of cinema's best lowlife antiheroes. As a result, The Gentlemen is serviceable but nothing more.