Formula 51

Rated NR

In this film—directed by Ronny Yu, whose previous claim to fame was Bride of Chucky—the otherwise estimable Samuel L. Jackson plays Elmo, an underground chemist in a kilt and long braids who allegedly has developed the perfect party drug. Made from legal ingredients, the concoction supposedly is 51 times stronger than anything on the market and creates a greatest-hits medley of the effects of cocaine, acid and Ecstasy. Part-Pulp Fiction, part-Trainspotting and part-Hong Kong action flick, it finds Elmo on the run in England, trying to sell the formula for $20 million. An American crime boss’ hired assassin pursues Elmo while he associates with various lowlife Brits, including those played by Robert Carlyle and Rhys Ifans. Emily Mortimer and Meat Loaf co-star. The whole lot of them could do better. Opulent explosions and shoot-outs can’t distract us from the fact that this is a sorry excuse for entertainment.

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