When it came out in the US in 2001, Guy Ritchie’s Snatch was an immediate phony-tough semi-classic, all attractive model-pretty dudes wearing fashionable late-grunge outfits and saying nasty tough-dude things. Old pros Dennis Farina and Alan Ford provided the bare sensation of authenticity, but Snatch was always the pop-punk version of a crime thriller. And, like every other frat goon my age, I watched Snatch a thousand times — usually between midnight and morning, the special time of the college weekend when everyone is exactly as coherent as Brad Pitt in Snatch.
Previous to Snatch, Ritchie directed Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, an identical caper about young dude-bros embroiled in a four-ring criminal circus. Snatch and Lock are usually classified as “Crime Movies,” turn-of-the-millennium heirs to hallowed British-gangster in the tradition of Get Carter and The Long Good Friday. But they’re more like movies about how cool crime movies can be. They’re adult movies for kids, independent movies made by a guy who found his true calling making Sherlock Holmes sequels.
Now comes Crackle’s Snatch, a TV show about how cool Snatch was. If the original movie was pop-punk, this is KIDZ BOP. Rupert Grint is the most famous face in the baby-faced cast, a millennial crew of wannabe hard criminals caught in the underworld web. There are diamonds and boxing and split-screens, just like in the original movie. For added flourish, Ed Westwick plays a painfully Pacino-esque Cuban gangster, Sonny Castillo. Sonny looks as Cuban as the Duchess of Cambridge, less a character than a compilation of affectations. That’s the whole show, really: A series of “Wouldn’t this be hilarious?” non-jokes piled on top of each other.
There are rapping Orthodox Jews popping ecstasy, and a strip club mini-heist, and quadruple-crosses. It’s a lazy mess — like the movie, really. But star Luke Pasqualino has low-key charisma. His Albert is the Jason Statham analogue — managing a boxer, trying to make a bit of money and stay a bit alive — but Neo-Snatch builds a lot of drama on the idea that Pasqualino is a struggling second-generation criminal. He’s in regular contact with his long-imprisoned dad, Vic, played with shaggy amusement and jailbird cleverness by Dougray Scott. The show comes to life when Vic and Albert talk. Mostly, though, the TV version of Snatch is just pretending to be something that was already pretending. C+
Snatch premieres on Crackle Thursday, March 16.