Samuel L. Jackson, wearing cornrows and a kilt (don’t ask why — there is no why), is a genius chemist who has devised a formula for the ultimate drug. His shiny blue pills promise the user a wilder buzz than cocaine or heroin, yet they’re forged out of substances that can be bought over the counter. Formula 51, likewise, is cobbled together out of some very routine ingredients (screeching car chases, histrionic British gangsters who yell things like ”Plain f—ing bollocks!”), only in this case the result is unlikely to get you very high.
Jackson blows up the laboratory of his syndicate boss (Meat Loaf, going apoplectic) and then hightails it to Liverpool to hawk his drug recipe for $20 million. ”Formula 51” is the kind of movie in which we’re supposed to get off on an English-babe assassin (Emily Mortimer) who looks and acts about as dangerous as Petula Clark. The film should have been called ”Lock, Stock and Two Wilting Barrels.”