Perhaps "Lucky Number Slevin" is too lucky. Lucky to have a great cast, lucky to have a smart, hip, self aware script and lucky to have a visual sense that is engaging and cool while not getting too artsy. It has so many great things going for it that some might find it too clever, too glib and too hip to be any good.
Slevin (Josh Hartnett), a guy down on his luck, comes to visit his friend Nick. He's mugged on his way and, perhaps too conveniently for some, loses his wallet and thus, any way of positively ID-ing himself to anyone. Meanwhile Nick's neighbor Lindsey (Lucy Liu) barges over and — after some perhaps too clever dialogue between the two — they figure out that something terrible has happened to Nick and they will find out what it is.
Unfortunately for Slevin, Nick owes some bad people, The Boss (Morgan Freeman) and The Rabbi (Sir Ben Kingsley), a lot of money and those very people are paying a visit to Nick today and it looks like they think Slevin is Nick because Slevin is living in Nick's apartment. Slevin then gets embroiled in a game of warring crime syndicates somehow involving — and here is the perhaps too interesting twist — a professional assassin called Mr. Goodkat (Bruce Willis).
While the film delivers itself in a pretty innovative and perhaps overly Tarintinonesque way, i.e. lots of flashbacks and intersecting paths, the ending is pretty easy to figure out about half way through but for most of the film the banter keeps you enjoying it anyway and when that is not there Bruce Willis is usually back in the "Die Hard" saddle kicking butt.
The dialog, while witty, is perhaps a bit too lighthearted for the dark story. The explanation for Slevin's cavalier attitude is that he has a condition that allows him not to worry about most things. It might be a real condition, though it's a terrible excuse. But it allows for some fantastic conversations, so perhaps letting it slide would be a good idea.
The actors all give performances that will garner a bit of a cult following, but it's probably more because of the screenplay they were delivered rather than the way they are delivering it. Freeman and Kingsley play the warring mobsters in some clever ways that are unexpected and perhaps too lighthearted for the roles. Lucy Liu is not only far less annoying than she usually is, but also far better too. Josh Harnett is the overwhelming surprise as he deftly maneuvers some tricky dialog while keeping his character firmly planted in reality. Perhaps, though, his performance is a bit too nonchalant.
And perhaps "Lucky Number Slevin" is a movie that thinks it's far better than it is. Perhaps you will have to go and see it and decide. I can tell you that this reviewer had no problem with the pop culture references, light hearted feel, and stylistic choices.
I thought that the movie was great; after all, I only said "perhaps."