BluRay/DVD Reviews

SMOKIN’ ACES

By • Apr 17th, 2007 •

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(Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)

Ah, the best-laid plans of mice and men…

The premise of this movie is a good, albeit not a new, one. ‘Aces’ Israel, a Vegas cabaret magician, has performed one trick too many. He has decided to turn State’s evidence against the mob. Mob leader Primo Sparazza puts a million dollar price tag on his head, an offer which drags a myriad of would-be assassins out of the woodwork, all bent on ‘smokin’ Aces’ in his Lake Tahoe casino penthouse. ‘Aces’ is under the protection of FBI agents Messner and Carruthers, but even they are not prepared for the barrage of gunmen that come toting for ‘Aces’ blood and the million-dollar prize. And these are not your run-of-the-mill assassins either. There are whacked-out punks with chainsaws, hot babes with high velocity rifles, and imported European hit men. Sparazza also has other reasons for Aces’ demise, as do others, and I will not spoil the reveal here.

As I said, a good premise punctuated with a few surprise twists, and the whole thing moves along at breakneck speed. Needless to say, with all these hitmen and FBI agents around they get in each others’ way and many of their carefully laid plans go awry. Sadly the same was true of the movie.

Convoluted plots don’t faze me, quite the opposite; I like to give the little grey cells a workout, but this was just a mess, and a rushed one at that. There was no character development; no back-stories for anyone (except the one required for the final pay-off); the acting was makeshift with lines almost being delivered by rote between the shouting and the hectic action scenes, and at times the movie didn’t seem to know whether it was an action-drama or a comedy.

Do I care what happens to ‘Aces’? Do I care what happens to anyone in the movie? The answer to both is no. Sure, it’s exciting, dramatically framed and shot (a little like some of the characters) and well plotted, if somewhat unbelievable, but it has no soul.


Written and Directed by Joe Carnahan

Cast:
Ray Liotta: Donald Carruthers
Ben Affleck: Jack Dupree
Andy Garcia: Stanley Locke
Ryan Reynolds: Richard Messner
Jeremy Piven: Buddy ‘Aces’ Israel
Zach Cumer: Warren
Jason Bateman: Rip Reed
Joseph Ruskin: Primo Sparazza
Alex Rocco: Serna
Alicia Keys: Georgia Sykes
Peter Berg: “Pistol” Pete Deeks

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