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Smokin' Aces

A movie directed by Joe Carnahan

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Overly Stacked Deck

  • Apr 17, 2007
Unnecessarily intricate, but sometimes fun, 'Smokin' Aces is an uneven, 'Kill Bill' or 'Get Shorty'. Containing some big laughs and some skillful scenes, the movie, nevertheless, should stick to its hand and often folds on focus. The plot is developed alright, but unlike other venues that come to mind, 'Crank' (Fun), 'The Departed' (Twisty and Entertaining), 'Running Scared' (Awesomely Wild) and 'Pulp Fiction' (Clever) or 'Inside Man' (Intelligent), it isn't nearly as satisfying. By the time one gets near the end of the hit and miss entertainment, the show becomes serious with history that seems tacked on and bluffs the audience.

The story is familiar: Everyone from hired hitmen (and women) to the F.B.I. have a stake on getting "Buddy 'Aces' Israel Vegas," (Jeremy Piven). If the movie weren't a comic book take on real life, you'd swear all of Gotham City had a jailbreak. Neo-Nazi's, a torturing mobster, a Russian caretaker, and Vegas hotel security men are all but a few of the unsavory figures trying to get "...Israel...".

The acting is intense and a cut above. Alicia Keys is irresistible as tart-talking hit woman, Georgia Sykes. Ray Liotta and Andy Garcia give urgency for their F.B.I. roles, and Ben Affleck and Matthew Fox break out in ways unseen before. Writer/director Joe Carnahan's performance is mixed. As a director he has aces up his sleeve, but as a writer he delivers a mixed hand. When it's not funny, we find a morbid ventriloquist act done with a corpse, an on-going prostitute brawl, and keys placed on blown off finger stubs. For all of the funny scenes that do work and a script that does connect, there are tiresome moments that are bloody, but not much else. For those who look to gangster movies as staple venues, 'Smokin' Aces' should be seen at least once; for those who expect more, wait for a better hand.

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More Smokin' Aces reviews
Quick Tip by . June 13, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
This is one of the absolute worst movies I've ever seen in my entire life.      Smokin' Aces is essentially an amalgamation of all the most cliche yet trendy shit that's popular in Hollywood.  This celluloid crap is merely yet another convoluted tale with far too many characters (ranging from uninteresting at best, extremely annoying at worst), slick and fast video editing that would be right at home with whatever pap Jason Statham stars in, and self-congradulatory …
Quick Tip by . May 24, 2010
What an unexpected surprise! The cast is awesome, the comedy is well-written, and the violence is plentiful.
review by . November 17, 2009
Movies like  this are, like I've said many times before, a dime a dozen  but once in a great while you  get  a rare coin  in the bunch of old dull ones, and Smokin' Aces is that rare  coin. It's slick, stylish, brutal, funny at times, dark , witty and smart It's got the making of a great action  thriller  and it's not afraid to show it.            Smokin' Aces is a brash   action film that is straight out of …
review by . February 24, 2008
Pros: The ever sexy Alicia Keys looking, well, sexy.      Cons: Everything else.     The Bottom Line: As the movie closes one of the characters, banged up and bleeding pleads with another to “Make it make sense.” Too Late!     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot. I will be the first to admit that Alicia Keys is one of the most beautiful, sexy, and talented women in the entertainment business, but she …
review by . April 26, 2007
Trying to keep track of the huge cast of characters, keeping their various allegiances to the plethora of participating assailants, requires a scorecard in the film SMOKIN' ACES. Writer/Director Joe Carnahan has style and the film's similarity to the many other cop/mob caper movies is evident, but Carnahan like to blitz the eye of the viewer with so much visual information (multiple tracks, quick scene flashes, unexplained flashbacks, etc) that when coupled with a soundtrack that is burdened with …
review by . April 18, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Writer/director Joe Carnahan takes a note from Quentin Tarantino and Tony Scott in Smokin' Aces, a gleefully violent, nihilistic, sexist romp. Carnahan isn't trying to say anything, he just wants to make a slammin' guy flick with lots of shooting and explosions. To this effect, the plot is secondary; all that matters is this elaborate situation he sets up where an army of bounty hunters all descend upon Lake Tahoe to try to get the bounty on Buddy "Aces" Israel (Jeremy Piven,). The action moves …
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John L. Peterson ()
Ranked #99
I am a substitute teacher who enjoysonline reviewing. Skiing is my favorite pastime; weight training and health are my obsessions;and music and movies feed my psyche. Books are a treasure and a pleasure … more
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About this movie


Fresh from his success with HBO's ENTOURAGE, Jeremy Piven gives his career a further boost by taking the lead role in director Joe Carnahan's (NARC) fast-paced thriller, SMOKING ACES. Piven plays Buddy "Aces" Israel, a former Vegas performer who has holed up in the penthouse suite of a Lake Tahoe casino after what seems like half the planet decides they want him dead. The reason for this bloodlust stems from Israel's dalliances with the mob, who have put a $1 million price tag on his head after discovering he is about to tell all to the feds. The only people who don't want to put a premature end to Israel's life are two FBI agents, played by Ryan Reynolds and Ray Liotta, and their boss, Andy Garcia. As various assassins attempt to put an end to Israel's pitiful existence, a parade of celebrity cameos ensues, including Alicia Keys, Common, Ben Affleck, and Jason Bateman. <br> <br> Carnahan soaks the screen with vivid primary colors, lots of flashy set pieces, and plenty of guns and violence as his movie ...
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