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Smokin' Aces

A movie directed by Joe Carnahan

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[3.5]--"You want a piece of me? I feel like you're eyeballin' me, dawg!"

  • Apr 18, 2007
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 quickly enough that Smokin' Aces seems enjoyable during the viewing, but afterwards people realize how empty is actually is. Smokin' Aces, sadly, is also predictable. Carnahan (Narc) has his own little twist up his sleeve, but for some strange reason, gives most of it away in a few flashbacks that reveal too much. There is little time for character development of any sort. What he does do is a quick montage at the beginning bringing everybody up to speed with Israel's situation, with the different groups of bounty hunters preparing for the job.

The characters are indeed diverse and over the top, starting with: Ben Affleck as a bail bondsman, his two friends who are ex-cops, Bateman as a sleazy lawyer, Georgia Sykes (Keys) and Sharrice Watters (Henson), as the two femme fatals, three insane Nazi like guys known as The Tremors, a torturer who doesn't torture anyone in the film, a man who changes identity and masks, Buddy Piven Israel and his crew, Reynolds( Richard Messner) and Liotta (Donald Carruthers) as the two FBI agents and their superior Garcia. Seems like a lot of people and it is, but you won't get confused as to who's who at any point. Piven plays his usual fast talking dirt bag character, only this time he has a few card tricks to flash the audience.

If I were to cut out some characters, the film could do without the kid and his granny, along with Israel's manager/lawyer. Instead give that screen time to more action. There I said it; the film could use a little bit more action. It does showcase enough violence to please the usual film goer, but I couldn't help but want a little bit more by the time the film was over. Aside from that, everyone in the film does a good job with their characters and it was nice to spot those familiar faces in the cast, such as Matthew Fox from "Lost fame" and the one hit-man who people will recognize from "Suddenly Susan." While the comedy doesn't really last throughout the entire film, it's Bateman who steals the comedy with his sleazy lawyer role. He delivers every line with comedy gold. Common impressed me with his role as Piven's right hand man and I'm hoping he continues on with that direction. Reynolds is the real standout in the entire cast and works well with Liotta. Smokin' Aces is a haphazard attempt to cash in on a genre that comes and goes in popularity. Whenever Quentin Tarantino redefines it, it's popular. Otherwise, it was close to damaged goods. It's just a shame that a talent like Carnahan had to fall under its spell, only to dish out to something mildly entertaining but I still give this director an E for Effort.

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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 17, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
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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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