Smokin Aces
Alicia Keyes really wants you to buy her album.

Theatrical Release Date: 01/26/2007
Director: Joe Carnahan
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Jeremy Piven, Ray Liotta, Andy Garcia, Alicia Keys, Common, Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman

Imagine yourself at a heavy metal concert. Only you’re seated inside a glass box so no one can touch you. It’s just you and the lights and the music and the noise.

That’s kind of what watching “Smokin’ Aces” is like.

A loud cacophony of gunfire and cursing, the film’s “plot” is that Buddy “Aces” Israel (Piven) is going to snitch on the mob so a bounty is placed on his head.

That brings out every hit squad in the Western Hemisphere and it’s up to federal agents (Reynolds and Liotta) to keep him safe.

I’m cool with frenetic action and I love more gunfire than you’ll find at a Waco church assembly. John Woo’s “The Killer” and “Hard Boiled” are some of my favorite action movies, where Chow Yun-Fat gets to cap hundreds of bad guys in glorious slo-mo while doves fly around in glee.

Still, with “Smokin’ Aces” it all seemed to be action for the sake of action and I felt the plot was almost an afterthought. The film wasn’t saying anything more than “I shot you. Isn’t that cool?”

And sure, that is cool. It’s just that the film felt like it was made simply to be slick, not to be good.

Now I will spoil one thing that makes the film kind of kick more ass than I’m giving it credit for: Afflack gets whacked!

However, we aren’t given the proper amount of slo-mo and time to truly appreciate the moment. Kind of like how Paul Walker gets killed in “Flags of Our Fathers“ but we don’t get to take a breath and thank the Lord for what just happened.

Also, the ending dares to pull off some of the hokiest stuff in recent memory. Obviously I can’t give away the ending but it almost felt like a Scooby Doo episode. Very neat and packaged.

And that’s about it. There’s really not too much else to say about the film.

Obviously, you shouldn’t expect Shakespeare, though there is a Macbeth feel to it all, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

If all you want is a lot of noise and some fun characters trying to assassinate poor Mr. Piven, then “Smokin’ Aces” is for you.

If you looked at the trailer and said, “Whoa, that looks too dumb even for me”, then you’re probably right.

I’m giving “Smokin’ Aces” a 2 out of 5. I had hoped it would be a tighter script though I enjoyed the bloodbath aspect of it. The ball’s really in your court on this one. I’m almost still too woozy in the head to make heads or tails of what I just saw.