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Smokin' Aces - action adventure DVD / comedy DVD / drama DVD review
SMOKIN' ACES rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 stars
Actors: Jeremy Piven, Ben Affleck, Ryan Reynolds, Ray Liotta, Peter Berg, Andy Garcia
Director: Joe Carnahan   Studio: Universal Studios
DVD release: 17 April 2007   Runtime: 109 minutes (1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD Features: Subtitles (English, French, Spanish), Audio Tracks (English, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround), Deleted scenes, Alternate ending, Outtakes, The Line-Up, Shoot 'Em Up: Stunts and Effects, Feature commentaries

Written and directed by Joe Carnahan, Smokin' Aces is an exercise of cinematic flair run amok. This is the same Joe Carnahan who brought the gritty crime thriller Narc to theaters in 2002. That film was excellently crafted; this one, well. let's just say it's way over the top in a bad Quentin Tarantino, Guy Ritchie kind of way that I can only describe as "comedy-noir."

Within the first five mintues of the movie, you are literally brought up to speed on about twenty characters who are all after a Las Vegas performer named Buddy "Aces" Isreal (Jeremy Piven). Through their surveillance of ailing mobster Primo Sparazzo (Joseph Ruskin), FBI agents Donald Carruthers (Ray Liotta) and Richard Messner (Ryan Reynolds) overhear the plans to take out Buddy for one million dollars.

Also interested in the hit are three bail bondsmen: Jack Dupree (Ben Affleck), "Pistol" Pete Deeks (Peter Berg), and Hollis Elmore (Martin Henderson), who have one of the better dialogue exchanges in the movie when they visit their boss, Rupert "Rip" Reed (Jason Bateman). Along with the bail bondsmen are a neo-Nazi trio knows as "The Tremors": Jeeves Tremor (Kevin Durand), Darwin Tremor (Chris Pine), and Lester Tremor (Maury Sterling). But we're not done yet; there's also sexy lesbian assassin Georgia Sykes (Alicia Keys) and her outrageously frank lover, Loretta Wyman (Davenia McFadden), who share the funniest scene with Victor Padiche (David Proval) on how easy it is for them to get to Isreal. Let us neither forget renowned torturer Pasquale Acosta "S. A. Geraldo Diego" (Nestor Carbonell) and master of diguise Lazlo Soot (Tommy Flanagan). Whew - yes, we're finally done.

Most of the action takes place in a Lake Tahoe hotel where Buddy Isreal is in a penthouse snorting copious quantitites of coke and deflowering skanky prosititues at a rate faster than his security guard, Sir Ivy (rapper Common), can procure them. Eventually, all of the killers get to the hotel, where they all attempt to out-hustle each other to kill Buddy, ultimately leading to a massive shootout that gives the viewer plenty of carnage, shattered glass, and blood. The exchange towards the end of the movie between Messner and his boss, Stanley Locke (Andy Garcia), had me slightly intrigued, but I'm not sure it's enough of a saving grace. The best thing in the movie is the wonderful score by Clint Mansell, especially the piece that closes the film, entitled "Dead Reckoning."
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reviewed by Bobby Blades
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