FILM : Smokin' Aces - An Ace of Waste

Synopsis : Buddy "Aces" Israel (Jeremy Piven), a sleazy Las Vegas stage magician, has agreed to turn state’s evidence against prominent and powerful mob boss, Primo Sparazza (Joseph Ruskin). Primo, intent on doing away with the lousy snitch, puts out word that he will pay $1,000,000 for Buddy’s head. The offer attracts every hit man and woman within shouting distance and these deadly assassins descend on the Lake Tahoe penthouse hotel where Israel is hiding in Smokin’ Aces.

I hate it when it happens... A movie that kinda' looks promising; you expect it to be cool and hip and fun. You started to visualize Tarantino and Ritchie or Kill Bill and Snatch etc. But then it turns out to be just another one of those trying-too-hard-to-be-cool movie that the shooting and the killing has become somewhat pointless, redundant and boring.

Smokin' Aces is a cartoonish Tarantino wannabe overload filmmaking style that is just so overdone. It's like True Romance crossed with Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels remade with the artistic vision of Domino. If Kill Bill was the ultimate exploitation picture, then Smokin' Aces is too-hip-for-Hollywood writer/director Joe Carnahan's depraved attempt to top it. Carnahan doesn't actually have a movie here; it's just a premise. He’s just got about half a dozen strenuously 'colorful' assassins, all converging on Buddy’s Lake Tahoe hotel room at the exact same time. So it’s not so much a motion picture as it is the last 20 minutes of True Romance dragged kicking and screaming out to the two-hour mark. And the ending tries to be more like The Usual Suspects (but fails) - and ending of mind-boggling improbability, to send us home feeling lost and confused. If this paragraph sounded like a mess or a bad mash-up of great movies - well that's just sum up what Smokin' Aces is.

Carnahan has attracted an impressive cast, but he throws so many of them at you in his opening frames it makes your head spin. He even managed to get hip-hop icons Alicia Keys and Common to make their motion picture debut. There's no doubt they look cool, but that just about it. In fact, in my opinion the most worthwhile thing about this over-orchestrated mess is Jason Bateman as corrupt lawyer Rip Reed who forgot to wear his pants. He's the only saving grace; often funny and occasionally raising the film above its level. Everybody else in this film is working too damn hard at being edgy.

Director Carnahan and his behind the camera crew have a fine eye for action and Smokin' Aces does looks good, but good looks do not make a great movie. This is a cotton candy film, not a satisfying meal at all. I enjoy shoot 'em up action and gritty dialog as much as any fan of this genre but I also want a story that will stay with me. It is fun (in an ultra-violence kind of way) but it’s not fantastic. The violence is intricately choreographed, but as over the top as a Sunday morning cartoon. It's all supposed to be ironically, blackly funny but the over sensory onslaught just produces exhaustion and the bored sense of having seen it all before.


  1. Nazim Masnawi said...

    That's weird, I thought the movie ain't half bad. Quite enjoyable & fun.

  2. Edd Vedder said...

    Well, maybe it's the case of "..been there, done that" for me. I just think the movie is trying too hard to be hip.

    Have you seen Carnahan other film, Narc? Now, that movie is good. After seeing Narc, I thought this movie would be great or even better. Guess I was wrong..

    Do u agree with my opinion on Jason Bateman? This guy is awesome man.. Even in not so spectacular movies like this one, Dodgeball, Starsky & Hutch and The Sweetest Thing. He always steals the scene.

    Don't forget Teen Wolf Too too..

  3. maberik said...

    I loved Narc. saddening to see Carnahan take a step backwards.

  4. Nazim Masnawi said...

    Narc, and that excellent BMW ad that he did with Clive Owen. Man, 'ways wonder what he could've done with M:I:III - Death by Colon.

  5. Edd Vedder said...

    "..Man, 'ways wonder what he could've done with M:I:III"

    - probably it will be like Smokin' Aces. Always like the idea of David Fincher directing the M:I series, though.

  6. Nazim Masnawi said...

    "Always like the idea of David Fincher directing the M:I series, though."

    - probably it will be like Alien 3.

  7. fadz said...

    oh my fuck!!! ur blog is one of the most beautiful design ive ever seen!!! aku nak tak leh ke?

  8. Zack said...

    Edd, Ah Long kesayangan aku back in my hometown promote gegila kat aku filem ni, tapi aku lum sempat tengok lagi. Really shite la now, sebab kat KL susah gila nak cari DVD bootleg. Kat kampung aku lagi banyak. Dan murah.

    Nanti aku tgk la. Latest films I bought - Confetti, filem ni, Punch Drunk Love, Borat, Tenacious D - haram takleh bukak :(, Apocalypto, Black Snake Moan, dan satu lagi filem Israel aku lupa tajuk dia.

  9. Anonymous said...

    are u going to review 300 soon?
    I certainly hope so.

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