Monday, September 5, 2011

Movie – Smokin’ Aces (2006)

Is Smokin’ Aces a great movie?  No.  Does Smokin’ Aces bring new levels of art to the film industry?  No.  Does Smokin’ Aces bring understanding and peace to a tattered world?  No.  Is Smokin’ Aces a fun movie to watch?  Yes.

The premise of the movie is that Las Vegas entertainer Buddy “Aces” Israel (Jeremy Piven chewing the scenery) has decided to testify against the mob.  He holes up in a hotel room in Lake Tahoe to try to get away from the retaliation.  A bounty is put on his head and a small army of assassins show up to claim the bounty.  The FBI is trying to get there to protect him.  Security at the hotel gets involved, too.

The fun in the movie is seeing all the different assassins, with all different plans and methods, and trying to figure out which ones will get to him.  The FBI is trying to figure out how to stop them.  Security at the hotel is trying to figure out some of the weird things that have started to happen.  The anticipation builds as the movie goes along because you see everyone starting to put their plans into place.  You know that at some point they are going to run into each other and when they do, all hell is going to break loose.  As Gerard Butler’s character in Law Abiding Citizen says, “It’s gonna be biblical.”  The fun is seeing the payoff of that build up.  There is also a big reveal near the end of the movie that is a catalyst for the actions in the final scene.

The movie has a large, ensemble cast.  Ryan Reynolds (in perhaps his best non-comedic role) plays an FBI agent.  Matthew Fox is the head of security at the hotel.  Other people in the movie (both assassins and FBI) include Ray Liotta, Alex Rocco, Ben Affleck, Peter Berg, Martin Henderson, Common, Andy Garcia, Nestor Carbonell, Chris Pine, Curtis Armstrong, Jason Bateman, and Wayne Newton.  (You can’t have a movie involving Las Vegas without Wayne Newton; I think it’s in his contract.)

Playing a two woman assassin team are Taraji P. Henson and singer Alicia Keys.  Keys actually does a pretty credible job in her first movie role.  She has a key scene towards the end and she delivers.  Henson, who did such a great job the year before as a hard luck prostitute with a singing voice in Hustle & Flow, does a complete 180 for this role.  She’s a stone cold killer who is the big weapons expert on the team.  Keys’ character is the recon person, slipping in disguised as one of several hookers Buddy Israel is having sent up to his room.  Henson’s character is located a quarter of a mile away in another hotel room with a massive sniper rifle, just waiting for a signal from her partner to let loose.  This is one of the best bits of build up because you know that the gun is going to be getting fired and when it does it is a great payoff.  Henson also had a pretty physical role because she had to run around with the gun trying to get into a different firing position at one point.  Even though it was stripped down for the scene she’s still running while carrying a 35 pound, several foot long, gun.

Needless to say, you put that many professional killers in that small a space and lots of the people in the cast do not survive to the end of the movie.  Who does and who does not may surprise you.

I have not seen the sequel Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassin’s Ball, but from what I do know, it’s not really a sequel.  It’s just another movie with a similar concept and none of the people from the first movie reprise any of their roles.

I say give Smokin’ Aces a try.  Unless the violence in the movie is too much for you, you may find yourself having fun watching the build up and release of all the mayhem.

Chip’s Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

           DVD                      Blu-ray                 Instant Video

No comments:

Post a Comment