Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassins’ Ball (Blu-ray)

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Rating: R and Unrated

Starring:
Tom Berenger as Walter Weed
Clayne Crawford as Agent Baker
Tommy Flanagan as Lazlo Soot
Maury Sterling as Lester Tremor
Martha Higareda as Ariella Martinez
Christopher Michael Holley as Malcolm Little
Ernie Hudson as Anthony Vejar
Michael Parks as Fritz Tremor
Autumn Reeser as Kaitlyn ‘AK-47′ Tremor
Vinnie Jones as Finbar McTeague
Hrothgar Mathews as Agent Redstone
Jared Keeso as Agent Nicholas
Jason Schombing as Agent Abrego
David Richmond-Peck as Agent Dominic Dumare
Grant Elliott as Agent Partch

Special Features:
Confessions of an Assassin
The Bunker Mentality: Designing the Set
Ready, Aim, Fire: The Weapons of Smokin’ Aces 2
Behind the Scenes with Joe Carnahan
Cue the Clown
Deleted Scenes
Gag Reel
Feature Commentary with Executive Producer Joe Carnahan and Director P.J. Pesce

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.78:1)
DTS-HD MA 5.1 Sound
Spanish and French Language
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: 98 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

“The director of ‘Smokin’ Aces’ and Narc brings you back into the adrenaline-pumping world of blood, bullets and badasses. Packed with insane mercenaries, sexy assassins, and more of the fan-favorite Tremor family, this all-new explosive film tells the story of a low-level FBI agent with a high-price on his head! May the best hit man survive!”

“Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassins’ Ball” is rated R for bloody violence and language. An unrated version of the film is also included.

Mini-Review:
“Smokin’ Aces” was a fun surprise that came out of nowhere. It was ultra-violent, had a fantastic cast, and felt like a comic book or video game thrown on the screen. Unfortunately, “Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassin’s Ball” is unable to recapture that magic. It tries to follow many of the same beats as its predecessor. It introduces a rogue’s gallery of insane assassins. It places an incredible bounty on a target that they all go for. It has over-the-top action. However, it simply doesn’t work.

While going over-the-top worked for “Smokin’ Aces,” this movie never hits the right tone when it attempts to mimic that. For example, the redneck assassins in the Tremor family are seen driving a garbage truck while spouting horrific dialogue while all sorts of bizarre things play on a blue screen in the background. It ends up being really stupid. We also see them capture midget clowns, strap dynamite to them, and shoot them out of a cannon into the middle of a gun battle. Sure, it sounds fun but the actual execution is stupid and makes no sense even in this bizarre world.

This movie also suffers from a lesser cast than its predecessor. It has Tom Berenger and Vinnie Jones, but everyone else is fairly unmemorable. (Well, except for Martha Higareda as Ariella Martinez and Autumn Reeser as Kaitlyn ‘AK-47′ Tremor who at least look pretty.) When you compare them to a cast that contains Andy Garcia, Ben Affleck, Ray Liotta, Jeremy Piven, Matthew Fox, Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman, and “Star Trek’s” Chris Pine, well, there is no comparison.

The only satisfying thing about “Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassin’s Ball” is the very last scene. It starts off like your typical Hollywood ending and just as the cliché unfolds, something comes out of nowhere and ends it. While that doesn’t quite make up for suffering through the rest of the movie, it is a mark in the ‘win’ column for this film.

My recommendation? Just pick up the Blu-ray for “Smokin’ Aces” and watch it again.

There are actually quite a few bonus features on this Blu-ray. Kicking things off are about a dozen deleted scenes, most featuring the scenes with the FBI agents. “Behind the Scenes with Joe Carnahan” features the executive producer talking about the first film and the challenge of following up its success. “Confessions of an Assassin” is a standard “making of” featurette and is quite extensive. It follows the movie from Day 1 of production on. “Ready, Aim, Fire: The Weapons of Smokin’ Aces 2″ is pretty self explanatory and covers a lot of guns as you might expect. “Cue the Clown” shows how they did the explosion of the clown in the bar. Rounding things out is a featurette on the bunker set and a feature commentary.

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