Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Smokin' Aces

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
7 out of 10
Extras Rating:
8 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

Buy this DVD at Amazon.com

Rating: R

Starring:
Ben Affleck as Jack Dupree
Zach Cumer as Warren
Jason Bateman as Rip Reed
Common as Sir Ivy
Joseph Ruskin as Primo Sparazza
Andy Garcia as Stanley Locke
Alex Rocco as Serna
Alicia Keys as Georgia Sykes
Wayne Newton as Himself
Ray Liotta as Donald Carruthers
Jeremy Piven as Buddy 'Aces' Israel
Peter Berg as "Pistol" Pete Deeks
Ryan Reynolds as Richard Messner
Martin Henderson as Hollis Elmore
Christopher Michael Holley as Bernard "Beanie" Alfonso
Taraji P. Henson as Sharice Watters

Special Features:
Alternate Ending and 18 Minutes of Deleted Scenes and Outtakes
Shoot 'Em Up: Stunts & Effects
Uncover the secrets behind some of the film's most action-packed scenes!
And Much More!

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 1 Hour 49 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD cover:

"Slick Las Vegas illusionist Buddy "Aces" Israel isn't playing nice. Turns out, he's telling mob secrets to the FBI. After a $1 million contract is put out on him, Aces tries to pull his greatest disappearing act before a rogues' gallery of ex-cons, hit men and smokin' hot assassins tries to rub him out in this dark action comedy that takes no prisoners."

"Smokin' Aces" is rated R for strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some nudity and drug use.

The Movie:
Though "Smokin' Aces" never had a comic book (despite a promotional prequel comic), it definitely falls under the category of "comic book movie". It certainly has all the requirements of one. You have high octane action, over-the-top villains, noble heroes, and an absurd plot that is somehow acceptable. The result is an ultra-violent film that will probably appeal to comic and video game freaks.

You first realize what kind of movie you're dealing with when they introduce the rogue's gallery of assassins and bounty hunters. You have the neo-Nazi, hate metal assassins called the Tremor Brothers who look like rejects from a Road Warrior movie. Then there are Alicia Keys as Georgia Sykes and Taraji P. Henson as Sharice Watters. The two women play your typical sultry assassin and tough chick with a big gun. (Keyes even manages to be tough and hot in this breakout role.) They are followed by burned out cops, a torture specialist, a master of disguise, and other characters. The result is almost like a video game as they are all paired up against each other.

The supporting cast has a few characters that sci-fi fans should enjoy. "Lost" fans will get a kick out of seeing Matthew Fox play a security guard named Bill alongside "Other" Nestor Carbonell as assassin Pasquale Acosta. "Star Wars" fans will also recognize Joel "Uncle Owen" Edgerton as Ace's stooge Hugo Croop. The two certainly have a memorable scene together. Also look for a bizarre cameo by Jason Bateman as Rip Reed, a lawyer with bizarre sexual fetishes.

As over the top as "Smokin' Aces" is, it is still fun…up to a point. With about 20 minutes left in the running time, the movie goes from funny and over the top to pompous and serious. The change in tone is a stark contrast to funny scenes earlier, such as a hyperactive child practicing kung fu on one of our hapless heroes. The result is an entirely unsatisfying ending that makes you forget how fun the rest of the film was.

The Extras:
There are quite a few bonus features included on this DVD. Here are the highlights:

Deleted Scenes – There are 10 minutes of Deleted Scenes. Among the four included, one features a longer bar sequence with Ben Affleck. Another scene shows some alternate dialogue in the Tremor Brothers' opening scene. There's another extremely brief one showing Elmore crawling out of a lake while an alternate rooftop parking lot scene features a little more dialogue. Rounding things out you see Elmore driving away in the end and Reynolds recognizes him, then joins him for the drive back to Las Vegas.

Cowboy ending - In this alternate ending, Ryan Reynolds' character shoots bad guys up instead of the more serene ending seen in the film.

The Line-Up - This is a series of 5 featurettes highlighting the main characters. You see more on Aces, the Tremor Brothers, the ladies, and others. Each of them features interviews, behind the scenes footage, and other goodness.

The Big Gun – No, this doesn't cover the large gun in the film. It highlights Joe Carnahan, the writer and director of the movie. It's 12 minutes long and shows his unique directing style. He's pretty laid back on the set and appears to have a lot of fun with the cast and crew.

Outtakes – This is nearly 10 minutes of your standard bloopers and practical jokes on the set. Most noteworthy are dozens of flubbed pool shots in a scene with Affleck. The man just can't hit the ball!

Shoot 'Em Up: Stunts & Effects – This is a 5 minute featurette showing the weapons and stunts used in the film.

Rounding out the bonus features are your standard Feature commentaries.

The Bottom Line:
If you like action films, movies with large ensemble casts, or any of the lead actors, you'll probably want to check out "Smokin' Aces".

Order this DVD @ Amazon

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