(Long Island, NY) After giving such a glowing review to Blood Diamond in my very first article written for Long Island Exchange last week, I began to wonder when I’d have the dubious honor of writing my first negative movie review. Then last night my movie-going cohorts and I went to see the new action movie Smokin’ Aces. Well, it didn’t take long for that first negative review.
Smokin’ Aces is an ensemble film of sorts- it contains a who’s who of A and B-list actors, but mostly B actors, or actors who used to be A at one point but then slipped to B. The cast is headed up by Ryan Reynolds and the always great Ray Liotta as FBI agents Messner and Carruthers, respectively. The duo start the movie by staking out the home of elderly Mob boss Primo Sparazza (Primo Sparazza? Is he a man or a pizza parlor?).
They overhear the dying crime lord (via telephone wire tap) order a $1,000,000 hit on his former protégé, Buddy “Aces” Israel (Jeremy Piven). Buddy’s a Vegas magician turned gangster who can throw playing cards like Gambit from the X-Men comics, and, well…that’s about it. Oh, and he does lots of coke and hookers too. He’s a guy on the edge, as they say.
So Buddy’s not really a likeable guy, but the FBI wants him in protective custody since he’s agreed to testify against Sparazza and his criminal organization. Messner and Carruthers are dispatched to Las Vegas to retrieve Buddy from his hideout, but at the same time the million dollar hit brings out a rouge’s gallery of the most brainless and incompetent assassins ever caught on film. I found it amusing that everyone was so excited over a $1,000,000 murder contract, since Christopher Lee was getting a million dollars a hit in that one James Bond movie and that was way back in 1974. But I digress.
As for the movie itself, the first thought that comes to mind is how much I hate blatantly false advertising. The commercials make this look like an intense, action-packed, non-stop thrill ride. But in reality, what we actually get is a somewhat plodding, slow-paced movie filled with sporadic action scenes and soulless characters that you are never given a reason care about. There’s also a “twist” at the end that’s treated as a big deal but you won’t care about that, either. The acting is solid but unremarkable, and the movie as a whole isn’t bad per se, merely very forgettable.
I can’t really blame the discrepancy between the advertising and the actual movie on the commercials, however, since they merely did the job any commercial is supposed to do- make its subject matter look as appealing as possible. It’s still annoying, however, because those vile marketing people do this all the time- I can’t count the number of crummy movies I’ve seen that have had awesome trailers.
It’s a shame, really. Smokin’ Aces had a lot of potential, but in the end it winds up a disappointment.