Smokin Aces

Cover Art and Menu: 8/10
Cool cover. Cool menus. It’s got a hint of pretentious, “we are trying to be cool” about it, but it’s still better than about 86.5% of the DVD cover/menu combos out there.

Features: 7/10

  • Alternate Ending – It’s good to add the alternate ending, but it’s always bitter sweet because it would be nice to see the movie spliced together with both endings, but that’s not how they do things.
  • 18 Minutes Of Deleted Scenes – Lots of extra moments that got cut out that are fun but not enough to make the movie something different.
  • Outtakes – It’s always good to see big stars mess up, so have fun.
  • Shoot Em Up Stunts & Effects Featurette – This is a good extra that gives us an excellent behind the scenes look at the making of the movie. I love to see the director having as much fun as you hope they would making a movie that’s got so much quality.

The Movie 9/10:
The film plays around with old school visual tricks, more in-camera effects and less choppy Hollywood editing, which are a throw back to the 70’s, but it still brings us smack dab into the 21st century with some modern ideas like women assassins, an incorruptible FBI agent, and an unflinching glimpse at an alcoholic, has-been attorney who likes to wear ladies underpants and may have a thing for plushy costumes. Jason Bateman is rock solid by the way (plushy loving attorney). He is amazingly convincing in this role. I wish these smaller but more powerful roles would get more attention when it comes to awards time, but at least I’ll try to draw attention to him now so you can notice him and appreciate his excellent portrayal of a rather unlikable but sympathetic dude.

Smoking Aces is one of those multi-story tales that keeps all the main players’ destinies criss-crossing until there is the inevitable climax. Buddy Aces is tangled with the mob, he’s wanted by the FBI and now has decided to turn over on a few of his lawless friends. This puts him in the firing line and as the word spreads, a few choice murder-for-hire folks swoop down on him while the FBI tries to protect their key witness. This all sounds like it’s regurgitated from dozens of other movies over the years, but let’s face it, originality in art is hard to come by. So, instead of me thinking of it as rehashed old goods, I watched closely and even though the shell of the story is pre-owned, every other detail is exciting and interesting and makes this a whole new hybrid species.

Some of the characters are way over the top, but when they are in the mix with so many other well grounded elements like the leading FBI duo who keep things from going too far out with their banter and somewhat noble actions.

I’m not sure why anyone cares if Ben Affleck gets top billing in this movie, he’s not the star by any means. He’s ok, he does his thing, but don’t be mislead into thinking he’s the top of the hunky food chain this time around. Ryan Reynolds (Jason Lee rip off, as my husband calls him) does a bang up job of winning me over. I have not really liked him in anything else I have had the monotonous experience of watching. I have been schooled. He convinced me with this performance that I want to see him again….that’s a pretty good accomplishment. I’m a hard nut to crack.

If you love movies like True Romance or Pulp Fiction, you might just dig Smoking Aces. I’m not saying it’s in the exact same class, but it’s up there pretty close. It’s paced perfectly and the odd moments of either a particular character’s dialogue or reaction, or something else even more subtle make it one of the most entertaining movies I’ve watched in a long time.

It’s got a heist feel about it, with mob stuff and law enforcement, and psychotic elements. The reality isn’t thick, but it’s not hokey fiction either. It’s got a good balance of the ridiculous and believable. Buddy’s run out of luck and it’s only a matter of time before they all converge on him with no mercy, no hesitance, they want his blood and between the sexy chicks, the nutter man of many disguises, the skin head brothers, and the bounty hunters, along with the FBI, it makes for an excellent evening at the movies.

Value: 8/10
It’s a great flick to have on DVD, and the whole package aint’ half bad. It’s not got a ton of extras, but sometimes the movie makes up for that. I want it on my shelf and for around 16 bucks it’s not a bad investment. I will get this one down and watch it again someday, that makes it worth the cash.

Overall Score 9/10